Air traffic controllers were heroes of the shutdown, so of course Republicans want to privatize them

This photo shows United Airlines aircraft sitting 08 November 2005, at the terminal near the air traffic control tower at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, IL. AFP PHOTO/Karen BLEIER (Photo credit should read KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

Air traffic controller shortages helped force an end to the record-breaking government shutdown, by showing the very real consequences of making people work without pay until they hit their breaking point. Republicans have an answer for that: a renewed push for privatization of the air traffic control system.

Privatizing the air traffic control system just keeps popping up, even though voters are opposed when they hear what it would entail. And while privatization advocates claim it’s been done successfully in other countries, those successes are questionable: in both Canada and the United Kingdom, privatization meant lost jobs and higher fees and taxes. The United States already has one of the safest air traffic control systems in the world, too.

Air traffic controllers brought home the effects of the shutdown to a broader public and helped push Donald Trump to cave. The answer to that should not be, cannot be “let’s turn this public service over to private companies.”

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