With the debt limit debate, Washington has recently taken on a new level of dysfunction. The Federal Aviation Administration’s impasse brilliantly illustrates how ridiculous the situation now is.
As I understand it, the argument between Republicans and Democrats stems from a $200 Million a year subsidy to 13 rural airports.
By the politicians not reaching an agreement and going off on vacation, the shutdown is costing the federal government around $200 Million per week in passenger ticket taxes that can no longer be collected.
You read that right. The money that the politicians are arguing over has already been lost. This is how pointless the debate is.
The US could lose upwards of $1 billion in all of this. Take away the “window dressing” figure of $2.1 trillion in cuts that the recent debt deal apparently achieved. Short term, over the next two years, we’re talking around $20 billion in cuts. And a Congress, so apparently worried about deficit reduction, is currently on its way to wasting a billion dollars.
The same Congress that tells us it is so worried about jobs. 4000 FAA employees are currently on a leave of absence due to the partial shutdown, while 70,000 construction workers have been laid off in the middle of construction season.
It is not as if the FAA is not vital – there is the small matter of airline safety, as written about in the Daily Beast today [link].
America is a great country. Americans deserve more than having to vote in 2012 for the politician and the party that has irritated them the least.