Flickr / ND Strupler
In case you needed a reminder of how unfathomably lame our government is, look no further than what is now happening with our air-traffic control system.
Thanks to the unnecessary “sequester” spending cuts that our government supported, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is having to send air-traffic-control workers home without pay.
These “furloughs,” which resulted from the sudden need of the FAA to slash spending by 10%, kicked in on Sunday. And, according to Reuters, they are already causing airport delays.
New York airports JFK and LaGuardia, for example, reported delays of more than an hour. So did Philadelphia.
If these furloughs continue through September, as they must unless our government finally wakes up and governs, they will save $200 million of the $637 million that the FAA has to cut from its $16 billion budget.
And they will waste millions and millions of hours that citizens and businesses could productively spend doing something other than waiting around airports for our government to get its act together.
Yes, there are philosophical differences about the ideal role and scale of government in a civilized society.
Americans generally believe that government should be smaller, and do less, than the governments in most civilized societies (our government spending, and our tax rates, are low relative to other first-world countries).
But aside from a few fringe extremists who think we should go back to being a lawless frontier nation, it’s hard to imagine that are too many Americans who don’t think we should have a fully functioning air traffic control system.
But our government apparently does.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to waste an extra hour every time I am forced to travel by plane. And I don’t want our employees to waste countless hours every time they’re forced to travel by plane. And I don’t want all Americans to waste countless hours every time they travel by plane… all so that we can cut a tiny bit of spending that we don’t even need to cut.
If our government wants to talk seriously about fixing our long-term healthcare spending problem–the only budget problem that is really a problem–then, great. It’s high time the government did that.
But enough with the nickel-and-dime slashing of basic services.
We need a fully functioning air-traffic control system.
And it’s time we got ours back.
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