Lesson in politics from Washington
Who says politicians never get anything done?
No one in Washington seemed to care about the so-called sequester cuts until core constituents — people with sufficient resources to buy plane tickets — were impacted, and when they started squawking about all the flight delays stemming from furloughs in airport control towers, the politicians moved with uncharacteristic speed.
Certainly nothing like that occurred earlier this year when the first of the $85 billion in automatic budget cuts started working their way through the system. That’s because the people largely affected by the cuts — mostly poor, sick, young or old Americans — don’t resonate with politicians the way middle- and upper-income consumers do.
There’s also the fact that the legislators were themselves set to be impacted by the control tower logjams if they didn’t remedy the situation by last weekend: Many were heading home on recess via airplane.
While it’s clear the Federal Aviation Administration could have been more flexible in meeting the budget-cutting mandate, Republicans who blame the Obama administration for intentionally exacerbating the delays so as to maximize the political impact of the cuts are also guilty of grandstanding. Government services are costly, most are worth paying for, and cuts — whether they affect rich, poor or in between — are painful. But it shouldn’t be just those that hurt the rich and in between that get politicians’ attention.