And now for something completely different.
Which means I am going to complain about something else besides the health-care bill.
The D-O-T, which is the affectionate name for the Department of Transportation, has issued a new directive for Airlines. Responding to the demands for a "passenger bill of rights" the DOT has now mandated, compelled, forced and otherwise required all Airlines to return passengers to the terminal when the wait on the tarmac exceeds 3 hours. In addition all airlines must provide food and drink and functioning toilets for passengers on-board on the runway when the wait exceeds two hours. And, in addition, all airlines must devote at least one full-time employee to the business of scheduling in order to try and avoid long delays.
So what's the problem? Isn't this a good thing? Don't these measures have value for consumers?
Sure they do. But, who is going to pay for this? The reflex answer is "the Airlines." The correct answer is "mostly the passengers – you and me, the travelling public - and those who supply the airlines."
Yes, but maybe it's worth it. Says who? Says the DOT. As I never tire of saying, the issue is not "what should be done?"; rather it is "who should decide?"
It is amazing to me that open-minded, open-hearted, "liberals" are so comfortable with coercion. As long as the cause is worthy in their eyes they are happy to tell other people what to do under pain of state-compulsion. They see the state at their instrument for the achievement of the society they want. In this case it is the instrument for forcing the airlines to bend to their will and to punish them for the suffering they have "caused" passengers.
Does it not occur to them that the Airlines themselves intensely dislike the long waits to which they sometimes (not that often) fell compelled to subject their customers? Does it not occur to them that if they could do so cost effectively the Airlines themselves would adopt measures to avoid these onerous delays? Does it not occur to them that maybe the problem is with the air traffic control system and how it allocates places in line to take-off using an antiquated computer system? Does it not occur to them that maybe the problem is insufficient take-off facilities, which is the result of the public ownership of airports? More airports and privatization of the system could bring competition and innovation. This does not occur to them because their mindset is to blame all the world's ills on the large companies that create value for them.
This clumsy, intrusive fix will have unintended consequences. It will cause more onerous delays and increases in already rising ticket prices. If a flight delay goes over three hours by even five minutes the flight will have to return to the terminal and will lose its place in line. The multiplying controls and regulations on air-travel are pushing up prices and this will make it worse.
Fundamentally these liberals are really thugs dressed up in the clothing of the compassionate. They are arrogant and incorrigible, so certain in the righteousness of their cause. And they are coming for you and me.