Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bastiat, Hazlitt, and the unseen v. the feds

My latest post on the Blog at

As a means to try to ease chronic nationwide air travel delays, the feds are going to reduce the number of flights in and out of New York City during peak travel times. That's certainly one way to reduce delays, similar to Lenin and Stalin reducing food shortages by implementing mass starvation. But, I digress.

Bastiat and Hazlitt would be screaming "don't forget the unseen."

Sure, Patty Passenger's flight out of NYC will take off on-time -- weather and other airports permitting of course, but Sammy Stranded will have to catch a later flight out as his regular flight is no longer offered.

So instead of possibly arriving an hour late due to a delay, Stranded may not see his family until the following morning, or later. Ask his wife and kids whether Sammy was delayed or not.

The feds have no concern for Stranded -- the unseen. They will celebrate their success and prized on-time metric, with claps on the back and cheers all around.

Missing is the true solution: The market is able to address both peak congestion and capacity constraints, as well as systemic breakdowns. But, once again the unseen will appear, this time in the form of unemployed tax consumers, er, I mean government employees.

And, we can't have that. Or, can we?

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