Delta and Northwest are merging.  I can hardly contain my excitement.

But here's something that does perk up my interest:  Presumably intelligent people are talking about nationalizing the U.S. airline industry.  Ex-Congresscritter Joe Scarborough said on his MSNBC morning show today that he's "ideologically opposed" but sees it as more or less inevitable no matter who the next president is.

Really?  Additional usage of The Google reveals that CNBC's Erin Burnett mooted the idea several days ago during cross-talk with Scarborough, her rationale being the industry is incapable of turning a respectable profit.  And in fact, CNBC itself has been flogging the notion during panel discussions.

Get ready for Americoflot. 

This is all very interesting, and I'm not altogether sure what to make of it.  One possibility worth considering is that nearly two decades after "the end of history" and the presumably permanent triumph of the market economy (along with parliamentary democracy and the rule of law), government ownership of an entire industry is once again up for discussion.  Another is that whatever troubles the airlines have been having will be made much worse by Peak Oil, to a point that mass-market air travel will become uneconomic — as has already proved the case this month for Aloha, Skybus, and ATA.

Those are two possibilities, and they're not mutually exclusive.  Are they plausible?  Are there other possibilities?  Let rip with the comments below…

The Daily Reckoning