Recorded on February 14, 2017 CEO Robin Hayes and Hoover Institution board member Joel Peterson talk to Peter Robinson about how JetBlue has remained successful, despite all the regulations, competition, and pitfalls of running an airline. Peterson and Hayes argue that consolidation and the limited number of airlines in the United States have allowed for sustainable operating margins. JetBlue continues to have double-digit operating margins and great customer loyalty by focusing on safety, culture, and delighting customers. JetBlue has been voted best airline for customer satisfaction by JD Power for twelve years in a row. Hayes and Peterson support the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) managing the safety aspect of regulations, but they prefer that another independent entity run the operations aspect of the airline industry. Although the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978 deregulated the airline industry, the airlines are still one of the most regulated industries in the United States, with more than 13,000 pages of FAA regulations. Additionally, 21 percent of the cost of the air ticket goes to the government via taxes. Legacy airlines, like United, American, and Delta, will charge high fares until a new airline comes in; then the legacy airlines will lower their fares to try to drive out the new airline/entrant. You need a low-cost structure to compete, which JetBlue has; JetBlue has not had to go into debt to fund its airplanes. They discuss how JetBlue has become synonymous with innovation and its decision to bring JetBlue’s investment arm to the Silicon Valley to further integrate disruptive technology into their airline. JetBlue, which wants to use technology to improve customer relations and track equipment, has invested in FLYR to study how the pricing method can be disruptive and thus improve ticketing. JetBlue’s keys to success and longevity are a great culture, innovation, great products, and maintaining cost advantages. JetBlue seeks to create a culture in which all employees are empowered to improve customers’ experiences, from the time they check-in to the time they pick up their bags. (Playing time: 40:54)
Recorded on March 22, 2017 In a lively debate Avik Roy and John Podhoretz discuss health care coverage and whether the American Health Care Act (AHCA), created to replace Obamacare/Affordable Care Act (ACA), will solve our health care problems. They both agree that if we could begin again we would never design a health care system like ours, but, since we cannot start over, how can we make things better. They debate whether universal health care coverage is a good idea, how to provide health care coverage to the most needy, and allow the wealthy and more capable citizens to choose and pay for their own coverage. Roy thinks the system the Affordable Care Act put in place caters too much to the wealthy and that the AHCA will just exacerbate health care inequality. Podhoretz and Roy’s debate ranges from health care to race, inequality, history, and the election of 2016. They note that the Republicans and Democrats are split/disagree on many issues and ideas. Trump voters watch different TV shows and movies, read different newspapers, and have different cultural experiences than the Clinton supporters; therefore the two parties see the world through very different lenses. They examine the changes in the Republican and Democratic Parties over time, including their involvement in the Civil Rights movement and the rise of identity politics and racism. The interview ends with a question on fatherhood and how it shapes both Podhoretz's and Roy's thinking as journalists and public intellectuals. Podhoretz does not want to foist his feelings and views on his children but notes that the media no longer make it possible for children to keep their innocence. Roy dreads sending his children to public schools and discusses some of the problems facing parents and children today. Roy says that parents can choose the environment in which they will raise their children and that there is no need to turn their children over to popular culture.