Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Judgment Day

There was a particularly nasty editorial in the Wall Street Journal last Friday. I try not to call attention to the WSJ, especially since Rupert Murdoch bought them. But then I thought, it’s that kind of thinking that got us into this mess.

In short, the editorial was an attack on James Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The Wall Street Journal editorial board pitted their credibility against Chairman Oberstar's --about aviation safety no less. That would be hilarious if we had a well-informed electorate. Unfortunately -- when it comes to aviation safety -- we don’t.

I’ve followed Chairman Oberstar’s career for years and years. At least 25 years of which I was an air traffic controller. I haven’t followed it closely, only as it pertains to aviation. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that he knows aviation. His knowledge is encyclopedic. He can recite the history from present day all the way back to when we used bonfires as beacons. I’ve watched him do it -- spontaneously and from memory. That seems like an awful lot of trouble to go through for a guy “whose real goal is to augment Washington's power vis-a-vis industry.

The Bush Administration has -- once again -- been caught gutting the regulatory power of the U.S. Government to promote the well being of private industry at the expense of the public’s welfare and safety. The WSJ editorial board -- once again -- has used its clout to cloud the issue and promote the cause of private industry at the expense of the public.

We can’t be experts in all fields of human endeavor. Nor even all things in the government’s sphere. Everyone one of us, at some point -- at many points -- must entrust our welfare to the judgment of others. For my part -- as someone that knows a little something about aviation safety -- I trust James Oberstar’s judgment.

As for the Wall Street Journal editorial board, take a good look at them . Take a look at their record. Take a look at their owner.

”There's no better regulator than a competitive marketplace.”

Really ? Let’s take a look at “Wall Street” itself. We’re in the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression and it is a direct result of the dismantling of the regulatory framework put in place after the Depression. It was all accomplished by the Bush Administration and a Republican Congress with the WSJ editorial board cheerleading the entire time.

Chairman Oberstar’s oversight lead to finding the cracks in the airplanes before they became a problem. If only the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board had used their power as wisely -- and pointed out the cracks in our financial system before they turned into a disaster.

Don Brown
April 15, 2008

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