obama beats the airlines

I only wish “beat” meant pistol-whipping them.

Almost as good: our Benevolent President, in his Infinite Wisdom, has ordered airlines to allow passengers to disembark from planes that have been stuck on the tarmac for more than three hours.

This is taken from the above-linked article, but I think it bears repeating here:

Airlines will be required to provide food and water for passengers within two hours of a plane being delayed on a tarmac, and to maintain operable lavatories. They must also provide passengers with medical attention when necessary. […]

“Airline passengers have rights, and these new rules will require airlines to live up to their obligation to treat their customers fairly,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.

In terms of the airlines, I’m all for more regulation. Regulate them to within an inch of their lives. Why? Because that’s exactly what they do to us, from the moment we step inside an airport until our bedraggled living corpse is carried by our family out the other end. I have luckily never lived in a totalitarian state, but I imagine that is what America would look like if it were run by the airlines.

The heads of the airlines should have been made to accept this new regulation on bent knee. They should have been forced to thank the President for forcing them to treat their paying customers decently.

I recently saw Ray LaHood on The Daily Show, and he mentioned the promise of high-speed rail. If this does indeed come to fruition, and I hope that it does, a byproduct may be that airlines see that comfort in long-distance travel is possible.

America is supposedly a capitalist society. Why, then, does it require our government to step in to correct huge, long-term mistakes made by gigantic corporations? From the banks on Wall Street to the Big 3 auto makers to the airlines, when a corporation gets big enough it stops listening to the market because it believes it cannot possibly fail. I think the Greeks had a word for that. The market supposedly makes the best possible choices, but with big business there is no alternative to the one crappy choice we have.

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