Getting back to normal : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

What stuff has helped you get back to normal in light of last week's events? Or are you not ready to go back to normal life yet?

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2001


First off, I'd like to say I'm relieved you and your family and friends are all right. It's really impossible to find anything that takes your mind off of last tuesday's events, isn't it? I've pretty much been my TV's conjoined twin. C-Span has the best coverage imo; the other networks' coverage look like Hard Copy on a 24 hour loop. When not sitting numb and bleary eyed in front of the TV, I've been sitting numb and bleary eyed in front of the computer taking a crash course on bin Laden, the Taliban, Afghanistan, and US foreign policy in the Middle East. I'll spare you my amateur analysis, the question was what has taken my mind off things.

When I first wake up there are a few blissful moments during which I'm not aware of what has taken place. But then things come suddenly and unpleasantly into focus. Physical contact and displays of affection are soothing, even if they don't bring instant amnesia. Oh, how about this? I was watching Conan O'Brien last night, and they showed a clip of Triumph the insult comic dog at the MTV awards sneaking up behind Jennifer Lopez and whispering in her ear " J LO?...J LO? Can I sniff your butt J Lo?". It was the first time in more than a week something on TV had made me laugh.

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2001

Work, chores, the rhythm of everyday life, shopping, cooking, waking up and making coffee and feeding the cat... It's just like after a major personal loss -- the death of a close friend or relative -- and at first almost all you can think of is the loss and the pain and then gradually you move back into life, the pain and the loss are still with you, but less often and less severe...

But then sometimes something slaps you in the face and brings it all back...

My wife had the day off on Tuesday and I took a vacation day, enjoyed a pleasant day, a walk on the beach, etc... and then I dropped off one of those single use cameras for processing at a one hour photo... I had forgotten that my 16 yr old had taken it with him as a spare camera back in June on a school field trip to Ellis Island... I was leafing through the developed pictures to see some shots I had taken on a trip to Pittsburgh last month and came upon pictures he had taken and one of then brought it all back...


-- Anonymous, September 20, 2001

If you're having trouble seeing Jim's picture (image tags are a little screwy in this forum for some reason), it can also be seen here.

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2001


I’m new to your site, having only found it/you today. Interesting to say the least. I will stay tuned.

To the point, I don’t think there will be a ‘normal’ again, at least not to those who remember ‘before’. Do you remember when you did not go through security to get on a plane? Just walk up to the gate and get on? Given your age likely not. The results of this attack will become normal in time.

Short term: (three months) we will all stay home more, watch (cable) TV more, eat in more (to better watch TV, remember a war is coming). We will buy less both in quantity and in price. We will defer large hard-goods purchases, housing sales will drop off and we will sit and wait.

We will spend more time with our families. They give us strength and comfort. We will spend more time with our husbands/wives, and/or lovers. We will make love more often and to greater result. Okay, don’t believe me, births did jump in the fall of 1991, nine months after Desert Strom. Look it up.

After 3-6 months those who have lost their love ones will be coping, those that lost their jobs (10s of thousands to date) will be working doing something to pay the bills. Christmas will come and go the families will be remembered. Programs will be held, toys collected. We will have monuments of silence for the victims. Then in January we will start to forget. We will start buying cars and houses and other stuff. By summer vacation will be taken people will start to travel again. Life will be moving on. Yes next Sept 11th we will all stop and remember be sad watch TV programs and then it will be over.

Other thoughts: isn’t it funny that thousands died on the highways over Labor Day Weekend and no one talks about it? Same number of lives lost, same number of families hurt etc… but no TV. Could it be that simple? No, it is the difference between accident and attack. Interesting how the world works. Or doesn’t

-- Anonymous, September 20, 2001

Jen, the problem with Jim's picture is that geocities has taken measures to prevent bandwidth stealing. They don't like serving up pictures for other web sites (such as greenspun).

In regards to the world trade center attack, I find myself wondering why people keep calling it "the day the world changed." It didn't change all that much...

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2001

Well, I guess that confirms my longtime suspicion that you and I are not living in the same world, Dave.

-- Anonymous, September 24, 2001

What color is the sky in your world?

-- Anonymous, September 25, 2001

Marmalade here - with tangerine trees, and cellophane flowers of yellow and green towering over my head. Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies and everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers that grow so incredibly high.

