Posts Tagged ‘safety’

Yesterday was my birthday and I’d been planning on taking myself to Bermuda, which sounded sufficiently exotic but close enough to keep the airfare down and the headaches of air travel to a minimum. At the last minute I bailed, unable to secure a comfortable hotel room (okay near a golf course) for a “reasonable” rate, which is to say something less than twice the cost of a plane ticket. Boy am I’m glad I stayed home!

The wave of airplane groundings, starting but not ending with American Airlines, wreaked havoc on air travel yesterday.  I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering how the pileup in safety violations has been allowed to occur.  Actually, I’ve learned alot in the last few days, none of it designed to inspire me.

The airline industry conducts its own inspections; the “oversight” is provided by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  to which the airlines supposedly issue reports. Right, that’s like asking the foxes to keep the farmer updated on how many hens are supposed to be in the chicken coop. Sometimes a company (or several companies) will miss inspections. In the case of Southwest Airlines, planes that weren’t inspected for fuselage cracks flew anyway. Oh some of those planes were later found to have the cracks. Oops.

Where to start? On one hand, you’ve got deregulation, which suggests that the government pull back since private industries will police themselves. You can see how well that’s worked with the banking industry. On the other hand, you’ve got these hugely inefficient government agencies that soak up our tax dollars but apparently can’t seem to perform basic regulatory duties.

At this point, I’m ready to tear my hair out. See, I’m not about more or less government but about better government. I know, silly me. I’m thinking basic oversight from the get-go (since private industry has NOT shown itself to have consumer interests at heart, unless those consumers happen to be large stockholders). Presumably such oversight could, in turn, prevent the necessity of a last-ditch, hugely costly effort to save, bail out or otherwise come to the rescue of the industries we asked the government to leave alone. And why does the government have to bail out these industries? Because, John and Jane Q. Public, your lives, your livelihoods, your revenue streams and god knows what else are now extricably tied up with the fortunes of the private industries. They go down, you go down. I mean, unless you don’t have a mortgage, don’t have money in the stock market, don’t travel by air, aren’t concerned about food inspection (maybe you grow your own food?) and oh, don’t require health insurance. Lucky you. This time.

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