Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FAA authorization?

Lost in the sound and fury over the debt limit is an interesting sidelight. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) authorization ran out last Friday. There was a dispute over $16 million in funding for "rural airports" and unionization of federal workers. The TV newsies did not say just who was in favor of what, but we can guess. Any how no compromise was reached and the authorization ran out.
So the FAA furloughed 4000 bureaucrats. The air traffic controllers were classified as "essential personnel" so they are on the job and the planes are flying. The Newshour had Ray Lahood, transportation secretary on last night. When asked what the 4000 laid off bureaucrats used to do, he mumbled "nextgen" and "improve the FAA". In short, they drew their pay but were not doing anything essential. Four thousand bureaucrats cost $400 billion a year, or $4 trillion over 10 years. Jeeze, just leaving them laid of would give a enough spending reduction to satisfy demands for spending cuts to cover a debt limit increase.

And the authorization to collect a 10% tax on tickets expired, which is a windfall to the airlines. They pocketed the money and didn't reduce air fares at all.

All and all, let's leave the FAA un authorized.

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