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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

December 16, 2008 at 12:03 PM

Airline charge increase

The way it works

In your Dec. 11 editorial you criticize the airlines for having the nerve to charge for things that people want [“Buck up and fly,” Dec. 12]. That is not such a strange concept if you think about it. Isn’t that the point in a free-market economy? We want companies to make as much money as possible so shareholders can maximize their returns. However, some industries seem to run smoother than others.

Why is it that many industries lack the dysfunction and drama that is playing out with banks, automakers and airlines? Are stupid, greedy people somehow strangely drawn to manage these industries, or is there another common thread here?

All of these industries are very capital-intensive and are greatly affected by government policies and regulation. For many years we have been building eight-lane freeways and lawmakers have made great efforts to keep gas prices low. Lax regulation and low interest rates have encouraged an irresponsible use of consumer debt. Overreaching bankruptcy protection and heavy government taxes and regulation have led to a hypercompetitive, dysfunctional airline industry.

Unfortunately, taxpayers have now bailed out all three of these industries in this decade. Legislating our way to cheap gas, airline tickets and home loans has come back to haunt us. Our government needs to provide a stable, common-sense framework so these industries can operate in a long-term healthy marketplace.

Then these industries will hopefully stop giving us so much angst and provide consumers with a good product while making a reasonable profit.

— Eric Driggers, Bainbridge Island

Comments | More in Economy, Taxes, Transportation

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