Wichita Eagle Says “AirTran Subsidies Foster Competition”

In an editorial in The Wichita Eagle published on April 19, 2005, Randy Scholfield writes: “Wichita should stick to its subsidies. They’re fostering competition, not stifling it, and paying off big-time for the community by lowering airfares and boosting economic development.”

Competition, if it is to be meaningful, needs to be fair. It is not fair when one participant has a huge head start in the form of a government subsidy. The Eagle recognizes this when it suits their purpose. When endorsing Sam Brownback for reelection, this newspaper said “He includes in the former his stepped-up fight against the European subsidies of Airbus that have put Boeing and its workers in Wichita at competitive disadvantage.”

Competition occurs when independent decision-makers, looking at the array of choices available to them, freely make their own decisions. With the AirTran subsidy, we have the City of Wichita (and now apparently Sedgwick County), by using their power to tax, making a decision for us in favor of AirTran. This is not competition.

Mr. Scholfield, the one subsidy I might support is one that would provide an alternative to the Wichita Eagle! Would you consider that to foster competition in the market for daily newspapers in Wichita?

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