Tag Archives: deficit reduction

Today in Ridiculous: New Bill to End Flight Delays!

26 Apr

Hear ye! Hear ye! Read all about it!  Today, the day before the Senate leaves town for a week, they did the unthinkable: they passed a bill.  Unanimously.  What did they pass, you might ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  As the title of this blog suggests, they passed a new bill to end flight delays.  Oh, thank god.  Seriously, you guys, that is like the most pressing issue I could possibly imagine.  On time flights for all!

Okay so listen.  There was this one time when I was going to visit my extra-super-awesome friend Meredith in Portland, Oregon in like, I don’t know, 2008?  So long ago.  I had been working at a restaurant in the West Village where my schedule was as follows: Thursday, Friday, Saturday nights 6pm-2am or later if needed, Sunday, Monday nights 4pm-12am, or later if needed, and Tuesday lunch, 10:30am to 4pm.  At the same time I was training for a marathon and had speed workouts on Wednesday nights and long training runs on Saturday mornings.  Needless to say I had very little “me” time.  I was very excited for my 4-day Portland adventure, which I had scheduled months in advance.  The day of the trip I traveled, by subway, to JFK to catch my nonstop flight to Portland.  Upon arrival, I was informed that my flight had been cancelled due to “lack of crew.”  Um, what? Instead, they flew me to Washington, DC to catch a connecting flight to Portland.  Fine.  When I arrived in DC they told me there was no flight to Portland, so I would have to spend the night in DC, fly to Chicago the next day and then on to Portland from there.  I would arrived at 4pm on Saturday, about 32 hours after I walked out the front door of my apartment building in Brooklyn.  Not going to work.  I asked the lady if I could just fly back to New York and change my trip.  No, because, somehow, flying to DC because the company had fucked up and then, as a result, flying back to New York would have used up the tickets I bought plus my free ticket and so I would have basically just flown to and from DC just for fun.*  Finally, after much attitude on the part of me, she got me on a flight to San Francisco for that night. I would then spend the night in San Fran at the airline’s expense, and then fly on to Portland the next morning. I would arrive there at 10am.  Twenty-six hours after leaving my house.  I took it, but not after I gave the lady a piece of my mind which resulted in me getting escorted out of the line by security.  It was not my finest moment.

Anyway, that whole experience sucked.  (The trip to Portland was, as expected, so great! I want to go back!  Meredith, when can I come back?!) Anyway, so I get it, flight delays are awful.  But seriously?  THIS is the thing we are so excited about?  That the Senate managed to pass a bill to “ease impacts of cuts on air traffic?”  Okay, so let me just give you a couple of really fun little quotes from this article I read in, where else, The New York Times.**

Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, said “I am so happy that we were able to work together across the aisle in a bipartisan way to solve this problem.  It’s nice to know when we work together we can really solve problems.”

I just have to say that I am pretty sure that I learned the lesson of working together in like, kindergarten, but some people just take a little longer.  Also, I would just like to say that cuts to air traffic control that results in flight delays certainly results in inconveniences but I would hardly call this a problem.  Problems, to me, are cuts to education, to social security, to infrastructure development and maintenance.  You know, stuff like that.  But what do I know.

And Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, had these words: “At some point, we have to admit the best thing is to find another $2 trillion in debt reduction by looking at revenue, closing some loopholes and bringing down the debt with some spending cuts, but not ones like this.”

Oh, no, not cuts like that!  Never cuts like that!  I mean, cuts to air traffic control is totally insane and I can’t believe we ever in a million years thought about doing it, let alone actually did it.  I know!  Let’s take money from other parts of the transportation budget and just, you know, move it to air traffic.  Like, let’s not invest in high speed rail.  That was a dumb idea, anyway.***

Then there’s this. Republicans are accusing the Obama administration of “mismanagement of the cuts, at best and intentional infliction of pain at worst” (emphasis mine).  And then also, this: “Republicans — and some Democrats — have been pushing for much of the month for a rescue of the air traffic control system, charging that President Obama was intentionally extracting maximum pain on the traveling public to illustrate the costs of the cuts, called sequestration.”

I know that last paragraph is redundant but I feel like if The Times can have both those sentences in one article, so can I.  Anyway, here’s the thing.  Maybe the Senate wants to prove to the American public that, after the debacle involving the failure of the background check bill which 90% of the population supported yet still couldn’t get through the Senate because Senators are “doing what their constituents want” (!!!!!) that it can actually accomplish something.  Well done, Senate, you get a gold star.  But give me a break.  I mean, sure, when I fly I want on-time departure and on-time arrival.  I think we all do.  But let’s not act as though we are solving some huge, life-shaking issue.  Let’s not be so sensationalist that we start talking about how Obama is intentionally fucking with your life, travelers, to show you that spending cuts suck. What this is to me is the whining of a bunch of people in the leisure class who are pissed that their lives are inconvenienced by something that they themselves pushed for.  They wanted spending cuts, they just didn’t want it to impact them.  So why don’t we go ahead and solve this problem and let all our spending cuts occur on the backs of the poor.  So carry on, travel class!  We’ll get this economy back on track but don’t worry, you won’t feel a thing.

*I was young and stupid back then and didn’t know the full potential of letter writing.  If this happened today, I would write the shit out of some letters (and, obviously, post them here).

**I know it might not seem like it but I do, in fact, read things other than The Times.  I read The New Yorker.  Also, books.  Also, all of the comments written on that grumpy cat internet meme.  I want that cat.

***I don’t know that this is where the money is actually coming from but I am feeling especially snarky this morning so, whatever.