(er, yeah, down on the strip, that's not so far from the truth - where nothing is reaaaaaaaaaal)

-- Anonymous, September 25, 2001

Haha Dave thats a brilliant answer ! Indeed while the events of 911 were shocking and desicable, the world has not changed one bit, It has always been violent throughout history. People forget in times of peace. In the US, the media is amazingly onesided. Nothing but american news matters. Folks here are unaware that similar acts of terrorism happen teh world over. Maybe not in as glamorous a fashion. But it happens. One has to live outside the US for a significant amount of time to realize how 'sheltered' people are here. What the media and the american govt needs to do is try understand all the reaosns why the fundamentalist muslims hate the US. By Bush's hollywoody slogan " good fights the evil" nothing will be solved. The entire world sees that, save some quarters in the US. Sad. I hope people's perspectives broaden.

-- Anonymous, September 25, 2001

Folks here are unaware that similar acts of terrorism happen teh world over.

No, actually, they don't. When was the last time 6,000 civilians were killed in an attack on a single day during peacetime (or during wartime for that matter)? This event was unprecedented in the scope of its destruction of human lives as well as property. Furthermore, there has been considerable media interest in this story outside the U.S. The story is still front page news in all of the European newspapers I've seen and almost certainly elsewhere in the world, as well. I think you and Dave are seriously out of touch with reality if you think this attack was normal for any part of the world.

-- Anonymous, September 25, 2001

the world does seem different. but i think dave's sentiment is echoed by a lot of people, this idea of americans finally getting a taste of the fear that many experience as everyday reality. a lot of minorities, myself included, in this country have a measure of this same attitude. but i think it calls upon our baser instincts, attacking this image of the smug ignorant middle class american that we can hold up to judgment. we need something to blame, and in some part, this image persists to supply that need. but it's incomplete to simply begrudge the provincialism of some americans; there's provincialism all over the world. they need an in. they need to be spoken to in terms that they understand. i think it's changing, but there hasn't been enough exposure in the media and pop culture about what the rest of he world is like.

-- Anonymous, September 26, 2001

Yeah, but as you imply, I think that response is an emotional one rather than a rational one. Sure, U.S. policy in the middle east has led to a lot of suffering, but to say that this is some kind of logical conclusion is a big leap.

And I don't really think that saying the world has changed as a result of this is provincialism--there are clear global effects. As a direct result of the attack, the U.S. is prepared to go to war and has completely changed their tack when it comes to fighting terrorism-- something which will directly affect the lives of millions in the Middle East and North Africa. It has also profoundly affected our diplomatic relationships and those of the Taliban--even just the lifting of U.S. sanctions against India and Pakistan is huge, not to mention our military alliance with Russia, and the worsening of relations with Iraq.

-- Anonymous, September 26, 2001

This is just a quote, not meant to comment on other people's comments. It was said by Albert Einstein after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima (killing 80,000 the first day, 20% of the city population, double that number in months and years following):

"The release of atom power has changed everything, except our way of thinking."


-- Anonymous, September 27, 2001

Jen wrote:
As a direct result of the attack, the U.S. is prepared to go to war ...

And you're citing this as evidence that the world has changed? You're joking, right?

The world did not change on Sept. 11, 2001. There was terrorism before that day and there is terrorism still. The people responsible have pulled many attacks in the past, most notably the bombing of the WTC in 1993. Most experts agree that had that bomb been better placed it would have taken down the building, which would have taken several times the number of lives as were lost in this latest act of terror. Why are people suddently taking the terrorists so much more seriously? Because they got luckier this time?

For the record, I resent your implication that I consider the WTC attack as "normal." How the heck did you come up with that? I have been as deeply shocked by the whole event as anyone. But there was similar loss of life and a larger loss of property in the Kobe earthquake of 1995. As sad as that event was it did not change the world either.

Yes, the US response to this event has the potential to change the world, but I wouldn't bet on it (and that's not the same as saying the event changed the world).

It isn't often that the world changes in a single day. That claim in this case is just media hyperbole.

-- Anonymous, September 28, 2001

I agree, Dave, that it's not often the world changes in a single day. But I do think that September 11, 2001 was one of those days.

