FAA Air Traffic Control Furlough Announcement is, hopefully, a Washington Monument Tactic!

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ARTICLE: A glance at how administration says automatic budget cuts would diminish government services


The Fiscal Cliff story has been carefully followed here (for more than six months through more than 10 stories; the latest) because of the obvious safety implications. The linked story from the  Washington Post includes the following section specifically identifying the “proposed” impact on the FAA:

“Transportation: The Federal Aviation Administration plans to furlough most of its 47,000 employees, including air traffic controllers, for an average of 11 days, with most furloughs probably over the summer. FAA Administrator Michael Huerta told employees in a letter this week that while the furloughs can be managed safely, ‘We might see travel delays and disruptions during the critical summer travel season.’ ” [emphasis added]

Hopefully, the mention of the air traffic controllers’ furlough is a Washington Monument tactic!

That is a well-known political response by an executive agency to a proposed Congressional cut (Cox, Wendell (2002-06-25). “Blackmail StrategyNational Review Online). It is alleged that US Parks Service hearing of the threat of a budget reduction would close the Washington Monument. The tourists who could not enjoy visiting one of DC’s biggest attractions would continue up their planned route up the Mall to visit their Congressperson or Senator. In the 0:30 seconds allotted to a picture of the constituents’ shaking the hand of their elected representative, the folks from home would complain vehemently about the inability to climb the Washington Monument. The Park Service’s budget would be immediately restored.

Administrator Huerta, it is hoped, has greater discretion than an across-the-board staff reduction. He must be able to proportion the furloughs to the safety impact. That approach, for example, would give him greater latitude to limit cuts in air traffic and to lean, unfortunately but necessarily, more heavily on the discretionary functions.

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