|A photo from the Laredo Air Force Base (now the Laredo International|
Airport) control tower in the early 1970's. Photo courtesy of
Frank Vida, a former USAF air traffic controller at the base.
Yes folks, you read it, a budget line shift within the U.S. DOT. It is all that is needed. No tax increase, no borrowing, no extra spending. Only a transfer of funds that will be taken from, obviously, budget lines that are not critical to the operation of the U.S. DOT.
As I, and many others have said all along, the sequester, which came out of the White House and voted for by both parties, became what President Obama believed would be a wedge issue for the 2014 mid-term elections.
The President is losing the blame game he is so famous for on this issue. In fact, his desire to inflict pain on the American public to prove a political point and then blame Republicans is at best disgusting, and politically impeachable. In all my adult years of living with various Presidents, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Regan, Bush, Clinton, and GW Bush, never did one of them ever willfully wish to inflict pain on the American people to try to prove a political point.
Don't believe me. Read this Washington Post article about an administration email to the US Department of Agriculture.
I take you back to a CNN interview of Ray LaHood, the departing U.S. Secretary of Transportation. This interview was conducted in February 2013. These notes are from Newsbusters .
CANDY CROWLEY, HOST: As far as we can figure out, the FAA budget - we're not even talking about the transportation - is about $15 billion give or take. They’re going to have to cut $600 million, about 4 percent. Why is that enough to cause planes to be delayed for an hour and a half? There surely must be things inside the FAA budget where can you get rid of 4 percent.
RAY LAHOOD, TRANSPORTATION SECRETARY: And we’re going to do that, Candy. We have been spending the last several months looking at, and we will really focus on this now, every contract to see what penalties we might have to take. We’re going to cancel contracts. We’re going to look at everything we possibly can to get to where we need to be, which is about $600 million in cuts, but we can't do it without also furloughing people. And we’re going to have to, the largest number of people…
CROWLEY: 4 percent is just, that's a very big budget. And let me add something else. A Republican from Capitol Hill in the leadership office messaged and said, listen, the budget committee took a look at some of these numbers, and they found post-sequester, your post-sequester total at FAA ops and facilities and equipment is going to be about $500 million more than 2008 and the planes were running just fine. So, what's, I'm trying to figure out, as you know, people are saying the administration is exaggerating this. So, if you're going to be having totals inflation-adjusted at 2008 levels, why all of this [unintelligible] oh my goodness, all the planes are going to be late?
LAHOOD: Well first of all, we're required to cut $1 billion. The largest number of employees at DOT is at FAA of which the largest number are FAA controllers. We're going to try and cut as much as we possibly can out of contracts and other things that we do. But in the end there has to be some kind of furlough of air traffic controllers. And that, then, will also begin to curtail or eliminate the opportunity for them to guide planes in and out of airports. It's a big part of our budget.
Watch Crowley's response:
CROWLEY: Is it true that domestic flights are down 27 percent from pre-9/11 levels and the budget at the FAA is up 41 percent?
LAHOOD: Well, look. We know that airlines have consolidated. We've approved some of those consolidations. And in doing that, you know, a certain …
CROWLEY: There's less traffic.
LAHOOD: There's less traffic, of course.
CROWLEY: But more budget.
LAHOOD: Well, look, budgets go up and down, but the bottom line here is that there is sequester required. It's required by law. It means we have to make these cuts. This not stuff that we just decided to make up.
CROWLEY: No, I understand. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that people think, wait a minute, there surely has to be money that you can take, and you say you're going to look at it, without having to have delayed flights. And the idea is that this was kind of ginned up by the administration, and not just you, but, you know, aircraft carriers can't go here and there to try to put pressure on Congress.
I believe what Secretary LaHood wanted to say was; "Look Candy, the President does not want us to look for cuts that make sense. This whole thing is about winning a very important election for the President's legacy. The American people should shut up, and let this play out, blame the Republicans like they have been trained to do, and elect enough Democrats to give the President the House and Senate. Then, the President can lead us truly to the promised land."
And, I believe, he would further state; "So Candy, quit trying to tell the American public that there is plenty of money in our budget to keep the planes flying safely. It does not matter that our budget is up 41% since 9-11. It does not matter that there are fewer planes flying now than back then. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT MATTER. What matters is the President's agenda."