People want Pete to do something.
Even prior to the Southwest Airlines and FAA chaos over the last few months, lawmakers have written letters and have all but “begged” Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to make changes regarding the FAA and how airlines are regulated.
According to David Sirota, founder and editor-in-chief of The Lever news site and guest on this episode of The New Abnormal politics podcast, Buttigieg could have taken action on a smaller level to prevent these major travel hiccups, or at least have made them less impactful, but he didn’t.
Subscribe to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, or Overcast.
“Colorado’s attorney general, before the Southwest meltdown, and a bunch of other attorneys general filed a letter, an official comment letter, telling Buttigieg to finally pass a rule that’s been sitting at the Department of Transportation for four months requiring airlines to sell only flights that have adequate personnel to fly, saying that the Department [of Transportation] should make clear it will impose significant fines for cancellations and extended delays that are weather-related or otherwise unavoidable. Buttigieg did none of that,” Sirota tells show co-host Andy Levy.
Sirota also pokes a hole in the argument that Buttigieg isn’t responsible for Southwest’s computer system errors.
“That Southwest’s executives making the decision to pay themselves $112 million, Southwest executives’ decision to approve a shareholder dividend of $400 million while not making what they knew to be were necessary investments in their computer system,” is all the more reason Buttigieg needs to regulate them and others, says Sirota.
So why won’t he and why didn’t he when he had the chance? That’s what Andy wants to know.
Sirota has a theory and it’s related to the kind of lawmaker that Buttigieg is.
“Pete Buttigieg is an ambitious politician,” he says.
Plus! Sirota also shares what Pete could do to improve and regulate airlines like Southwest, what needs to change about the system at large, and what it will take to get Pete to actually do it.
Also in this episode! Jared Yates Sexton, co-host of the Muckrake podcast and author of The Midnight Kingdom: A History of Power Paranoia and The Coming Crisis, joins the podcast to break down how the right became so powerful, and why we need to get angrier about so-called “normal” Kevin McCarthy and Ron DeSantis—or else.
Listen to The New Abnormal on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon and Stitcher.