11:31 PM

Merger Mania is a Very Bad Idea

Call me cynical if you wish, but I am getting very, VERY bad vibes about this week's mega-merger in the airline sector, reported widely, including on cnn.com:

"Delta Air Lines announced a long-speculated deal to acquire Northwest Airlines Monday, a combination that will create the world's largest airline and could lead to a series of other deals to reshape the U.S. airline industry. The deal could lead to less competition and higher fares on some routes where the two carriers now compete."
That last sentence should tip you off to what is really going on here. In case you just landed on this planet from, say MARS, present-day Washington D.C. has but one purpose in life: Create a business environment in the United States that allows the one-percent elite to plunder the wealth of the other 99 percent of us by making as much profit as possible on anything they touch. You have to look no further then the corner gas station to see what I mean.

The mechanism that we the people have always had to keep corporations in check has been our anti-trust laws. Back in the days before our government was sold to the super rich, lettuce growers couldn't get together over coffee and agree to set prices, it was against the law. But in today's Washington, anti-trust laws – sort of like the Constitution – are only a fable that can be side stepped any time some fat corporation wants to push the market prices of anything through the roof. In BushWorld, we are seeing more of this, again from cnn.com:
"On April 9, the Department of Transportation tenatively approved a suspension of antitrust laws for several members of the SkyTeam alliance - Delta, Northwest, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, and two other international partners - with the object of combining trans-Atlantic operations and operating as a single carrier for flights between the U.S. and Europe."
So when Delta and Northwest agree to merge into our largest carrier, you'd THINK our Federal Government is on top of this, right? Associated Press reports it widely, reminding us our country is still being held hostage:
"The Justice Department pledges to take a look at how the proposed merger of Northwest and Delta will affect consumers. But analysts see the deal eventually winning regulatory approval. The airlines say they want to complete the transaction by year end, in the closing window provided by the presence of the Bush administration, which is seen as largely merger friendly."
The only people who think these airline mergers are good for the industry are the very top managers of the merged carriers. Everyone else, including the pilots who fly the passengers who will get screwed in this deal think the mergers are a huge mistake. And if you think these airline mergers will ever result in lower prices, you're head is buried deep in GOP quicksand.

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