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Monday, March 2, 2009

What does "Privatize" mean?

The Toledo Blade is reporting how Republican candidate for mayor Jim Moody wishes to privatize the Toledo Airport. Alas, this isn't really what he said. What he wants is to sell an equity share in the airport for $100 million, but that hardly means the airport will be privately owned and operated. And what will happen to the money after this stake is sold? It wouldn't even be returned to the taxpayers, but retained by the government and spent in some kind of Recovery Plan for Toledo. This hardly sounds like privatization at all.

If the government never went into the airport business in the first place, and we actually had airport freedom all along, that would be one thing. But this is nowhere near the case. Even if a portion of the airport was sold to a private investor we would still have massive airport regulations and Toledo would still own most of the airport. I doubt the presumably liberal Blade writer ever thought of that before he got all upset and wrote that sensationalist headline.

What would it mean to actually privatize our airports? For starters, abolish the FAA. Then, get rid of all the ridiculous TSA security procedures that bog down travel. Then get rid of the TSA itself. It is nothing but security theater, attempting to give us an illusion of safety. Don't regulate or bail out the airline industry. Don't maintain any air traffic control systems. That would only be for starters.

Nobody in government on either side of the aisle would be willing to even remotely approach any of these suggestions. Until they do, nothing in our airports will be private. The number one reason I hate flying is the massive government presence that permeates air travel. Without them, flying might actually be a pleasant experience. One can dream.

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