What ever happened to government? Has our entire legislature gone crazy? In fourteen days the sequestration deadline (that they imposed on themselves and then delayed until March 1) will go into effect. To make sure that the whole country knows just how serious they are about solving the budget problems we face, Congress is taking a ten day recess!
If they were grade schoolers that hadn't completed their work, the teacher would take their recess away and make them complete their work first. If they were responsible adults (instead of the entitlement minded brats that they always rail against) they would stay without being told that this needs to get handled before anybody takes a break.
The across the board cuts will affect everybody in varying ways. The following is from Politico's summary on its effect on transportation:
SECRETARY SOUNDS SEQUESTER SIREN: Senate Appropriations Democrats joined their House counterparts in raising a warning flag on the sequester’s aviation impacts, as the upper chamber committee posted a letter (http://1.usa.gov/Z0XszQ) from Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood explaining the tangible impacts of the nearly $1 billion in automatic transport cuts the sequester would serve up. His chief worry is that thousands of air traffic controllers would face furloughs, causing a reduction in air traffic that threatens to have tangible effects on Americans’ everyday travels. “The result will be felt across the country, as the volume of travel must be decreased. Sequestration could slow air traffic levels in major cities, which will result in delays and disruptions across the country during the critical summer travel season,” LaHood wrote.
But don't worry, "safety will not be compromised."
The FAA isn't waiting to start waving that tired old flag.
I know and trust my fellow air traffic controllers to be doing what we do every day. But I also know that the industry will push the limits of balancing reduction in workforce and maintaining as much volume as possible to the limits.
I also expect each government agency to follow the irresponsible leadership of Congress by making "across the board" cuts. That is the simplest (not the safest or best) way to solve the less money problem. What that means is that we'll still have money in the budget for new office furniture (that we'll have to spend or lose) but won't be able to move it to the pot that pays controller salaries where it is really needed. Instead of looking for ways to cut waste, we'll just cut everything. Instead of prioritizing our spending needs, we'll treat everything as equal. We'll just follow the lead of our Congress.
Of course, following the lead of Congress might mean that when it's critical to be on the job, separating airplanes...
...it will be time for recess.
I can promise you, the Federal employees that provide safe service for the flying public have a far better work ethic than the legislators that represent them. We'll be on the job every day that they'll let us...
By the way, you can help. Go to this link, type in your zip code at the bottom and then follow the instructions. A letter will be generated and sent to your legislators urging them to deal with the issues and avoid sequestration.