What the FAA’ck! Do your jobs, Congress, and learn how to multi-task! You’ve been so obsessed with partisan bickering over the debt ceiling that you failed to re-authorize the Federal Aviation Administration before leaving for August recess. In doing so, the United States may lose $1.2 billion in uncollected ticket taxes, over the next five weeks…. Not to mention the loss in earnings to 70,000 laid off construction workers and 4,000 furloughed FAA employees.
The FAA stalemate is due mainly to Republican wish-list cuts of $16.5 million in subsidies to 13 rural airports. The subsidy was created after the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978 to ensure that remote communities would still have airline access regardless of profitability. In some cases the subsidy amounts to $3700 per ticket at its high, $9 at its low. The entire cost of the rural airport subsidy is roughly $200 million. Republicans object not only to the subsidy, but also to a provision allowing for easier unionization of airline workers, and thus are not willing to re-authorize the FAA.
The FAA has lacked a long-term funding bill since 2007, and has since operated through a series of 20 short-term extensions… yes, that’s right– 4 years ago! So much for fiscal responsibility! So much for job creation and shovel-ready projects! We can’t even keep the jobs we already have authorized, or collect the airline taxes the government is already owed! The ongoing debt ceiling and FAA debacles AND myriad other examples of bureaucratic bullshit should teach us at least one thing— we are sooo FAA’cked!