What Others Are Saying

Atlanta Journal Constitution
August 8, 2006

Isakson's right moves to win an uphill battle

U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) has accumulated some well-deserved political capital in Washington --- and here at home as well --- because of his astute work with the pension reform bill that cleared Congress last week. Even U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) offered a "well done."

Somehow, Isakson convinced opponents of pension-fund relief for Delta and other embattled airlines to change their minds and support a provision that singled out the industry for special treatment.

The pension legislation promises more than a helping hand to struggling airlines. It also will strengthen a private pension system that for years has needed more-stringent funding requirements. And by easing immediate financial demands on Delta, the bill will help the company keep its pension plan afloat. If Delta goes out of business or is forced to stop funding its pension plans, the already beleaguered federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. would have to step in and accept billions of dollars in Delta pension liabilities, raising the risk that taxpayers might have to bail out the agency.

That reality gave Isakson a good sales pitch in approaching others in Congress for support. But a good sales pitch still needs a good salesman to deliver it.