How the Sequester Makes Flying Even Worse
Starting this past Sunday the Federal Aviation Administration was forced to start furloughing air traffic controllers. What happens when there’s not enough air traffic controllers working? Not as many planes can be in the air. What happens when fewer planes can be in the air? Your flight gets delayed.
After yesterday, we know the impact of the furloughs isn’t just theoretical. Overall on-time performance dropped by more than 10 percent compared to the previous Monday. Delays were particularly bad in the Northeast, where delays at some airports stretched past 2 hours. Yesterday, it was actually faster to take the train from New York to Washington D.C.
Things are only going to get worse the next time there’s another big storm or other event causing mass delays. With fewer flights and planes flying at near-capacity as it is, it will be all the more difficult to get things back on track if there aren’t enough air traffic controllers working to help clear some of the backlog of flights.
Let’s also take a minute to review why this is happening in the first place: we had to create the sequester because Republicans took the entire economy hostage in 2011. Republicans then refused for nearly two years now to accept a balanced approach that asks the wealthy and corporations to pay their fair share. Thus we are stuck with the sequester until Republicans stop being intransigent and start being reasonable. In fact, now House Republicans won’t even appoint negotiators to finalize a budget for next year — after complaining for years that the Senate refused to pass a budget.
Finally, while flight delays are inconvenient and will harm the economy, the sequester is already having a terrible impact on the poor.
BOTTOM LINE: If your flight is delayed because of the sequester cuts, you should remember who is to blame: Republicans who refuse to accept a balanced approach to deficit reduction and instead prefer sticking Americans with the sequester and all of its negative consequences.
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