Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Why Donald Trump's Air Traffic Controller "Privatization" is a Scam

The word privatization is used in two different ways.

One meaning of the word refers to when the government leaves a sector and leaves it up to free markets and free enterprise to fill any void---with no direction from government.

The other use of the term is dishonest. It is not about
the government leaving a sector but rather the government still setting the rules for the sector, but the "services" provided are provided by non-government organizations and employees. It, in essence, is just a different government structure for payments to be made in the bureaucratic government run operation.

Yesterday, President Donald Trump announced the "privatization" of the air traffic controller system. He used the word in the dishonest sense.

The government remains in the sector as the ruling body.

Consider what the President said when he announced the privatization:
At its core, our new plan will dramatically improve America’s air traffic control system by turning it over to a self-financing, non-profit organization.
Say what?

A real privatization wouldn't have any government plan or government-created non-profit organization. We have no idea what a private sector air traffic control system would look like. Private sector innovation always tends to surprise and provide creativity in ways that no individual person, or team, could imagine.

This is not going to happen under Trump's plan.

Under real privatization, the President would simply announce to the airlines and the world:
One-year from now the government is getting out of the air-traffic control business, good luck with coming up with your own system(s). I look forward to seeing how creative and innovtive you will get.
Trump did nothing like this. He is keeping the old shell bureaucratic system The tell is that the entire old bureaucratic system supports Trump's "privatization."

Trump said so, himself, in his comments:
Crucially, these reforms are supported by air traffic controllers themselves....
I am very grateful that every former FAA chief and chief operating officers and three former Transportation Secretaries -- Jim Burnley, Elizabeth Dole, and Mary Peters -- stand with us today.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  This is an incredible coalition for change.  All over the room, it’s a coalition for change.  The leaders of the industry.  
This is crony, crony, crony.

As for Trump's claim that:
At its core, our new plan will dramatically improve America’s air traffic control system by turning it over to a self-financing, non-profit organization.  This new entity will not need taxpayer money, which is very shocking when people hear that.  They don’t hear that too often.

Well, to paraphrase Milton Friedman: There is no such thing as a free air traffic control system.

Since it is going to be a government controlled system and not a free market system, fees will be set by the government for the benefit of those closest to it.  Note well: The air traffic controllers support Trump's plan. That means there are not going to be any free market-related cuts in air traffic controller salaries to start with.

It's going to be a government-run monopoly that will charge airlines all kinds of fees that will be passed on to passengers in one form or another. So it won't be "taxpayer funded" but the crony system will be funded by anyone who flies, which is a good percentage of the public.

This is not a move in the direction of free markets. It is a damn Grecian formula-dyed, comb over of a crony system.



  1. DiLorenzo nailed this king of government outsourcing in Underground Government. A must read IMO.

  2. "Privatization!" - Republicans

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” – Inigo Montoya

  3. yet the left is freaking because it will all come crashing down

  4. Privatization would look like this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nav_Canada