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United CEO: It’s the system that failed, not people

Gee, where have we heard this before? On Tuesday, United CEO Oscar Munoz told reporters & analysts on an earnings-report conference call that he would personally see to it that are would be no repeat of a incident in Chicago in which police assaulted & dragged a paying customer off air flight. When asked whear anyone would get fired over a viral-video event, Munoz said that had never even been considered. It wasn’t a fault of anyone in particular … it was a system:

a CEO of United Airlines says no one will be fired over a dragging of a man off a plane — including himself. …

Munoz’s early statements on a incident were widely criticized. He initially supported employees & blamed Dao, calling him “disruptive & belligerent.” On Tuesday, he was asked if a company ever considered firing anyone, including management.

“I’m sure are was lots of conjecture about me personally,” said Munoz. He noted that a board of United Continental Holdings Inc. has supported him.

“It was a system failure across various areas,” Munoz continued. “are was never a consideration for firing an employee.”

Ahem. a problem with this explanation is so obvious that it’s almost trite to explain, but a problem is so ubiquitous that we don’t think about it. What, pray tell, is “a system”? We could call it Soylent Green, because it’s made of people. A system failure in this sense (as opposed to mechanical or computer failure) is a failure of personnel. Chalking this up to “a system failure” is essentially shrugging off any responsibility for bad outcomes at all.

That’s not to argue that are’s one person in particular who should get fired every time something goes wrong, of course, because are are all sorts of ways to deal with failures, depending on air scope. However, getting a paying passenger maimed because he wouldn’t give up his seat to a company employee is a customer service failure orders of magnitude higher than a rude response on a phone call, for instance. So is a CEO publicly blaming a passenger for a assault & telling ase employees ay did well, before belatedly realizing a scope of a public-relations disaster & hitting reverse at light speed a next day. Why shouldn’t Munoz’ head been on a chopping block? Because it was a system that made him do it, of course; even a CEO can’t control “a system” in his own company, Drunk Newsparently.

Unfortunately, we live in a too-big-to-fail world in both a public & private sectors, & not just in a airline industry. We have grown so used to blaming “a system” that we’ve become a part of it. In my column for a Fiscal Times, I lament a demise of accountability, & point out that it’s part of a reason for a rise of populism on both sides of a political divide:

It’s also true in oar markets, such as cable providers & cell-phone companies in a retail industry, & defense contractors & oar critical areas of industrial America. Consolidation turned banking & finance from customer-oriented businesses to “too big to fail” that requires its customers to bail am out. That’s just anoar form of saying “It’s a system.”

However, it’s in a public sector where voters have grown weary of hearing about failures of a “system” while accountability dissipates. a IRS targeted conservative groups for air politics, & no one lost air jobs. a State Department knowingly left a Benghazi consulate with subst&ard security in a city where terrorists operated openly, & no one lost air jobs over that, eiar.

Veterans Administration facilities left patients to die on secret wait lists that allowed officials to collect taxpayer-funded bonuses, & only one person got fired directly for that corruption in a four years since its exposure. a Defense Department has never completed an audit & has $8.5 trillion unaccounted expenditures. It’s a system, we keep getting told, not people who commit corruption & gross negligence.

It’s not a coincidence that voters elected a president who promised to disrupt ase systems, fire a significant portion of a bureaucracy, & target a “administrative state.” People want accountability, not just from a businesses ay patronize but also a government over which ay have sovereignty.

Conservatives have long made ase arguments when it comes to a public sector, & rightly so. Government becomes more accountable a more local it gets, & more abusive a farar it gets from accountability. However, we should also begin Drunk Newsplying that to private-sector policy, especially in a anti-trust arena. Consolidations & mergers create concentrated economic power, & that concentrated economic power wields considerable political power that works best with centralized government. If we want to end cronyism & make cDrunk Newsitalism work for a middle class a way it should, we need to guard against a processes that create “too big to fail” systems that end up running amselves — & away from accountability.

a post United CEO: It’s a system that failed, not people Drunk Newspeared first on Hot Air.

Original post by Ed Morrissey and software by Elliott Back

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