Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bittersweet Goodbyes



I’m always a little hesitant to send you over to read Garrison Keillor’s stuff. It’s not that he’s bad or anything -- he’s brilliant. But I know that he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and his subjects tend to be a little off base for my readers. But today, I can send you over there with a clear conscience.

Singing the Delta Blues

That’s as in Delta Airlines blues. Garrison mourns the possible passing of Northwest Airlines. It’s odd, in that this sounds just like Atlanta’s hometown airline -- Delta.

” The company was founded by romantics, men who loved aviation, and in 1989 it fell into the hands of rapacious bandits who ate its heart and plunged it headlong into debt and could be as cruel to employees as any other big union-busting corporation. “

I don’t remember exactly which year it was that Delta crossed the line -- but it did. It went from being the pride of Atlanta to just another big business with no soul. Just another casualty in the war of attrition that we called airline deregulation.

Delta’s proposed merger won’t solve anything for anybody. A friend of mine asked me just tonight to explain how any company can lose $6 billion dollars and still be viable. There is no explaining it. It can’t. The only winners in all this will be the lawyers, thieves and bankers. And I’m not too sure about the bankers.

I don’t know how long we will continue to suffer this self-inflicted misery. It pains me to point out that Jimmy Carter signed off on this mess. I think history will be much kinder to President Carter than this current generation but that is another story. The point is that I believe airline deregulation was a mistake. It’s a mistake that we can correct. And the sooner -- the better.

Don Brown
April 23, 2008

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