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The Sequester Isn’t Hurting Air Travel After All

From the Politico:

Sequestration: Cuts’ slow rollout yields no-quester for travelers

By KATHRYN A. WOLFE and BURGESS EVERETT | March 31, 2013

More than a month after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned of “calamity” in the skies, travelers are still flying. Airlines aren’t yet canceling flights. And there’s no sign of the long lines the Obama administration warned everyone to expect when automatic spending cuts hit March 1.

What happened? The much-feared budget ax is turning out to be a slow-rolling series of snips, with effects that have been much more gradual or modest than projected.

Airlines have yet to suspend or cancel flights in response to the cuts, even though LaHood predicted during a White House appearance Feb. 22 that they would do so “within the next 30 days.”

In fact, there have been not even been any reported airport delays, even though we have just had a very big travel period, with Spring Break and Easter.

Meanwhile, far fewer airport control towers are facing potential closures than the 238 that the Federal Aviation Administration warned about in February. Only 24 towers — in places like Olathe, Kan., and Gig Harbor, Wash. — are in the first batch set to lose all their FAA funding on April 7. Dozens more will follow through early May, but local or state funding will keep some of those towers operating indefinitely.

Funny how we never heard that these control towers could get other funding before now.

The alarms about air travel are a prime example of how the White House "badly miscalculated" its rollout of the sequester, House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) said.

They understimated how much they could hurt the American people with their bogus ‘cuts.’

He reserved particular ire for suggestions that the administration instructed agencies not to prepare until almost the bitter end, then pulled out a megaphone to broadcast impending doom.

LoBiondo said: “People can come to their own conclusion, but I’m not sure [President Barack Obama] wants a solution on this, the way he’s been handling it." …

Rep. LoBiondo is not the only one catching on.

LaHood’s rare February appearance in the White House press room was a key part of the sequester strategy for the administration, which wanted Congress to replace some of the budget cuts with tax increases on the wealthy…

Which is what this was always all about. Trying to use the pain of the sequester to get the public to demand more tax increases on the so-called wealthy.

His words hit an immediate nerve with local and regional media outlets as he warned that airport control towers were on the chopping block — “We’re talking about places like Boca Raton, Fla.; Joplin, Mo.; Hilton Head, S.C.; and San Marcos, Texas.”

And as furloughs reduce FAA staff in the remaining control towers, airlines would inevitably have to start paring their schedules, LaHood said. “There’s no question they’re going to have to restrict some of the flights,” he said.

The resulting newspaper stories and TV spots reached eyeballs across the country with the message that the sequester was going to mess up Americans’ travel plans.

But in fact, major airlines haven’t yet reduced flights and don’t plan to do so, said Jean Medina, a spokeswoman for the industry group Airlines for America.

“A4A member airlines have no plans to cancel or suspend flights or operations as a result of the FAA’s announcement,” Medina said in an email Wednesday. “We continue to work cooperatively with the FAA to minimize any impact to the 2 million customers and 50,000 tons of cargo our members fly every day.”

The airlines have to try to accommodate their customers. Unlike government bureaucracies.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano also helped spread the administration’s message. Ten days after the LaHood briefing, she said the cuts were already wreaking havoc.

“We are already seeing the effects on the ports of entry, the big airports for example,” Napolitano said at a POLITICO policy discussion March 4. She said some lines were “150 [percent] to 200 percent as long as we would normally expect.”

Imagine ‘Big Sis’ lying like that.

Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), a former Transportation chairman who now heads a panel with broad government oversight, panned Napolitano’s warnings.

“She has been irresponsible in both her comments and inability to properly manage DHS and TSA,” Mica said in an email…

Well, it’s not as if she was picked for her job due to any competence.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Monday, April 1st, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

One Response to “The Sequester Isn’t Hurting Air Travel After All”

  1. mr_bill

    nerobama’s regime will have to work harder to make the sequester cuts more “visible” to the public. After all, this administration is all about “optics.”

    The adminstration’s problems are compounded by the fact that his supporters aren’t the sort of people who travel for business, care about illegal immigration, or give a damn about our troops. The sequester cuts are especially invisible to just the folks nerobama wants to get fired up, the people for whom class warfare is a way of life. If he wants his supporters to get upset about sequester cuts, he’s going to have to start cutting the things that are near and dear to him and his supporters, things like 2 years of unemployment, sex changes for the indigent, duck penis research grants, needle exchanges, etc.


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