A Problem with Subsidies
By Ralph Hood
Hood is a Certified Speaking Professional who has
addressed aviation groups throughout North America.
A pilot since 1969, he?s insured and sold airplanes
at retail and distributor levels and taught aviation
management for Southern Illinois University. He
currently serves as National CFI Marketing Mentor
for AOPA?s Project Pilot Instructor Program. Reach
him at email@example.com
I realize this may endanger my status as a card-carrying
charter member of the Fire-Breathing Free Market Disciples
of America — but so be it.
in Huntsville, AL, we have a beautiful airport built
way back in 1965. It has two north/south parallel runways,
but no east/west runways. It was planned with an east/west
runway. It was graded for an east/west runway. The runway
is actually there, but was never paved. It was never
paved because the feds — three and a half decades
ago — had just decided that intersecting runways
were dangerous. Simultaneous operations from intersecting
runways, said the feds, were unsafe. Now, in this enlightened
new millennium, the feds would have us believe that
either they were wrong, lo those many years ago, or
something has changed in the meantime.
not buying it.
This is one more example of the guvmint subsidizing problems. Not subsidizing solutions to problems, but subsidizing the problems themselves.
we need is not more traffic at O?Hare; what we need
is alternatives to O?Hare. Ditto Atlanta?s Hartsfield,
Dallas? DFW, Los Angeles? LAX, etc., and so forth ad
infinitum. Southwest, by operating out of Midway and
Love fields, has done more to alleviate delays at O?Hare
and DFW than the guvmint. (The story goes that they
tried to do the same for Atlanta by operating out of
Fulton County, but the city fathers and Delta stopped
various levels of guvmint have a habit of this. Anytime
we get too many people in one place, the guvmint tries
to make it easier for those people to stay there.
enough water in California? Let us import water from
other states and deliver it to California farmers so
cheaply there is no incentive for them to save it. In
Israel, where water is expensive, irrigation ditches
are lined with plastic sheeting to keep it from seeping
away into the ground. Not so in California. The guvmint
subsidizes the problem; more people move in and the
guvmint wants to encourage the use of alternative fuels.
So, what do they do? Hold down the cost of gasoline
by dipping into our strategic reserves. Thus, they lessen
the appeal of alternative fuels. They are subsidizing
we have unemployed coal miners concentrated in parts
of the country where there are no operating coal mines?
Our guvmint pays them not to work, thus reducing the
incentive to leave, thus subsidizing the problem.
thanks in large part to guvmint shortsightedness, we
desperately need alternative airports. The guvmint solution?
Make it easier to crowd even more traffic into the already
overcrowded airports we do have. This lowers the appeal
of alternative airports and thus, once again, subsidizes
Damned if I understand it.
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Chicago aviation officials like to point to the 31-year-old airport in Dallas as a proven model for the parallel runways envisioned at the future O'Hare International Airport.
Last fall some neighborhoods near O'Hare got quiet