Sure, terrorism existed before that date, just as wartime bombardment of large cities existed before August 6, 1945. But both of those dates saw a change in the gravity of those things, as evidenced by the fact that one event started a war and the other ended one.

This attack was not just a matter of the terrorists getting "lucky." It was greatly unlike previous attacks in the degree of skill, planning and expense which went into it. The attack has directly affected the economy throughout the world. It has changed attitudes towards terrorism throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Most nations previously thought terrorism was too minor of a threat to warrant offensive (rather than defensive) intervention. That ceased to be true within an hour of the attack.

-- Anonymous, October 01, 2001

But Jen, surely you can see there is no fundamental change here? Views may have changed, but the fundamentals of terrorism have not.


I'm concerned about the knee-jerk reactions I'm seeing. For example, they want to make cockpit doors more secure. If they do, that door better stay shut for the entire flight or it would only take a single person to commandeer the plane instead of a team of 4-5. And this talk of pilots carrying guns. Sheesh. What if somebody gets ahold of that gun? These are just plain bad ideas.

And why not get rid of carry-on luggage? This has long been a peeve of mine. It's just too big a security risk. Carry-on luggage should be outlawed.

And why-o-why are they giving the airline industry $5 billion dollars? That pisses me off. Can anyone tell me why taxpayer money should be squandered like this?

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

I think the fundamentals of terrorism have changed. Previous terrorist attacks have been far less sophisticated and far less destructive. The stakes of terrorism been raised, and so have the fears of terrorism, which is a significant change in and of itself.

As for the airline bailout, it's in the U.S. citizens' best interest to have a healthy airline industry. I can tell you that my own travel plans for the fall have been affected by massive flight cancellations in the wake of the terrorist attack. If many airlines were to go under, it would be even more difficult to travel and there would be less competition leading to higher airfares.

Even people who don't fly would be affected--U.S. mail and other cargo are often transported on commercial flights.

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

If many airlines were to go under new airlines would take their place. If there's money to be made flying people and cargo then companies will do so. That's the beauty of the free enterprise system.

But the *users* of air travel should pay the full cost, not the taxpaying public. This bailout hasn't saved air travel, it has merely lined the pockets of investors. If the airline industry was healthy to begin with this latest problem wouldn't be that big an issue. But they're swimming in debt through their own mismanagement.

-- Anonymous, October 02, 2001

The problem is that right now, there isn't money to be made flying people and cargo. On my trip this weekend, United cancelled both my scheduled flights and the plane I took was still half empty on one of the busiest routes in the nation.

If this were left up to the free market, the only way airlines would be able to survive would be by dramatically laying off employees, selling off planes, and cutting way back on the number of flights, which hurts anyone who flies, sends packages or mail or buys or sells anything which is transported on commercial flights. That pretty much covers the entire U.S. taxpaying population.

As for lining the pockets of investors...have you seen airline stock prices in the last few weeks?

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

Both Dave and Jennifer are right. What is wrong is HOW we bailed them out. Rather than cash and loans (and loan guarantees) the feds should have bought 13 billion (or what ever the number was to be) worth of pre-paid tickets for future travel. Say that gov. workers on gov business could use them over the next 5 years. That way the airlines get the cash they need now and we (the gov) is getting their money back with the tickets.

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

Jen wrote:
...which hurts anyone who flies

How does reducing the number of flights hurt those who want to fly? They can still fly, can't they? Are you saying the government should hand the airline industry billions of $ so that they can fly half empty airplanes? Because that's exactly the *problem*. Flying half empty airplanes is stupid. Airlines should be run for profit, not on government money.

You're missing the big picture, Jen. If people want to fly, and they're willing to pay $300/seat, and it costs $250/seat to run a flight, then companies will appear to fill that need. That's the free enterprise system. There is no reason to throw money at companies to entice them to fill this need.

I mean, what's next? Should we hand the airlines a billion every time there's a snowstorm? What about the airports? Should we give all of them money too? How about hotel operators, and every other business that lost money because of this situation?

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

How does reducing the number of flights hurt those who want to fly?

Well, I think it's pretty obvious. If there are fewer flights, you're not going to be as able to fit your travel plans into your schedule as easily. Fewer flights will also mean less competition, especially at smaller airports, which will lead to higher prices.

