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Wed, Jun 25, 2003

A Voice For Privatization of FAA

Anything Government Can Do, The People Can Do Better

"Although the FAA’s mission is to provide a 'safe, secure, and efficient global aerospace system,' the agency fails to achieve its goals because it lacks the knowledge required to construct a rational, comprehensive plan for their attainment. An appreciation of the knowledge problem helps us to understand why the best public policy for promoting safety and efficiency in air travel would be either to eliminate the FAA or to privatize it."

Thus is the thought, from an economic point of view, of the destiny of failure of the FAA. Economists Paul A. Cleveland and Jared R. Price systematically attack the FAA's failures, and its inescapable future failure ("failure" meaning both "the inability to function as hoped-for" and "the gross inefficiency of performance"), through analysis of the politics of central planning.

Although the broad argumaent the authors present could be applied to a multitude of federal programs, the insights into the FAA, specifically, are worth the somewhat-dry read. [They can't help it; they're economists --ed.]

The historical perspective and the analysis of recent events, though, is clearly worth the effort; and you'll come away with a new way of looking at governmental controls.

For instance, much of the industry's talk lately has been some form of griping about "deregulation." Cleveland and Price argue that it is not deregulation, but so much remaining regulation in and around the industry, that has continued to force non-market (that is, inefficient) actions: "After the CAB was abolished, the only regulatory control that remained was that administered by the FAA. The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 allowed market forces to function in a large segment of the air-travel system (pricing and routing decisions), but it failed to liberate the infrastructure on which the airlines operated daily, the airports, and the ATC system." The results of this regulation, they say, are stagnation in technology, in implementation, and in safety.

If your brain needs a little work to do, and your mind isn't numb or just closed, you'll enjoy this one...

FMI: http://www.independent.org/tii/media/pdf/tir81cleveland.pdf

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