DOT to Furlough Air Traffic Controllers, Despite $48 billion in Stimulus Funds

airtraffic

The federal Transportation Department has announced it will be cutting everywhere because of the sequester. This includes air traffic controllers who work for the Federal Aviation Administration who will be furloughed. But if we connect the dots, we see that the Transportation Department got $48 billion in the stimulus, with which it put 65,000 people to work. I find it interesting that no ones talks about the success or failure of the stimulus, which spent about ten times as much money than what now needs to be cut, because of the sequester. It is also interesting that the amount the Transportation Department received in the stimulus, was more than half of the money which now needs to be cut.

Essentially, when people protested that the stimulus would just kick the can down the road, they were correct. Each of those stimulus jobs in the Transportation Department cost taxpayers $738,000 per job, yet now the same department needs to cut costs. Transportation Secretary Lahood said that the agency needs to make it to $600 million in cuts. The current proposal to save the money is “shutting down control towers and furloughing FAA workers for one or two days every two weeks” according to the Daily Caller article.

It seems silly that this conversation is being held now, instead of when the stimulus was passed. Our government could not look a couple years ahead and see the problem with spending $800 billion on a stimulus? It makes it that much worse that the stimulus apparently did not work, it just means we need to find savings now instead of then. The fact that the stimulus came from tax dollars means that public sector jobs were created, at the expense of private sector jobs. The private sector, however, does not generally use $738,000 to create one job. Resources were taken from the private sector, and inefficiently placed in the public sector, which costs our economy jobs overall. We can see that any “recovery” was just an immediate sugar high that is now dying down, and we are left in a worsening situation, years down the road.

Obama had a chance to take this economy by the reigns and get it back on track, but he did not. His most promising proposals are beginning to be exposed as cheap tricks to get him past the next election. And just a reminder, the sequestration is only cutting $85,000,000,000 this year. Last year’s deficit was $1,100,000,000,000. The U.S. currently has $16,000,000,000,000 worth of debt. Someday, probably not too long from now, the government will run out of money to fund their liabilities. Spending will need to be cut somewhere, because even a 100% tax rate couldn’t pay off all our debts. If money is printed to cover the costs, then massive inflation will reduce the value of our savings, and make it hard to afford basic necessities.

Every time we kick the can down the road, it means it is going to hurt that much more when the bills come due. We could probably still avert disaster, but not by pretending a mere $85 billion in cuts will solve our problems. And if the first thing to get cut is air traffic controller jobs instead of the white house calligraphy office, we can see the utter disregard by our elected officials for a solution. Our problems are much deeper than sequestration, and it is only a matter of time until our chickens come home to roost.

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