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Another law we don't need

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Congress can't make any meaningful progress on health care legislation, but it remains eager to pass pointless -- but voter-pleasing -- legislation that add to the morass of laws and regulations that already ensnarl Americans. Specifically, this month's episode in which Minneapolis-bound passengers were forced to spend the night sitting in a Continental Express regional jet on the ground in Rochester has spawned new demands for Congress to "do something." Unfortunately, some senators are listening.

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The reality is that as with most business endeavors, the marketplace will mete out the correct punishment for airline errors. Passengers who think the Continental Express situation represents that airline's typical effort are absolutely free to fly with a different airline. Enough of that, and Continental Express will be working awfully hard to make sure it has no more similar incidents.

From the government's side, lawmakers who are considering a "passenger bill of rights" need to look harder at the ridiculous system that makes such a law seem desirable. They have created a nation where fear of lawsuits and fear of government security forces combine to prevent any reasonable action in unusual situations. If our lawmakers really want to fix problems like this month's Rochester incident, they ought to look hard at whether we should really value security over liberty, and then seriously consider reforms to our civil legal system.

Adding a new law to the books to address isolated instances of bad airline service is ridiculous. It's the wrong answer to a problem that, on one hand, has deep societal roots and, on the other, can better be addressed in the marketplace. -- Fergus Falls Daily Journal

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