What happens when government ‘gets out of the way’
Last week, the federal agency that regulates air travel (the FAA) was, because of congressional inaction, temporarily out of action. It was unable to levy or collect taxes from airline tickets, so the major air carriers “compensated,” they said, by raising prices enough to match the fares with taxes. In other words, instead of allowing fares to fall, increasing ridership, hiring more help, encouraging commerce and growing the economy, the air carriers gouged as much as they could out of the situation.
This is what corporations do when government is “gotten out of business’s way,” as some presidential candidates are proposing. The list of other such examples is long: GE rewrote the tax code in 2004 and not only paid no tax on $14 billion in profit last year, but claims $3.5 billion in tax credits (that’s $12 every man, woman and child in the United States owes GE for year 2011); the Wall Street credit crisis, Worldcom, Tyco and the current NewsCorp scandal in Britain, which may bring the government down, round it out. And who can ever forget deregulated Enron “making those grandmothers in California scream?”
Yes, let’s turn business loose. For those with short memories, they’re obviously operating in our interest.