Thursday, June 25, 2009

I’m Weak Too



It’s nice to know even the smartest of people have the same weaknesses as we mere mortals. Krugman had this to say in a particularly pointed blog entry:

...the people who were Building Red America are looking incredibly absurd.

But I try to limit the potshots, especially in the print column. It’s a limited resource, and the point is to shape policy, not go for entertainment value.

That said, these people did run the country not long ago — and they might again.


I don’t have to limit the potshots -- I have unlimited space -- but I try not to bore you. I don’t find it particularly productive to take the shots (others evidently do) and I have no illusions about my ability to shape policy.

All this is just to say that I passed on making a comment about Robert Poole’s latest fantasy in his ATC Reform News this morning. It’s just too easy -- Pot calls Kettle black. But then I read Krugman. Too bad for Robert Poole.

”At the behest of controllers union NATCA, the non-expert legislators repeated NATCA assertions about the “stability of the system,”—as if any of them knew what that meant. But to serve their constituent labor union, they tried to insert themselves into a process they knew essentially nothing about. “

Mr. Poole is talking about ERAM and the Congressional request to delay its testing. As if Robert Poole knows anything about air traffic control. Talk about a non-expert. At least when compared to me...or about 20-30,000 controllers and ex-controllers. Gee, the next thing you know, legislators will be writing letters and making decisions about economics. Maybe they should listen to the non-controllers and non-economists before they take action. Or not.

By the way, as a writer (non-expert), notice the nice little bit of ambiguity in that sentence -- “as if any of them knew what that meant “. Would “them” be the controllers or the legislators ? But that doesn’t hide the truth. Legislators aren’t experts on air traffic control. Neither is Robert Poole. Air traffic controllers -- ambiguity notwithstanding -- are. It’s hard to believe legislators would listen to -- and act upon -- the advice of the experts. Mr. Poole wants them to listen to the non-experts. After all, look what it did for the economy. Ahem.

Oh, and another thing. Robert Poole is wrong about the National Weather Service meteorologists too. Once again he tries to portray it as the evildoings of the unions. But my readers already know the truth. Too bad truth doesn’t shape policy. Just think-tanks.

Don Brown
June 25, 2009

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