I’ve seen comments and cartoons casting the reversal of the FAA air traffic controller cuts — which were supposedly due to sequestration, or the process of trimming a couple percent or so from federal spending –as a folly of congressional hypocrisy. Our D.C. pols, it seems, were quite upset that they couldn’t gain easy access to jets. But that’s wrong.
There’s no shortage of hypocrisy in Washington D.C., but the real reason Congress, and the White House, suddenly discovered that even with cuts we can afford air traffic controllers, was noted by syndicated columnist Debra Saunders. She writes, “There was a fear factor: If a plane crashed, voters would blame Washington.”
The barriers are falling on the sequester fear tactics. It’s likely now that control towers at smaller airports are safe from closure (Read). Frankly, I think the chances of civilian defense furloughs will be whittled below the current 14-day threat, perhaps to zero.
Some pundits are casting this as a loss for President Obama and the Democrats (read), but it’s a win for everyone. If our pols had failed to have the will to make these tiny sequestration cuts to a universally acknowledged bloated, debt-ridden budget, it would have cast a very pessimistic outlook on future, bigger cuts that will be needed, such as Medicare.
And be assured that despite the loud constituencies, we will one day have to face cuts in entitlements. They’ll be more painful than today’s mild cuts. That it seems we could take the baby steps necessary in 2013 bodes a little bit better for our resolve in the future.