Kennedy Left Deregulation Legacy on Airlines and Trucking

 Statement by John Berlau

Washington, DC, August 26, 2009—On the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), John Berlau, Director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, offered a statement praising the late Senator’s legacy in deregulating the airline and trucking industries:

Tributes are pouring in for Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, who lost his battle to brain cancer late Tuesday evening at the age of 77.  Most tributes to the “Liberal Lion” focus on his accomplishments at expanding government spending and regulation.  And indeed, those were the bulk of his achievements.  

But for a brief, shining moment, in the mid to late 1970s, Kennedy viewed smaller government as the most compassionate answer in one area of economic life: transportation.  Kennedy was the prime mover in Congress behind the airline and trucking deregulation bills that were signed by President Jimmy Carter.  He saw the impact of regulation in these industries as protecting entrenched companies from competition, and decided that the liberal, compassionate thing to do was to deregulate to give consumers lower prices and more choices.  As the news stories search for all the ways Kennedy’s impact is felt by everyday Americans, one obvious impact is reflected in this headline today on AOL news, “Fall Airfares Starting at $59.”  >Read the full statement on