Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Privatization? Again?

I’m afraid so. I mean, after all, the rich guys and the corporations are paying them to write these things. They aren’t going to stop. Never mind that their ideology blew up the world’s economy. They’re obviously not hurting (because you bailed them out) so why should they care?

Remember, I’ve warned you about these guys before. “The Three Stooges of think tanks -- The Heritage Foundation, The Cato Institute and the American Enterprise Institute.” This one if from Cato -- the libertarian branch of this dysfunctional family.

Privatize the FAA

”The FAA has a long history of mismanaged technology projects, and so the latest screw-ups are nothing new. Yet the nation needs high-tech advances in air traffic control more than ever to ease our increasingly congested airspaces.”

The Cato guys have read the same bad news I’ve read about ERAM’s troubles and have come up with a completely different solution to the problem. Is anyone surprised that their solution is to privatize something? It’s no more surprising than that my solution to everything is slots.

Who do you want to believe? I was an air traffic controller. They weren’t. They will tell you their plan will “save” you money while bleeding the public of billions in “profits”. I’ll tell you right up front that my solution will cost you more in ticket prices.

”If we limit the supply of landing slots at the nation’s busiest airports to a sustainable rate of air traffic -- sustainable even in typically poor weather -- the price of tickets will go up. Come now, you know there is no such thing as a free lunch.”

Who do you think is telling the truth? Okay, hair splitters, who do you think is closest to the truth? The “big lie” is right there in the text I quoted from the Cato article. You probably blew right by it without noticing. Let me quote it again.

”Yet the nation needs high-tech advances in air traffic control more than ever to ease our increasingly congested airspaces.”

Our “airspaces” are not “increasingly congested”. Heck, over Christmas they were all but empty. Remember? Major airports along the East Coast were closed. Not to mention, since the Great Recession began, air traffic has been down all over the country. The only thing that is “congested” is major airports when the airlines overschedule them. “High-tech advances” won’t cure that. Not unless you consider concrete runways “high-tech”. Even if you could build more runways, it wouldn’t help if you didn’t put in regulations to keep the airlines (and the billionaires with biz jets) from overscheduling them too.

But the Cato boys are libertarians and they don’t believe in regulation. Just like they didn’t believe in regulating Wall Street.

Me? I was an air traffic controller and I believe in safe, orderly and expeditious. For those that don’t click on the link, that means “safety first”. Or, if you like, “Safety Above All”.

By the way, I know that there are times when airspace does become “congested”. Like I said, I was an air traffic controller. That means I also know it happens because airports get so overscheduled that we have to hold the overflow in the air. That does indeed make airspace “congested”. Anybody that is paid to think for a living (that is what they do at think tanks, right?) has probably figured that out also. At least I hope they have. There is some kind of free-market magic that eliminates the bad thinkers from the good thinkers at think tanks, right? There’s some kind of competition in that “market”, right?

Oh, and one more thing. Just in case you didn’t notice, one of the links in that Cato article leads to another article by you-know-who. Come on. You know. The guy that has been trying to privatize air traffic control forever. Mr. Privatization himself. Surprised? I didn’t think so.

Oh, all right. I just can’t help myself. Now I’m just showing off. Here’s another piece of the puzzle I’ve put into my blog in the past.

””Full disclosure: David Koch has been on the board of trustees of Reason Foundation, the publisher of this website, for decades, and his name appears in the masthead of Reason magazine; I have also taught at various programs for the Institute for Humane Studies, which the Kochs fund, and will speak at an Americans for Prosperity event later this week.”

I know my readers are familiar with the Reason Foundation -- home of Mr. Privatize ATC, Robert Poole.”

The Cato Institute to Robert Poole of The Reason Foundation to David Koch.

”In 1984, Koch founded, served as Chairman of the board of directors of, and donated to the free-market Citizens for a Sound Economy. In 2004, this organization separated into Americans for Prosperity Foundation and FreedomWorks. Koch continues as Chairman of the Board and gives money to Americans for Prosperity Foundation and to a related advocacy organization, Americans for Prosperity. A Koch spokesperson issued a proactive press release stating that the Koch's have "no ties to and have never given money to FreedomWorks"

Both FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity have been providing funding and training to the US Tea Party movement, which opposes much of U.S. President Barack Obama's policies and legislative agenda. In addition, Koch sits on the board and gives money to the libertarian Cato Institute and Reason Foundation.”

You remember the Koch Brothers don’t you? Yeah, I covered that too. You see how all of this is connected, right? If you “conservative” controllers keep voting for these guys they will gain enough power to destroy you and your profession.

Don Brown
December 28, 2010


SugarDog said...

The truth of the matter, which you've been talking about for YEARS, is it all goes back to the NATCA mantra of about 10 years ago. 60 miles of runways. I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas and have a great New Year! Keep up the great writing, I truly enjoy it. I'll be joining on the retirement side in 3 days.

John Milton said...

ATC is a service. Services can be performed by many groups of people. Even NASA is moving in this direction under President Obama:

"Under a plan put forward by the Obama adminstration, NASA would phase out it’s space shuttle program and “partner” with private contractors in the aerospace industry to provide launch services and astronaut transportation to the International Space Station."

Link to the quote from the IAM website: http://tinyurl.com/2c5tb5f

Don Brown said...


Congratulations on the upcoming retirement. And yes, runways would change everything. They'll never be built where they are needed though.

Don Brown