And as I pointed out earlier, commercial airliners are also a major route of conveyance of U.S. mail and cargo. If there are fewer planes flying per day, there will also be less extra cargo space available. The mail service and other courier services will thus have to either send mail more slowly or spend more money to fly things on their own planes.

You're missing the big picture, Jen. If people want to fly, and they're willing to pay $300/seat, and it costs $250/seat to run a flight, then companies will appear to fill that need.

Actually, I think you're missing the big picture. The U.S. airline industry is a crucial part of the world economy, and if the airlines were to dramatically curtail their operations, the impact would not be limited to airline companies. If people and things suddenly start taking a lot longer to get where they need to go, we all suffer. The airline bailout was a no-brainer. That's why the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved it.

-- Anonymous, October 03, 2001

Yes, the airline bailout was certainly a no-brainer. The politicians didn't use their brains! While the gifting of large amounts of money to the airlines is no doubt appreciated by the much beleagured airline industry, let's be clear on what it accomplished for the flying public. Nothing. Anyone who wants to fly and is willing to pay for it is going to be able to fly no matter what. If airlines go broke other airlines will take up the slack and/or new airlines will emerge. There is absolutely no danger of supply not being able to meet demand. That's the beauty of the free market economy. Think of it this way: next year a certain number of people will want to fly. That means a certain number of jobs for the airline industry. Throwing gobs of money at a troubled airline industry will not cause more people to want to fly. It won't meant more jobs. It won't improve the economy.

Keep in mind that airlines going broke does not hurt the flying public. It hurts investors. If airlines go broke then new airlines or other airlines will take their place.

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001

Anyone who wants to fly and is willing to pay for it is going to be able to fly no matter what. If airlines go broke other airlines will take up the slack and/or new airlines will emerge. There is absolutely no danger of supply not being able to meet demand. That's the beauty of the free market economy.

Unfortunately, that's only true over the long term. If current airlines went bankrupt in the few months following the attack (as would likely have been the case without the bailout) there would have been a period of several months, or more likely, years, before new airlines were able to replace them! Starting an airline requires a huge amount of capital, and even the process of just buying planes, hiring personnel and training them and setting up a flight schedule would take a long time to do. Leaving these things up to the free market would be one way to go about this, but it's certainly not the most efficient, and it's absolutely not the least expensive. As much as you think we can't afford this bailout, imagine what the costs would be in having the airline industry so profoundly disrupted for so long!

Keep in mind that airlines going broke does not hurt the flying public.

Of course it hurts the flying public! Fewer airlines and fewer flights will lead to airline monopolies, especially at smaller airports. Higher prices and less frequent flights are certainly going to hurt the flying public! As I mentioned earlier, I, personally, have already been inconvenienced by United's flight cancellations. My flight to NYC was changed to another time, causing me to arrive in the city just in time to get stuck in rush hour traffic, which probably added at least an hour onto my travel time (not to mention the fact that the flight got in later than I'd originally hoped). And this is one of the most popular airline routes in the country! I'm sure that people who are flying out of Portland, Maine or Wichita Falls, Texas are going to have their flight plans altered by many hours or even days as a result of cancellations.

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001

Jen wrote:
Of course it hurts the flying public! Fewer airlines and fewer flights will lead to airline monopolies, especially at smaller airports. Higher prices and less frequent flights are certainly going to hurt the flying public!

Using that line of reasoning the government should step in to bail out any business that falls on hard times. I was talking long term and big picture. Supply and demand of this kind always stabilizes on its own.

Think about it: a $5 billion dollar payout is about $20 per US taxpayer. Why should everybody pay to keep these airlines afloat? Why not let the users of the service pay? I mean, come on. The way you're talking it would make sense for the government to buy everybody a plane ticket to stimulate that old economy. That's nonsense.

And will you stop bringing up your trivial inconvenience on your recent trip to NYC? It's irrelevant. The $5 billion was not spent so that you can visit your boyfriend without getting stuck in traffic.

The $5 billion did not prevent huge layoffs. The $5 billion is not encouraging people to fly. All the $5 billion did was help out some large corporations.

And of course there's the other $10 billion in loan guarantees. Is there anything stupider than government loan guarantees? If any of these companies go broke it could now cost you US taxpayers billions.

