Friday, July 25, 2008

Hands Off, Hands On

While in session, the demise of Aloha Airlines inspired the legislature to resurrect a bill allowing the regulation of the state's interisland airline industry pending authorization at the federal level. The bill, HB2250, was vetoed by Governor Lingle, but the Legislature overrode it in a special session on July 8, 2008, and the bill became law as Act 1. The trend in Washington seems to be leaning in the bill's favor, and with growing difficulties in getting neighbor island flights, maybe we'll see regulation sooner than we think.

With looming crises in other sectors such as housing and the financial industry, the Wall Street Journal today reports on the increasing support of a swing back to regulation after decades of deregulation started by the Reagan administration. The pendulum has swung back and forth since the nation's earliest days; Alexander Hamilton pushed for higher tariffs in an effort to protect US domestic manufacturers, while Thomas Jefferson was perhaps our first president to embrace the "get government off our backs" philosophy.

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