Monday, June 06, 2005

George Will on the Wright amendment

Now columnist George Will is getting in on the SWA-AA/Love Field/Wright amendment debate in a Chronicle editorial, which I have written on in previous posts here and here. He thinks it's just as nuts as I do. How American defends it with a straight face is beyond me.

The cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, and the Dallas/Forth Worth airport that opened in 1974, tried unsuccessfully to force Southwest to move its operations from close-in Love Field out to DFW, arguing that the new airport depended on this. Today, Kelleher laughingly recalls telling a judge: "If a three-aircraft airline can bankrupt an 18,000-acre, nine-miles long airport, then that airport probably should not have been built in the first place."

But in Washington, reasonableness is no match for the routine and lucrative corruption known as rent-seeking — economic interests getting government to impose handicaps on competitors. ...

Southwest, which is now using only 14 gates for 117 flights a day at Love Field, says it could use only 21 gates if the Wright restrictions were repealed. This would put some downward pressure on the fares of American, which by the end of the year may have almost 1,000 flights a day out of DFW. ...

Ronald Reagan said that Washington's approach to intervening in industries is: If it moves, tax it; if it keeps moving, regulate it; if it stops moving, subsidize it. Regarding airlines, the policy is: If they are failing, keep them flying; if they are prospering, burden them. But surely Washington, although difficult to embarrass, is embarrassed enough to repeal the Wright Amendment.

I love that Reagan quote.


At 4:41 AM, June 10, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tory, Hayek and Uncle Miltie were forever commenting on the predisposition of the business community to stamp out competition.

I recall a memorable appearance by Friedman, many years ago on the old Donahue talk show. Miltie was arguing for abolishing the FCC and a manager from a local TV station was in the audience, extolling the virtues of the FCC.

Friedman, said, " See what I mean? He's already got his license!" and the audience just burst into applause and laughter.

Lawrence Lesig has an interesting take on this in reference to municipalities creating "free" public broadband services, in a column he entitled something like, " Why Your DSL Sux!"

As I am sure you are aware, the broadband companies have been fighting this tooth and nail, and using the argument against "government-sponsored competition" to attempt to talk cities out of constructing public broadband networks.

Lesig argues that the industry providers are not doing a good job because there is little or no competition, and that any competition, even government-sponsored, is just what the industry needs to prompt it to improve service.


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