Of course this whole discussion is rendered rather trival by the $100 billion or so Bush now wants to spend on stimulating the economy. That's insane. Wasn't there some talk at some time of banning deficit spending in the US? It seems to me that Bush is now using this event as an excuse to push through what he wanted all along: massive government spending.

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001

Dave, what you seem to fail to understand, despite the fact that I've said it over and over again, is that the success or failure of the airline industry has an impact that goes well beyond the industry itself. It's an integral part of the entire economy, affecting tourism and retail sales (a $541 billion industry), mail service and other shipping, and any other business in which long-distance travel is integral (which covers a huge number of fields, including my own).

This is why in most countries, the airlines are owned and operated by the government. The U.S. is an exception, but the airlines have always operated with heavy government influence (remember the air traffic controllers' strike in the early eighties? And Ronald Reagan was hardly a proponent of excessive government intervention.) This is simply because all U.S. taxpayers, whether they fly or not, have their economic fates intertwined with those of the airlines.

I agree that my own inconvenience as a result of recent airline problems is trivial. But multiply that inconvenience by every airline passenger in the country and it's not so trivial. And when you take into account that service cutbacks currently in effect are nothing compared to what they would be if the airlines were allowed to go bankrupt, maybe you'll see my point.

What information you are using to make your claims that the aid package has done nothing to prevent layoffs (which I think clearly could have been far worse) or encourage people to fly? I am especially confused given that you yourself said in the other thread that you were hoping to take advantage of low airfares and take a vacation.

-- Anonymous, October 04, 2001

I had planned to post a nice sweet story here last week about my niece's first foray into cross-country racing, directly following the WTC disaster... but I've been so busy, I never got around to it. But some comments above really spun me up...

hans wrote: What the media and the american govt needs to do is try understand all the reaosns why the fundamentalist muslims hate the US. By Bush's hollywoody slogan " good fights the evil" nothing will be solved.

Yeah, it's our fault all those countries are ruled by tyrants... but when our government tries to help the people under those regimes, we get criticized for it as well.

Moral relativism may be OK for hypothetical intellectual debate, but in the real world it's the stuff of nihilism... if you truly believe it, go live in, oh, half the countries around the globe. In fact, go live in some of those fundamentalist countries where women are less valued than animals... where the concept of freedom is alien... where there IS NO separation of church and state. If YOU can't make a moral value judgement when you see mass murder, I don't know what to say, except you are an inferior. There IS right and wrong; good and evil; a moral truth that even athiests will agree with.

I guess we should have let Hitler do whatever he wanted too... after all, he couldn't have been "evil". He... had his reasons. Adolph...we feel your pain! And to the killers of an aquaintance of mine who was herded into a back-room of a restaurant and shot in the head execution style... I guess those killers had their "reasons" too huh? Maybe bad toilet training? Bin Laden is a rich fanatic mass- murderer who has no qualms about murdering innocents... he must be destroyed.

It is not our fault that most of the world is still ruled by force, and not the relatively modern democratic rule of law started here in 1776. This country's actions are by no means perfect; but they have more benevolence than the hate you ascribe. I fail to see why some Americans always see us as the bad guys... those are not the Americans I know and talk to. We have the power to act like Alexander or Augustus Caesar; but we don't. When we DO get involved it's because we are begged by the victims of oppressive regimes. I don't think it's bad to stand for freedom and liberty... sure beats the Gulag and the Killing Fields. You state the media is remiss in informing us of other world suffering... I think it's the rest of the world that's remiss in informing them of what WE have done for others. Over the last century we've given more blood and money than lots of the world probably deserves. Even when the results were negative, our intentions were noble. And we do it for Islamic peoples too.

more hans: the world has not changed one bit, It has always been violent throughout history. If you don't see the real danger of nuclear terrorism, and the real possibility of a domino-horror story with Pakistan, India, Israel, etc... well, continue dreaming.

Our government's main task is to rid the world of these mad-dogs. If we piss off some 3'rd world religious zealots and tyrants... so be it. It appears our leaders are well aware of trying to work in a positive manner with other governments as much as possible. Bin Laden and his ilk have not been at all reticent in voicing their tyranical, religious views on the record.... they look at Israel, the US, Nasser, Sadat, and all of the similar moderate arab governments as worthy of death... and they will not stop their murder until they get their wish...'they cannot be bargained with' (to paraphrase the Terminator)... 'and will not stop until you are dead'. Our only choice is to reduce them to what we reduced the 1940 Nazi party movement to... or wait until they start using nuclear weapons someday.

