For all my Progressive/Liberal friends who, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, still subscribe to the mantra that more government regulation and/or involvement in the banks, or healthcare, or whatever, will make those things safer, cheaper, fairer and so on, I offer up some info on one example where the U.S. did actually deregulate an industry:
In 1978, Congress deregulated the airline industry. Between 1950 and 1978, the Civil Aeronautics Board had received 79 applications for startup interstate airlines, and rejected every one of them, effectively protecting the business and profits of a handful of legacy carriers.
Since 1978 however:
- Airline fares have fallen eighteen percent in real dollar terms,
- Airline safety has improved year after year and air travel is now safer than it has ever been,
- Air travel has been opened up to the vast majority of Americans. Prior to 1978, fewer than 20% of Americans had ever flown on a commercial airliner, today it is estimated that 85% have done so, and
- Competition has increased dramatically, with airlines such as Southwest, Jet Blue, Horizon, and Virgin America (to name just a few) forcing what is left of the legacy carriers to reorganize, retool, and rethink their approach to the business.
Faced with these results, and the fact that most large industries are still heavily regulated, over-regulated actually, how can anyone argue that federal regulation or control is a good thing, or that the public interest would not be better served with far less regulation as opposed to more?
Ernie Hancock has famously stated that "There are only two kinds of people in the world, those who want to be left alone and those that won't let them". I submit that the forces of regulation are manned entirely by "those who won't let them", and that they are what stands between Americans and cheaper, more accessible healthcare, lower bank fees, better energy sources, and on and on. The cost to progress, and fairness, is enormous.