The next bailout: Airlines, again

Don't look now, dear taxpayer, but President Obama is dividing up more of your freedom and your money to feed another hungry industry.

WASHINGTON – Prodded by labor unions, the Obama administration is taking its first step toward trying to fix the ailing airline industry, which could lead to a partial return to economic regulation…Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is holding a forum with aviation stakeholders on Thursday to discuss the state of the industry and ways government can help provide economic stability for air carriers.

At worst, this becomes a true bailout in which newly borrowed government billions cover the airlines' poor business practices and excessive labor concessions. At best, it becomes an opportunity for the federal government to skew the market for air transportation in favor of business models that simply don't work — inevitably causing higher costs for consumers.

The last airline bailout came with 9/11 as its excuse, even though the legacy carriers had been losing money for decades at that point. History repeats itself now because the unions will do anything to prevent the dinosaur airlines from going out of business and giving way to better-managed, newer companies.

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