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2001

Jen, what you seem to fail to understand, despite the fact that I've said it over and over again, is that the success or failure of the airline industry does not depend on the health of the individual companies. It only depends on one thing: demand. If there is demand for air travel you can rest assured there will exist companies to meet that demand, and our economy will reap the benefits. There is no need to hand over truckloads of money.

Yes, I do remember the airline strike of the early eighties. And yay for President Reagon for firing them all because they wouldn't go back to work. But that was a completely different situation. The airlines would operate their airplanes with or with the $5 billion in aid. They can't make money without flying their airplanes. What is so hard to understand about that? They have to fly to make money.

Jen wrote:
you yourself said in the other thread that you were hoping to take advantage of low airfares and take a vacation.

I didn't say that at all. I said I was hoping to take advantage of "vacation bargains." In fact, airfare prices have not dropped from what I've seen, nor would I expect them to, since it is now more expensive to operate. But the resort we are planning to go to is only 1/4 full right now and that's where the bargains come in to play.

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2001

Supply and demand may work over the long term, but the fact is that if this were left up to the markets, there would be a period of years in which supply and demand would be seriously out of whack before it stabilized again. This would almost certainly devastate the economy, and would certainly cost us far more than $5 billion. It would be pretty stupid to allow this to happen, when the bailout is a much cheaper alternative.

And domestic airfares have dropped. Nearly every U.S. airline is having massive fare sales to encourage people to return to the skies.

-- Anonymous, October 05, 2001

Jen, I always wonder whether or not you're laughing while you're typing. "Years of instability"? What, precisely, do you envisage? Flights routinely cancelled because the airlines can't afford to fuel 'em up? And this so called "instability" will somehow lead to a devastated economy. Talk about specious.

And airfares are always on sale.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 2001

It is already happening that flights are being cancelled due to lack of airline funds. But the bigger danger is of airlines going under and suspending service altogether. Even a brief period of inactivity, such as what happened with Swissair last week, could easily disrupt transportation systems and their dependent businesses throughout the country (and the world) if it happened to a big carrier like American or United. Even the threat of flight stoppages would affect business and stock prices (United's already low stock has dropped another 2.5% on the news of its financial trouble). Imagine a couple of years' worth of people not knowing whether they'll be able to fly when they need to, and what that will do to the economy.

And no, fare sales don't happen all the time, at least not on the scale they are happening now.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 2001

In order to properly interpret media reports you have to keep in mind how the media works. Where do they get their information? How and why do they present it to the public?

The airline industry would love for the public to believe there are extra deep discounts available right now because then they will sell more tickets. The media wants there to be unprecedented discounts available so that they have a story. They work together to bring you the type of reports you're seeing.

The reality is that the prices aren't really any better than sale prices that are available all the time. I flew Seattle to Orlando last year for $300. With less desirable connections and times I could have flown for as little as $220. That compares favorably to these current 'sales'.

Jen wrote:
It is already happening that flights are being cancelled due to lack of airline funds.

That's not what that article said, Jen. Flights are being cancelled because they can't find people who want to fly, not due to lack of airline funds.

Jen wrote:
But the bigger danger is of airlines going under and suspending service altogether.

How is this a danger? If there's a buck to be made flying people from point A to point B there will be an airline there to take advantage. If there's not money to be made there shouldn't be a flight.

Jen wrote:
Imagine a couple of years' worth of people not knowing whether they'll be able to fly when they need to, and what that will do to the economy.

This is the Big Lie. Barring airport shutdowns, people will always be able to fly when they need to.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 2001

If big airlines go bust, there probably will be airport shutdowns! Most U.S. airports are dominated by single carriers, especially airports which do not serve very large cities.

95% of the flights out of Charlotte, NC are operated by US Airways. 77% of flights out of Cincinnati are on Delta. 74% of flights out of Denver are on United. You think that if any of these airlines went out of business, another airline would be immediately able to serve passengers who want to fly into or out of those cities? No way. It would take time for the supply to meet the demand, if the airports were even able to financially survive the temporary huge dropoff in business.

