Sunday, June 13, 2010

Double Ugly

Times are tough everywhere.

Government seen halving NATS air traffic control stake

”The government is likely to sell half its stake in British air traffic control operator NATS and some of the group that controls NATS may also lower their stakes, the chairman of The Airline Group said on Monday.

Peter Read told Reuters on the sidelines of an aviation industry summit the government -- keen to sell assets to help pay down a record deficit -- could keep its stake at 49 percent, cut it to 25 percent, or sell it all but retain a golden share.”

My take on that? More “lemon socialism”. Private industry gets the profits, taxpayers get the risk. After all, if there were solid profits to be made the government would want the revenue, right? To “help pay down a record deficit”, right? But we all know that -- just like in America -- the taxpayer is really on the hook for anything that is “too big to fail”.

I don’t pretend to know what is behind this in U.K. politics. I can’t keep up with what is behind things in American politics. But if Her Majesty’s Government goes through with this, they’re just doubling down on a failed policy. And that just makes it double ugly.

Don Brown
June 13, 2010

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