Angry air travelers — The latest pressure group
April 25, 2013 12:00 PM | 2469 views | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Monday, 1,500 air-traffic controllers — 10 percent of the total — were furloughed for the day pursuant to a budget deal Congress agreed on last August that none of the lawmakers or its author — President Obama — thought would ever come to pass.

Briefly, it looked as if the air-traffic-control system, with a little bit of luck and some cooperation from the weather, might escape relatively unscathed. But high winds at New York’s three main airports caused delays of one to three hours, which rippled though the system, causing delays as far away as Miami and Los Angeles. An ice storm in Denver didn’t help. Three airlines — US Airways, JetBlue and Delta — were forced to cancel some flights.

And the Federal Aviation Administration says the situation will only get worse during this summer’s peak travel season, with 6,700 flights daily arriving late at major airports and one-third of passengers experiencing delays. By contrast, on the worst travel day of 2012, severe weather forced the delays of 3,000 flights.

The cutbacks are due to Obama’s “sequestration” ploy that forces government agencies to live with budget cuts until Congress relents, agrees on a “grand bargain” deficit-cutting deal or enacts a budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. Critics, including some airline-industry executives and some members of Congress, accuse the FAA of planning to create the maximum amount of chaos in hopes that an infuriated public will force Congress to back off and restore at least some funding. Others attribute the same motive to Obama.

The FAA responds that it has to find some way to cut $200 million out of its budget, and the simplest, most cost-effective way to do it is have 10 percent of its controllers be off one day a week from now until Oct. 1. In addition, the FAA plans to close almost 150 control towers at small and medium-size airports on June 15, including the one at Cobb County-McCollum Airport in Kennesaw.

The flying public is likely to be further infuriated by delays going through security because of furloughs of Transportation Security Administration personnel. Arriving international travelers, too, will face delays because of furloughs of customs officers.

Air-traffic controllers complain, with some justice, that they are being used as a political football between the administration and Congress.

Congress, despite its insistence that this time it really means it, has carved out exceptions in the sequester — such as meat inspections and a military tuition program, to name two.

One-size-fits-all government never really works, and Obama and Congress will soon have to decide whether the savings extracted from the FAA budget outweigh the economic damage done by crippling air travel.
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April 27, 2013
Obama’s sequestration ploy? Knowing Republicans would still control Congress this year, everyone worked to pass sequestration as an attempt to get this then-future Republican Congress off their big fat lily white butts and doing their jobs. Even they realized years ago they would not be doing their own jobs this year, so we have this little OCD tactic that worked as well as breaking mama's back if you step on the sidewalk crack.

Nothing can get these old white men to work! Do you know why? I do! It's Because the Republicans are still having the Civil War, except now it's The South (thanks so much for that, Reagan and Jerry Falwell) versus The Flyover!

If The South's Rebubblicans could stop trying to carry the Civil War on daily, the Republican party might get their act together and pass a budget and maybe even field a candidate with any chance at all in 2016!

But no, let's continue the Civil War instead, because that has worked SO well for us.
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