Remember about three weeks ago when an internal government memo directing employees to make the sequestration “cuts” as painful as possible was discovered? That specific memo was directed towards the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and specified that “… it is our opinion that however you manage that reduction, you need to make sure you are not contradicting what we said the impact would be.” The impact of course, was that funding for fish inspections would have to be cut; therefore, rather than finding other ways to cut the budget in order to eliminate the impact on food inspection, the agency was directed to cut the funding regardless.
One would think that given the backlash the administration received when the memo was released (not to mention for the general good of the country), that strategy would be walked back. Unfortunately, with the President Petulant running the administration, that hasn’t been the case, and it seems like they’ve ratcheted up on making the budget cuts “as panful as possible.” Not only have tours of the White House been canceled, it looks like the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll will also be a sequestration “casualty.”
While these events are certainly traditional and it is a shame that they have/may be canceled, to be fair, they don’t really affect public safety. However, as Jazz Shaw notes over at Hot Air, it looks like an issue directly relating to public safety is the latest pawn in the White House strategy: namely, the closing of 149 region airport control towers. Given that the “cuts” amount to a little more than $600 million of a $62 billion budget, he wonders if there’s not something afoot with the closures:
They need to cut $637M out of their budget, but how big is that budget? And how big of a percentage would you need to slash before you just start shutting down towers? Doug Mataconis thinks there might be a little more to see here than just red and black numbers on a balance sheet. Could it be… politics?
In fact, Jazz thinks that there could be even more in play than making the “cuts” painful:
I’m not doubting that for a moment, but somehow I think there’s yet another layer to this onion. It’s not just the number of towers being shut down, but which specific ones. And more to the point… who works there. When you scan down the list of closures, these are all towers which are managed and staffed by private contractors. Not one of them is staffed up by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association union. That’s something of a remarkable coincidence, isn’t it? Maybe not.
The union workers will be forced to take off one day without pay every two weeks, which spreads the pain around a little but their jobs and their towers aren’t going away. And leave it to public sector unions to find a way to wring a silver (or green) lining out of any dark cloud. Assume there is some sort of public outcry this year after a couple of regional jets clip wings on the runways of some municipal airports. At that point, Washington gets the excuse they need to staff at least some of the towers back up. Will they go back to the private contractors, or will the unions move in with their “much more efficient” practices.
Yeah, who am I kidding? They’re more interested in trying to destroy Republicans than doing what’s best for the nation.