Thursday, August 4, 2011

The FAA Budget Stupidity

As a mostly liberal person, I heavily blame the GOP for their horrendous activity during the Debt Limit Crisis.   They claim to care about our debt in one breadth and then refuse to raise taxes back to Clinton era levels - despite the fact that under Clinton we had a SURPLUS, not a deficit.

So now I have to look at the current problem.  Here we have the FAA's budget being disputed.   Because it has been rejected, certain air travel taxes are not being collected, costing the US about $200 million a week.   Not to mention putting about 74,000 people out of work. 

The GOP is doing this for two reasons:

  1. To stop 13 rural airport from receiving federal subsidaries.  It is so much money that some rural airports offer FREE air travel  for the sole purpose of boosting their numbers enough to get the federal aid.     Here the GOP is completely correct, we do not need to be wasting our money on this crap (or at very least graduate the payments so that free air travel is never worth the airports effort.)    Yes, I am supporting the Republicans on this part of the problem.   The problem is that they only did this for 13 out of over 140 airports receiving the subsidy.  They do sometimes get things right. 
  2. The GOP wants to change  airline Union organizing rules so that the they need to get a majority of total possible votes, as opposed to total votes cast.  In effect that means people that did not vote, count as voting against the Union.  For a company that has 20,000 employees, the union needs 10,001 YES votes, even if not a single person voted No. Here the GOP is acting in a vile manner.   In most elections you get a lot of people that don't vote.   In 2008, only 63% of eligible voters voted for the President of the United States. The GOP is in effect demanding that all people that don't vote count as voting against them.  I wonder if they would allow the Democrats to use those rules for Presidential elections - that is any person not voting counts as a vote for the Democrats.

To me, the telling point is the number of airports they are cutting back on.  Why only 13 airports - saving less than $17 million (I have seen estimates of $8.5 to $16.5 million).   We are losing over $200 million a week in lost Aviation taxes because of the shut down..  We give subsidies about 140 rural airports and honestly, I see little reason to continue supporting most of them.   Yes, some people will have to drive further.   But the cost to the nation is not worth the minor benefits.   If a state wishes to maintain a rural airport, let that state do it. The country can't afford it. 

But that's not the point.  We know it's not because they cut subsidies to less than 10% of the rural airports, while they did the union rules changes to all the airlines.  What is actually going on is that the GOP is using a minor point where they are correct to hide a vile disgusting attempt kill unions.   Worst of all, they don't even have the courage to elimination 10% these wasteful subsidies.  Not even 10%!!!  You want legitimacy, try dropping at least 50% of the rural subsidiaries, not less than 10%.

The FAA budget fiasco is not about the wasteful rural subsidies.  Instead it is about a blatant attempt to kill unions. 

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