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Control Without Responsibility

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My friend, and co-blogger at Market Correction [2], Andy Morriss has this superb letter in today’s Wall Street Journal [3]:

Holman Jenkins asks “Does Obama Want to Own the Airlines?” (Business World, July 8). I am sure he does not. Rather than own them, the president and his congressional allies want to control the airlines — a crucial difference as ownership implies taking responsibility.

As Mr. Jenkins notes, the Justice Department’s belated intervention against Continental’s efforts to join the Star Alliance appears aimed at extorting concessions for the Democrats’ union allies. That is not the action of an owner of airline assets but of someone determined to redistribute wealth from airline passengers and shareholders to favored special interests.

If either the administration or Congress cared about competition in air travel, they would relax the protectionist rules that prevent foreign ownership of U.S. airline assets and deregulate American airspace to allow foreign carriers to operate here.

Andrew P. Morriss
Champaign, Ill.