There has been a slew of reports in national media – print, electronic and social – in recent days about the politicization of budget cuts coming out of Washington. One in particular caught our attention, and that dealt with flight delays (departures and arrivals, naturally) as a result of the furloughing of air traffic controllers.
It should be noted that while travelers were cooling their heels – and presumably trying to stifle their rising tempers on long layovers in overcrowded departure lounges – at many major airports, the U.S. Dept. of Transportation announced a $474-million grant program that promises to “make communities more livable and sustainable.”
That’s. Just. Dandy.
We can cut highly trained and supervised staff, whose responsibility it is to keep the friendly skies all the more friendly, and foist upon the remaining personnel and supervisors an increased burden of undertaking even a larger part of one of the most stressful jobs known to man. But, hey, when there’s a chance to dump hundreds of millions of dollars into “sustainability,” well, that seems to be a no-brainer – for the brainless in Washington.
It seriously continues to amaze us that not too many have vigorously spoken out about the furloughs. Think of it this way: Would you want yourself or your loved one strapped into a jetliner traveling at 400-plus miles per hour under the “watchful” eyes of an overstressed, exhausted ATC employee? We know the answer, but we had to ask. To us, it’s really frightening. Until the staffing levels have been brought back to realistic levels – sorry, airlines – we’re not going to travel by air; it’s all road trips until then.
By the way, did anyone on Capitol Hill or in the White House administration even suggest cutting President Barack Obama’s golf fees from the budget? Didn’t think so.