As to your claim that the article I linked did not bolster my claim that airlines lack the operating income to carry out normal schedules, perhaps you missed United's statement that "given the magnitude of these unprecedented events and the possible subsequent effects, United expects that the adverse impact to its financial condition, its operations and its prospects will be material." Furthermore, lack of operating funds is what shut down Swissair (until they, too, got a bailout) last week, not lack of demand. Continental, among others, has also cited operating costs as a factor in its decision to cut back flights. I suppose you could say that the airlines are all lying, but by all indications most of them were in a sorry financial state before 9/11, and things have only gotten worse now.

Anyway, I think at this point we've both made our points, and we're only butting heads. I don't believe in your vision of a frictionless free market, and I think that a few billion dollars spent to bail out the airlines now will save us a lot of additional expense down the road. And the vast majority of economists here in the U.S. agree.

-- Anonymous, October 09, 2001

Jen, you can't possibly believe that if US Airways were to cease operations that the poor people of Charlotte, NC would be left stranded. Other airlines would see a chance to increase their business and pick up the routes almost immediately.

Furthermore, your claim that the "vast majority of economists here in the US agree" with your position is pretty empty. Did you poll them? This economist certainly doesn't agree: Flying Pork Barrels.

Here's a quote from another article: But there's no evidence that the bailout will do anything more than to transfer the pain of new market conditions from airline stockholders to taxpayers. Billions of tax dollars won't make airlines keep empty planes in the air or idle workers employed if air travel suffers a long-term decline in demand.

A far more valid argument would be that since the feds grounded the flights for a few days they should compensate the airlines for the resulting losses. That's still rather tenuous, but at least it has some merit.

-- Anonymous, October 10, 2001

Actually, yeah, I do believe the people of Charlotte (and Pittsburgh, and every other airport where US Airways dominates) would be stranded, at least for a while. Because it wouldn't just be that one airport's routes which would be discontinued, it'd be all of USAir's flights. The other airlines do not have enough airplanes or employees to to cover those routes, and they don't have enough cash to buy more airplanes (nor are they able to get enough credit to do so right now, which is why they're in such bad straights in the first place). In time, new companies would start and fill the void, but it would take a while.

"Vast majority of economists" is based on my knowledge (through various readings) that even the most strident advocates of the free market acknowledge that it's not always the easiest or best solution, and that it's a long-term phenomenon. Furthermore, all of the White House council of economic advisors (all of whom are considered quite conservative in the economics community) agreed that the bailout was a good idea. Even free-market advocate Alan Greenspan, who is heading up the committee which will oversee the distribution of airline loans is on board. And the Wall Street Journal even ran an article praising the bailout yesterday (unfortunately, it's not available online for non- subscribers). Unless all of these conservatives have suddenly dramatically changed their position in the spectrum of economic theorists, I'd say that's a pretty solid sign that most economists support the bailout.

-- Anonymous, October 10, 2001

Normal? As for getting back to normal life I must admit that I have been living. I don't see a change in life or the world. The world has the same potential for evil that it always had. People who witnesed the Holocost, Hiroshima, the genocide of the American Indian, Pearl Harbor, and many other atrocities have lived through them. Their view on life was what changed and their path from then on was different. I must admit I would never had thought that an airliner is or can be such a dangerous weapon. Now when I look at a plane I can't help but think that it has a perfect design to do the damage that it did. I also notice myself watching the Sears Tower on my way to work where as before it was just another building in the skyline. I am worried, no maybe more aware of threats and try to understand what is really going on. But as far as returning to any frame of mind that was normal like before 9/11 it would require alot of unlearning and forgeting which is just wrong. It would be great to forget watching both towers falling on live TV or watching the people jump from 20-30- 40-? stories to their death. But if we forget or just return to normal it is as if 9/11 never happened and all of those scars that changed our view are useless. All that hapened is a waste. And all those people died without any purpose. As harsh or painfull as it may be 9/11 will be a part of you just like the pleasant experinces of your life. You can't have one without the other it just not normal.

-- Anonymous, November 06, 2001

Canada's second largest airline has gone bankrupt recently. Amazingly enough, life is still pretty normal... go figure.

-- Anonymous, November 14, 2001

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