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Airlines: Don't Repeat 2001's Mistake - Let Them Fail

Remember this from 2001?

In the wake of last week's terrorist attacks involving hijacked airplanes, Congress Friday passed a measure for a $15 billion financial aid package to help the crippled airline industry and set up a government compensation fund for victims to help deter lawsuits.

The House approved the measure late Friday night, 356-54. The Senate passed the package earlier in the day, 96-1.

The White House response was quick with press secretary Ari Fleischer saying in a statement: "A safe, viable and effective commercial air travel system is important to America's economy and to our way of life."

"The president commends the Congress for its quick bipartisan passage of the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act.

"This legislation will help ensure the safety and stability of the nation's vital commercial airline system."

The measure gives the nation's airlines $5 billion in immediate cash assistance and $10 billion in loan guarantees in an effort to keep several major carriers from collapsing. Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., was the only senator to vote against the bill.

Like they did on almost everything for the year following 9/11, the President proposed really stupid and damaging stuff and the Congress rubber-stamped it. We continually deal with the fallout of that age of compliance and will for the foreseeable future. I can already guess that some lobbyist somewhere is prepping a campaign to go to Washington and yet again snooker us about the most recent airline disaster.

More than almost any other industry the airlines have gotten away with running a shoddy business while treating their customers like a stain on their shoes. It's high time we let them just sink on their own and thin the herd for the businesses who perform well and respond to their consumers.