travellers of America, rejoice!
The Senate just passed the ”Reducing Flight 5 Delays Act of 2013.”
The bill will attempt to eradicate the flight delays of the past week, which were caused by the sequester-related budget cuts, by allowing the FAA to allocate money as it sees fit, rather than having to cut all departments equally (which was causing staffing reductions among air-traffic controllers).
Assuming it passes the House, Obama should veto it.
Josh Barro explained why in a Bloomberg View post yesterday. Fixing the flight problems, while leaving the Sequester in place is just a way of helping relative elites (people who fly a lot) while ignoring everyone else who’s being affected by the Sequester.
…the administration is actually right to resist a standalone fix for air-traffic control. Implicitly, it is holding fliers hostage and saying it won’t repeat a common mistake of the last five years — enacting economic policies that respond to elite problems while ignoring ones that mostly affect the poor.
At the same time the sequestration is delaying fliers, it’s also causing state and local agencies to stop issuing Section 8 housing subsidy vouchers to families on waiting lists. That’s a crisis too, just not one that affects the sort of people who sit on newspaper editorial boards.
The issue is not that elites shouldn’t have their problems addressed. The Troubled Asset Relief Program became law because elites were freaked out about a collapse of the banking system, but the crisis that TARP averted would have been terrible for people at all points on the economic spectrum. A fix for air-traffic control wouldn’t just make frequent travellers’ lives less annoying, it would also reduce damage to the economy and improve job growth.
The Sequester is terrible policy. But it won’t go away if the first thing the government does is address the frequent fliers of the world.
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