Everyone has a horror story about air travel--cancellations, delays, lost baggage, tiny seats, poor service. In this day and age, there is no reason that flying should be this bad. In Why Flying Is Miserable, Ganesh Sitaraman, a law professor and policy expert, explains how this happened: It was a conscious choice made by Washington in the 1970s to roll back many forms of regulation that began during the New Deal, in the name of unimpeded capitalism and more competition. Today, the industry is an oligopoly, with only four too-big-to-fail airlines that have received billions of dollars in taxpayer bailouts and still can't offer reliable service.
Miserable air travel is the perfect symbol of the type of unregulated capitalism that America has unleashed. But there are ways to fix airlines--and, by extension, many other sectors of industry--because, after a half-century run, people are sick and tired of the turbulence that deregulation has brought to our economy.
Ganesh Sitaraman is a law professor and the director of the Vanderbilt Policy Accelerator for Political Economy and Regulation. He is the author of several books, including The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution and The Great Democracy. Sitaraman is a member of the FAA's Commercial Space Transportation Advisory Committee. He was previously a senior advisor to Senator Elizabeth Warren on her presidential campaign. He lives in Nashville, TN.
Sitaraman will be in conversation with Matt Stoller. Matt Stoller is the author of the Simon and Schuster book Goliath: The Hundred Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy. Stoller is the Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project, and he writes an email newsletter Big. Stoller is a former policy advisor to the Senate Budget Committee. He also worked for a member of the Financial Services Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives during the financial crisis.