I Don’t Know What to Say

Really. Read this:

”Greenspan theorized that the paradigm shift that moved the 1980s toward greater optimism came largely from something unanticipated. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan fired striking air traffic controllers. This act could have instantly produced a nationwide transportation walkout with devastating economic consequences. Everyone held their breath. But the strike didn't happen. At the time, American businesses had been written off as competitive dinosaurs. But now they had the political green light to restructure and become lean and mean. Economic optimism became infectious.

Barack Obama desperately needs his own paradigm-shifting spark. “

I wonder if that is anything close to what Greenspan (yes, that Greenspan) meant ? If so, it would explain a lot. (Like the current economic meltdown.) But, in that the author is David M. Smick, I have my doubts.

What the heck. Seeing as we’re accepting anything as serious analysis these days, let me toss in my own. Well, actually, it’s just a twist on what became accepted wisdom by controllers a few years after the strike. Reagan fired the wrong group. He should have fired all the managers.

So that’s my recommendation to President-elect Obama. If Mr. Obama needs a “paradigm-shifting spark “...fire every manager in the FAA. I bet that would cure a lot of the bureaucratic foot dragging he’s sure to encounter as President. Never mind that managers are an important source of institutional memory -- just as controllers were. It would be “bold action.” It would be a “game changer.” Maybe in 30 years, desperate people will spin a disaster into a tale of “economic optimism.”

Don Brown
January 14, 2009


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