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Airlines take advantage of taxpayers

How quickly we forget! Subsequent to the World Trade Center attack and disaster, the U.S. airline industry (particularity United Airlines) could have been subject to crippling, perhaps even fatal court judgments due to their negligence in improperly screening passengers which resulted in terrorists being allowed to fly and destroy those planes and the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. We, the people of the United States, were called upon to effectively bail out the industry with our tax dollars in a hastily-created fund administered by Kenneth Feinberg who generously spent taxpayer monies to the tune of billions of dollars compensating the victims.

As an aside, Mr. Feinberg wrote about his efforts in a book several years ago in which he detailed his (taxpayer-funded) efforts on behalf of the victims.

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What was the reward that the American public received for this outpouring of generosity? As recent events have clearly demonstrated, those same airlines have seen fit to treat the American public like so much cattle and feel free to have their toadies in Congress permit them to promulgate regulations allowing them to "re-accommodate" their victims, uh, passengers at will ("The unfriendly skies," April 12).

Talk about the height of ingratitude! On the other hand, why should any of us be surprised? The interests of the American public will always, I respectfully submit, be subordinate to the wishes of big business. Particularly in this post-Citizens United world.

One wonders what, if any, degradation this industry must inflict upon the public before people rise up and demand of their public officials accountability for this and other outrageous acts of corporate abuse. I must say, I am not hopeful of any such resolution in my lifetime.

Thomas Minkin, Baltimore

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