Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bowling, airfares and lax antitrust enforcement

It’s not just the loss of 230 jobs but also a part of Milwaukee’s culture.

That’s how you can characterize the decision yesterday to move the United States Bowling Congress to a Dallas suburb.

Bowling? Texas? You’ve got to be kidding? Holy Fonz!

The USBC wants to be close to the Bowling Proprietors Association of America which has its headquarters in the Dallas area. While that may be plausible, it leaves another cultural void in Milwaukee.

Nothing we can say will change the decision. Milwaukee politicians made an 11th hour plea that fell flat.

But one thing that was said as part of the rationale for moving the USBC bears attention: Milwaukee’s airfares are way too high.

Despite County Executive Scott Walker’s reliance on some old numbers to dispute that, the criticism is apt. Those of us frequent flyers have noted skyrocketing fares in and out of Mitchell Field, especially since the sale of Midwest Airlines and merger talks between Delta and Northwest.

Northwest now owns 47% of Midwest and together they corner three-fourths of the Milwaukee market.

Holy antitrust! Doesn’t anyone care about that stuff?

Good question but an old one that’s lingered from the days when Chrysler was allowed to assume and then dismantle American Motors.

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