Monday, November 25, 2002

For all that is wrong with the quick legislation that was passed shortly after 9/11, the Air Transportation Stabilization Board seems to actually be doing a good job.
Fears that the loan guarantees would amount to a giveaway to an inefficient industry haven't materialized. Far from it. In fact, the board has behaved more like Harry Zale, the cram-down artist in Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full, than like Jimmy Stewart's accommodating George Bailey. The board's first answer always seems to be no. And as it wields the sharp elbows of a vulture investor, it has extracted potentially valuable concessions for its investors, the American public. What's more, its rapid posting of minutes, decisions, and correspondence to airlines on its Web site make it a model of transparency.
Unlike the normal pattern of the Bush administration to conduct its business away from the public eye. this agency is fully exposed. And that looks like a good thing.

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