The airline industry cannot have it both ways. They cannot enjoy the benefits of the friendly side of capitalism and run crying to Uncle Sham when the going gets tough.

Legislation has been proposed in Congress that would give the airline industry financial assistance in upwards of USD$15B. The airlines have been in a competitive market for over a decade. Thousands of flights per day arrive and depart from everywhere. They survived high gas prices and cutthroat competition but they couldn’t survive four planes being hijacked.

The industry’s argument is that without this money, many airlines will go bankrupt.

Boo-hoo. That’s the way the capitalist cookie crumbles. True competitive markets are Darwinian and the weakest of any specific trait will and should die. In this case, corporate death should go to the airlines that spent more on executive salaries than security for passengers. Corporate death should go to any airline that can’t deal with the new reality of true security.

The planes won’t disappear. The pilots won’t disappear. The terminals won’t disappear. A truly competitive market will make incompetent management disappear and that’s absolutely essential to a stronger airline industry. Let the vulture capitalists do what they do best–corporate takeover and restructuring.

Anyone who remotely accepts the concept of capital and competitive markets should oppose bailout for the airline industry. If the Keating Five and the Savings and Loans lessons are worth anything, they tell us that bailouts are a sign of cronyism and extremely counterproductive to innovation and market forces.

If the US is going to spend billions on airlines, it should be used exclusively on upgrading tracking and security technology. Not one penny should go towards propping up a failing company. A failed airline has a failed management behind it. This is not a problem for government to solve.

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