The Not So Great Transportation Monopoly

To the Editor:
The biggest single factor that made the transit strike possible is the fact that mass transportation in New York City is in the hands of a government-created monopoly. Americans are schizophrenic about monopolies: We don’t want them in the private sector (where they couldn’t last if they tried, because profitable business always attracts competition), yet we somehow think they will benefit the public if the government creates and runs them.
But government-run businesses are generally mediocre at best (e.g., government schools, the U.S. Postal Service), and there is no valid reason for transportation to be a government-run business. Airlines, inter-city bus lines and cabs are all private companies; New York City buses and subways should also be returned to the private sector. A mosaic of privately-owned transportation providers would be a competitive arena in which companies would have to vie for both customers and workers. This would lead to better service and a rational (market-based) environment for setting wages and prices. Because employees, employers and customers would all have more choices, there would be less animosity among the parties, and workers would have less motivation to strike. Any strikes they might attempt would more likely be “wildcat” strikes, against parts of the system rather than against the system as a whole.
Liberty is the best policy. It won’t produce a perfect world — nothing will do that — but it produces far more civility and prosperity than Soviet-style state-run enterprises ever will. We need to restore liberty in New York City.
John Procida
The Libertarian Party of Queens County

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