Continuing to dispell the myth that Republicans are for less regulation, Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Bill Shuster threatened the airline industry with more regulation yesterday, May 2, 2017. As chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, he said, “If changes aren’t made by the next hearing, I can assure you, you won’t like the outcome. If we act, it’s going to be one-size-fits-all.” What is strange about Shuster’s comment is that he gets most of his campaign donations from air transport companies.
Executives from Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines were before the committee yesterday, mostly due to the incident that happened on United with a passenger being violently pulled off one of their planes. United CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized profusely and has dramatically changed their procedures so such an incident never happens again. Additionally, the passenger will be compensated for the trauma the airline caused him. “In that moment, for our customers and our company, we failed, and so as CEO, at the end of the day, that is on me,” Munoz testified. He added, “Ultimately, our actions will speak louder than words.” Munoz called the incident a “failure of epic proportions.”
So, knowing all this, knowing that the airlines have, on their own, fixed the problems already, one can only conclude yesterday’s hearing was nothing more than showboating for politicians. The problem was fixed by the industry, quickly and without additional regulation. If anything, it spoke of the fact that less regulation of the industry is necessary. Instead, Republicans and Democrats took the airtime to show America how hard they are on the industry and that Congress was going to do something to make sure this never happens again. It was already resolved by the free market, there was and is no need for the government to come in with additional regulations. But, it did offer Americans more proof that Republicans are not interested in less regulation. Republicans are interested in intimidation, fear, and more regulation.