Letters for October 18, 2018

Deregulation issue

Re “Question mark” (cover story, Sept. 27):

Thank you for your informative article about Question 3. However, I’d like to correct one commonly-believed fallacy repeated in your article.

Your article states that airline deregulation in 1978 was a failure because the promised competition among airlines never happened and because the quality of service declined. In fact, airline deregulation was a huge success for the traveling public. Perhaps you don’t remember how expensive air travel was before 1978. Before deregulation, airline passengers were typically made up of the wealthy and upper middle classes. Now, after deregulation, it is often cheaper to fly than to take the bus.

According to a well-researched Sept. 28, 2013 Atlantic article, the average cost per mile, in constant dollars, to fly in the U.S. dropped about half in the 30 years following deregulation. Low airfares opened up the convenience of flying to nearly everyone. That has to be considered a huge success.

Your article claims that airline deregulation was a failure because it bankrupted the airline industry. Well, of course it did! Before deregulation, the federal government regulated nearly every aspect of airline travel, which allowed horrible inefficiencies to exist. Ticket prices were fixed by the government at high prices, and airlines became lazy and inefficient. The high prices allowed them to still make a profit in spite of it. High ticket prices that passengers were forced to pay was subsidizing inefficient operations.

Deregulation allowed airlines to compete with each other, driving ticket prices down. The inefficient companies, and the ones too slow or unwilling to adapt, went bankrupt, replaced by new, efficient airlines that could still make a profit selling low-cost tickets.

Your article also states that another sign of the failure of airline deregulation is the decline in customer service. Yes, the quality of service has declined, but that is because people prefer lower ticket prices in exchange for less customer service. Because there is now competition between carriers, the airline companies will do whatever the public is willing to pay for. Customers vote with their wallets every time they buy an airline ticket and they make it clear that they value low ticket prices over more comfortable seats and better meals.

Giving people what they want and are willing and able to pay for is a success, not a failure.

Dennis Johnson



We often hear there is no difference between the major political parties. That’s baloney. There are huge differences.

Democrats support people. The Republicans support their mega-rich donors. Democrats will preserve Medicare, Social Security, our schools, roads, public health, police and fire, children and families, wild life and the planet.

Republicans support prosperity for the prosperous, the one percent. Republicans’ only campaign promises are to reduce regulation, so they can poison us all, and reduced taxes on the wealthy. They just did a massive transfer of wealth from working people to the kleptocrats and got away with it. One example will be when the Republicans eliminate Medicare and Medicaid which will be the end of rural and small urban hospitals. They voted over 50 times to end the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and are still working on it.

If you are a citizen, you need to vote.

Don McKechnie


More Kavanaugh

Many talking heads are claiming that Democrats based their objections to Kavanaugh on presumed guilt. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The argument made by the Democrats was that based on credible testimony, an investigation should be done. No guilt was presumed. The Republicans, for whatever reasons, limited the investigation, which made it meaningless in terms of determining anything new. That being the reality, the Democrats then made the argument that—barring a real investigation—all they could do was use the information available to them, which included all the waffling, outright lying, etc., exhibited by Kavanaugh during his part of the hearing. This is completely reasonable to me.

Claiming that Democrats automatically believe women so that lives and careers of men are at unreasonable risk is a lie that simplifies the narrative in a way that works for the talking head programs but completely ignores/distorts/alters the reality. Don’t buy it.

Michel Rottman

Virginia City Highlands