Saturday, April 27, 2013

Some will win, some will lose...

...some were born to sing the blues.

These lyrics from Journey's Don't Stop Believing are going to prove true for all of the government agencies and for all of the people that are affected by the sequester cuts.

After the week of delays that resulted from the FAA cuts that caused air traffic controllers to be furloughed, our Congress has instructed the Department of Transportation (DOT) to find the money someplace else. So here's the deal in a nut shell. The FAA cuts it programs back as far as it can and still needs to furlough ATC one day per pay period (original talks were one day per week). They've cut back training (for new hires in the system), placed a freeze on hiring (in spite of nearly half of the current controller workforce being eligible to retire), and scaled back on the upgrades to the National Airspace System (NAS).

The short term impact (delays) is felt immediately but isn't even the real danger in the "across the board" cuts of sequestration. The long term consequences will have a far greater impact. But to take care of the immediate pain, Congress has instructed the DOT to find the money (from other areas) to put the controllers back to work. One Congressman said that the bill is unnecessary because the DOT already had that authority. I say it's unnecessary because Congress has the authority and responsibility to fund the FAA.

And I wonder--where are they getting the money? Are other programs being gutted (think other transportation programs)? Are other employees being laid off?

This band-aid fix might address the immediate pain, but it really doesn't do anything to address the irresponsibility of "across the board" cuts and non-management of our nation's funds or to address the gradual replacement of an aging workforce. If a third of the eligible controllers retired, the impact would be far greater than the 10% furlough that we've been facing; but we're still in a hiring freeze and the Academy is still shut down for training.

Sure, I want to go back to work. But where is the outrage over the other programs that are being cut? Is Congress only going to address the cuts that create massive social and corporate outrage? And what of the bogus fix that tells the DOT to rob one of the other agencies to keep air traffic on the job? What can you do with a Congress that refuses to govern and with an electorate that keeps putting them back in office?


That's it for today's rant.
(Ugly John is wanting out.)



Mike said...

Time for another countdown clock.

Big Sky Heidi said...

They manage to do nothing that will be a long-term viable solution.

Kevin said...

I couldn't agree more, John. Very frustrating to watch this play out. Yeah, we get to go back to work but I thought sequestration was supposed to be painful that we wouldn't follow through with it.

Brandi said...

I hope they will get the problem really solved.