American Airlines and America: What Do They Have in Common?

December 2nd, 2011
in Op Ed

by Frank Li

The headline business news this past Tuesday (November 29) was this: AmericanAirFork“American Airlines files for bankruptcy protection.” Here is how this post begins:

American Airlines and its parent company filed for bankruptcy protection as they try to cut costs and unload massive debt built up by years of high fuel prices and labor struggles.

Were you surprised to hear the news? No, if you are minimally intelligent! A more profound question is this though: what do American Airlines and America have in common?  (Caption picture from 5 Min. Forecast; Click on picture for larger image.)

Follow up:

Here is my 3-folder answer:

(1) Both are deeply in trouble financially.

(2) Both have seen their respective peers go down, without adequate efforts to avoid the same destiny. Specifically, both are stuck with the special interest groups (e.g. unions) with no [easy] way out.

(3) What’s the destiny? Bankruptcy! American Airlines is already there; America will be there soon, if we resist fundamental changes.

There is a huge difference between the two: American Airlines is a company, for which bankruptcy is, overall, the best thing for the company at this time, although neither for the current shareholders nor for the unions. America is a country, the only superpower in the world! A bankruptcy for America could be a total disaster to the world, both economically and politically, to the point of a possible WWIII, as I postulated in an earlier post.

Here is the good news: I believe I have most accurately diagnosed the root cause of many American ills and provided the best solution. Have you seen anything better?

Here is the bad news: America has proven inadaptable: we spend only and we can’t cut, “because any cut would offend one special interest group at least, which is much more costly for the politicians than to simply hand out more - It’s out of the public treasury, anyway!”

Here is the worse news: According to the proven Darwin’s theory of evolution, the “winner” is often neither the smartest nor the strongest, but the most adaptable. We are therefore destined to be a “loser” because of our inability to adapt.

As the worst news, here is an excerpt from this classic piece:

A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.

We, the U.S.A., are 235 years old already! Is our time really up? I don’t think so and that’s why I have been trying to save America with my pen

Read more articles by Frank Li

About the Author

Frank LiFrank Li is the Founder & President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action. Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson" (see page 31).

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  1. wen chia says :

    Excellent analysis. Enjoyed reading your writing.

  2. Jon says :

    Good analogy. Both American Airlines and the US are failing due to exorbitant legacy costs that outstrip the ability to pay them.
    There is NO solution short of bankruptcy that will reduce the amount owed. As long as special interest groups ALL get their special deals, we are doomed.

  3. JGBellHimself says :

    While you are, as always, fun to read, tis wonderful to see how much you do not, or pretend you do not, see.

    Take the people that think the way you want all of U.S. to think, and do, please.

    What you pretend you do not know is that, when they stop laughing at you (we will explain that one in a moment), they bank on their government - that they bought hook, line and sinker - continuing to do what you accuse them of doing.

    Try to see this Frank, people very much like you think you like paid out hard dollars to get a Republican Congress, and then to elect W as YOUR/their President, and then to pack the Supremes. They have controlled the U.S. government for almost two decades.

    Take one example, W's Drug "Bill" for Seniors - for which there was and is NO funding.

    Where were YOU, Frank, when they stuck U.S. with THAT Bill? Opining?

    The "special interests" that you pilory are the very same people who control American Airlines, the Wall Street investment Banksters and totally control the Federal Government. Tis YOUR people, Frank, who could fix the problem, but that refuse to do it. It is not in their best interests.

    As long as you opine against the wrong target, they will love you, to death.

    Why would the "management" of American Airlines pay themselves huge salaries while they are skewing (sp?) both the shareholders who are the putative owners of the company, and the employees without whom the planes do not fly. Because, Frank, they KNOW that they can get away with it.

    Why do the same people in Congress who say that they agree with you, and you actually think do, also pad their pockets, dinner tabs, bank accounts, and future retirement job opportunities in lobbying positions? Bcuz they KNOW that people like you will never stop them.

    Let me be "Frank" with you, you are being used. They are intentionally lying to you, and U.S. And, you refuse to see it.

    Madeline Albright advised you, and U.S., to: "Trust, but verify!"

    You trust.

    We worked The Leg, we know them, and both the govt and private lobbyists. We learned very early, to listen to, but not believe, what they say - watch, very closely, what they do.

    And, at night, watch who is paying their dinner and bar bills - who they are sleeping with.

    You are NOT an unintelligent man, Frank, so take notice - THAT really is a "post hoc ergo propter hoc".

    Try, please, shooting at "the right" target.

    IfNwhen you do, "they" will stop laughing.

  4. Frank Li says :


    Thanks for the long comment! a few points:
    (1) I am an independent, not a Republican!
    (2) I am more critical of the Democrats because they are in power now (except for House).
    (3) Now, on W:
    - I already said he will prove to be the worst American President in history.
    - He screwed everything up after launching the war in Iraq.
    - Why the Iraq war? For re-election!
    - What did he screw up afterward? Everything, including the Drug "Bill" for Seniors!
    (4) The solution for America? Term-limits for the top political offices, starting with 1-term (e.g. 6 years) for President!

    --- Frank



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