Posts Tagged ‘deregulation’

When Jet Blue Flight Attendant Steve Salter took the emergency route off the plane where he worked, he slid into the hearts of Americans everywhere.  He is our hero because we are sick of each other and we hate air travel.

I guess, the terrorists win again.

Oh, not those terrorists.  The 9/11 assholes only made getting to the airport and onto the plane a living nightmare.  No, the true horror of flying could only have been brought to you by those evil forces bent on destroying everything good and decent in American life.  I mean deregulation.

Like being able to deposit money in a local bank and know that it will stay in your own state to help foster growth and business there? Let’s deregulated that, because the folks at BofA are soooo much more helpful.  Like being able to just call someone and get your phone fixed? Quick, deregulate that away.  Like knowing that major institutions of finance are legally enjoined from taking us down the same road that led to the Great Depression? Let’s deregulate them.  It’s working out great, right?

Air travel used to be sort of elegant and at least civil, if not civilized, until deregulation.

When I graduated from college with degrees in Theatre and Philosophy and no “good” marriage prospects, I did the only thing I knew to do.  I went to New York.  Where else to go with no actual employable skills? I saved up my money working at Target (it was call Richway in the before times).   It took a little while, but I was able to salt away enough to pay for a couple of month’s on a friend’s sofa on West 44th and a coach airline ticket.

It could not have been a more lovely trip.  My friends came to the gate and saw me off with hugs and tears.  The flight attendants were lovely and helpful, making sure that I had a comfy trip, a nice dinner and that I arrived in New York refreshed.

It remains a treasured memory.

And it’s not like it was that long ago.

The airlines were “deregulated” in the mid 80’s and nothing has been the same since.  An act of Congress ended the ironically names Civil Aeronautics Board because, as experience teaches us, we consumers always benefit when industry regulates itself.

Increased competition was supposed to afford us more and cheaper air travel options while opening up opportunities for the “little guys” in the industry.

Since then, airline travel is up to sardines-in-a-can levels but most airlines lose money like Banana Republics.  Air travel has become an endurance test for passengers and the beleaguered air corps who fly us.  Every year another merger forms the new largest airline in the world – so much for the little guys – and every year more passenger services are stripped away.  With bankrupt airlines and slave ship passenger accommodations, apparently nobody benefitted from deregulation.

Add to this the dehumanizing and souls sucking security ordeal that simply boarding a flight now entails, and crashing seems the least of our fears of flying.

I heard a woman who’s running for Senate in Nevada say the other day that Government isn’t the solution, Government is the problem.  The people are the solution.  Two questions come to mind 1)If she thinks government is the problem why is she running for office? And 2) Who does she suppose the Government is if it’s not the people?

We have spent the past 30 years dismantling the country and selling it off piece by piece.  I’m not sure how that makes it better.  I look at places like Afghanistan and Somalia and think:  We’ll they don’t have any government and their lives don’t look that great to me.

Then again they’re totally deregulated.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: