ProPublica has a good comprehensive piece on why parts of the FAA are shut down:
While lawmakers deadlock over long-term deficit reduction plans tied to the raising of the debt ceiling, one federal agency—the Federal Aviation Administration—has been in partial shutdown for nearly a week. Last week, Congress adjourned on Friday without reaching an agreement to extend the operating authority of the FAA, meaning the agency currently doesn’t have the authority to collect taxes on ticket sales, which it uses to pay some 4,000 employees’ salaries. The lost revenue amounts to about $200 million a week.
Initial reports suggested that minus the ticket taxes,consumers could reap some savings on air travel—and some may have at first. But some airlines soon changed their minds and raised their prices so tickets now cost about as much as if the tax were still there. In other words, money that would have gone to funding the FAA has gone straight into the pockets of some major U.S. airlines.
As a result, thousands of workers have been furloughed and may not get paid for days missed. And without FAA officials to oversee airport construction projects, the agency has issued stop-work orders to more than 150 projects across the country, putting thousands more private-sector construction workers temporarily out of work as well.
Several minor disputes have led to this impasse. The first is an industry-backed provision by House Republicans that would make it harder for aviation and railroad workers to unionize, essentially by counting workers who didn’t vote in a union election as having voted against the union. President Obama has threatened to veto any FAA bill containing this measure, but it’s included in the House version of the bill anyway. The second dispute is over a program—called the Essential Air Service Program—that provides subsidies to airlines that fly into tiny airports servicing more than 100 rural communities. House Republicans have tried to reduce those subsidies and phase them out in all states except for Alaska and Hawaii. The move has been opposed by some lawmakers whose states’ subsidies will be ended.
It’s worth noting that the Government Accountability Office has recommended that Congress reexamine whether funds for the Essential Air Service Program are being used efficiently. But it’s also unclear whether the lawmakers who’ve proposed cutting the program care much about it one way or the other. Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican and chairman of the House Transportation committee, assured a conference of airport executives earlier this month that the House added the provision as a bargaining chip to win concessions on the unionization issue, reported Aviation Week. “It’s just a tool,” Mica told the executives.
Thousands of public sector workers on furlough, thousands of private-sector construction workers laid off, and this congressional campaign to destroy labor unions is costing us all 30 million dollars a day.
Maybe John’s mom can fix this.
The whole thing about Republicans now is power politics, and only power politics.
With McConnell insisting on a filibuster, it’s clear that, again, they are using the pretext of the debt ceiling to break Obama, and his chance for a 2nd term, no matter the consequences.
From Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, every Rethug is in on the gag – to break workers, dominate power by any legal (and somtimes not so legal) tactic available. Repeated at the national level, by willing to risk – and willing to cause – another recession.
While we bicker about what Obama ‘should have’ done, these crook are playing hardball politics, by whatever means necessary.
Hah! Did she fix the reply button? That was nice of her. I just assumed it was gone for good.
What a sweet deal for the industry, by the way. They get the ticket tax that used to go the FAA, and they have a Florida GOP rep personally committed to busting unions on their behalf.
How much do you think they bought him for? Maybe 30k? Good investment!
In MI Gov. Snyder’s approval has fallen 25 points since the election, the most of any new governor. There’s a strong petition drive on and I’ve signed.
I hate the idea of a fix-up election to correct mistakes. can’t we get it right the first time?
For the Republicans and the Tea Party people, this is a bargain.
Davis X. Machina
“I’m just a tool,” Mica told the executives.
Editing has gone to shit in this country.
well, you know the history between republicans and airport unions…
every house republican sees himself the apostle of saint ronald, and that’s before big business sends its labor crushing squads into the room.
I haven’t read anything at all on the Michigan recall effort. I’d be interested in that. If there’s a good liberal (Michigan) blog you can point me to, I’d appreciate it. I like to read commentary from the people actually working on the Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan recalls.
Ohio issue recall looks good, so far, from what I’ve seen and heard.
BTW, the budget dispute is over $16M (Republicans want it, Dems want to cut it – rural air support). So, in order to get their $16M, the GOP is willing to kill $200M per week in revenues.
They really are a suicide cult.
Kay: Check out Michigan Liberal.
I will, thanks.
… costing us all 30 million dollars a day.
That’s a bonus in their minds.
Fuck America, yeah!
Michigan Liberal is one to watch. Here’s a GOS article about the recall.
@Martin: $184m* in the midst of a so-called fiscal crisis is a small price to pay to get the damn proles free time to read Ayn Rand.
ETA: *184 a week? I don’t know the time frame with the 16m you’re talking about.
(That’s my new theory. Republicans are just super dedicated to sharing The Good News. By keeping people out of work, they have time to read the Gospel According To St. Ayn. This is particularly effective with those pesky minorities who don’t understand Republicans are their friends. With unemployment among them even worse, they have that much better a chance to accept John Galt into their hearts.)
I miss the good old days when unions would at least attempt to put the hurt on these scumsucking moneysharks.
Nothing that a 2×4 in a dark alley couldn’t solve.
Baucus was on the floor the other day pleading for funds for the airport at Glendive. He says it is needed because the energy business is booming there. Google maps says Glendive to Billings is 3 1/2 hours. I think there is a decent airport at Billings. I drive 2 hours to NWArkansas Regional and close to 3 1/2 hours if I fly out of Tulsa. My brother told me that the feds subsidize an airport in Nevada at the rate of $1000 per passenger. This is not about flights for medical emergencies, but commercial flights.
Last week I was sent the ballot for voting on our new union contract. For 4 years we get no raises. It’s really nothing new. Our share of paying for health insurance will be raised. This usually happens whenever we get a raise. IOW the raise usually amounts to 0. What’s really new is a 9 day furlough without pay and not able to cover it with time accrued. I know a lot who voted no and I was one of them. Still it will probably pass.
@Davis X. Machina: Dang, you beat me to it!
This is nothing new. Look at their behavior during the Clinton Administration. Just about everything they did was about power politics rather than governance. If there’s a big difference today, it’s that they’re either more willing to admit it or worse at hiding it.
@nancydarling: There are 4 Arkansas airports in the program.
I’m somewhat torn on this one. I don’t mind rural transport being subsidized, but this may be a subsidy that is going to only a small population subset of rural communities that can afford to fly.
$200 million a week.
$200M x 52 = $10B/yr.
that’s a lot of new deficit the GOP is making.
Mr Stagger Lee
I got a stupid Wingnut UPS Delivery driver, who would cheer at the demise of so much “production”. As a matter of fact he does not care if so many jobs are outsourced so as long as taxes are lowered and the rich get richer, and if the American people are reduced to penury, f–k it. And yet he thinks his UPS Delivery union job won’t be affected.
I’m withholding my judgment of the airlines on this until I hear if they’ll have to pay back taxes once it’s sorted out. If so, then they are being proactive in continuing to collect the funds until a renewal is passed.
I don’t think I could come up with a $16 million a year subsidy I hate so much that I’d rather give up $200 million a week. We’re talking about a subsidy that is covered by half the revenues of a single day.
Mr. Stagger Lee @ 24:
Just wait until UPS decides to lower labor costs. I can foresee a day when instead of residential delivery, they drop your packages at a “central” spot that is 2-5 miles from your house, and you get to pick it up. They’ll trumpet it as “lowering your costs”, and it may, temporarily, then will go back up. And we’ll all get used to having to chase around & add another errand to our days. We’re already trained to bag & carry our own groceries, bus tables, etc. Why not keep cutting customer service until people complain?
@efgoldman: I wish cleek would’ve used some al-jebra in there. That’s way more fun to mock than plain ole’ multiplication.
@PeakVT: I did a back of the envelope calculation from wiki figures and what my brother told me. He says 6 people/day fly out of Ely on commercial flights. That means each of those passengers is receiving a subsidy of $800. Reduce that by half if the same # fly in.
I also noted that Harrison,AR receives over a million per annum. They are 1/2 hour further from NWArkansas regional than I am. Harrison is also about 1 1/2 hours from Springfield, MO. which is not subsidized. I suspect that private aviation is the biggest beneficiary of these subsidies with the up-grades they bring.
You are right, Peak, that a very small subset of the population where I live ever flies at all. Median income is around $22,000 in Arkansas so those folks aren’t flying much.
@Nylund: The total non-Alaska subsidy is $170M/yr, though it’s not clear from the ProPublica article if the entire amount is at risk. But the Republicans main goal is union-busting. Mica said cuts to the program are just a
They’re already trying to do this by making home delivery as obnoxious as possible. Many packages now require signature in person but can only be delivered during business hours when most people are at work. Their suggested solution to their inability to deliver efficiently to residential customers is for people to pay them for a box at The UPS Store.
@Nylund: The total subsidy, excluding Alaska, is over 170 million. Add over 12 million more for AK.
When we are talking trillions, this doesn’t seem like much. It is another instance of wealth producing states (generally Blue) subsidizing poorer states (generally Red). I am torn on the issue also; and to add insult to injury, as my brother said, “They turn around and send tea party mother fuckers to Congress.”
@cckids: Many online retailers are already doing this if they have a store also. I can order and have it shipped to the store and pay 0 for shipping if I pick it up there. I like it because if I don’t like it, or it doesn’t fit, the return is free too.
Us tech guys just work from home on those days. Yay for IT.
I guess unemployed people are home a lot, too, so UPS is benefitting from the bad economy.
@efgoldman: Wait a sec… “Maths?” That doesn’t sound Real American ™!
Funny you mention this. The shift of labor from the business to the consumer that it ostensibly serves is a key component in what sociologist George Ritzer calls the “McDonaldization” of society. He presents this idea more comprehensively in his book, which is really readable and worth checking out.
This is a good point, and the only thing that keeps me from screaming bloody murder.
@PeakVT: I just talked to my brother and he said those monies listed on the wiki page you linked are paid directly to the airlines that service these small airports. API (airport improvement) funds are separate from the passenger subsidies and runs about 2B/year.
@nancydarling: That’s what I figured, since individual airlines are listed. Also not a problem, in principle, though some of the airlines receiving funds are probably also supporting the anti-union measure holding up the FAA bill.
Cutting the Essential Air Services program will just devastate rural areas of the country, including mine.
One hour to a hub would become eight.
James E. Powell
When has the Republican Party been anything but against higher wages, better benefits, worker safety, workers’ rights against unfair employment practices and discrimination based on age, race, sex, sexual orientation, and so on? When has the Republican Party worked for anyone but bosses?
Famous quote/story, perhaps apocryphal:
That bully pulpit that is so often mocked around here? This is where and how it comes into play. If the president of the United States is consistently and insistently explaining the consequences of Republican policies to working people, and constant insisting that working people are more important than rich people, and saying so to the point of hurting the wounded pride of rich people, then working people will begin to believe that he, and not the Republicans, actually gives a shit about them.
No one listening to president Obama for the last two years could honestly mistake him for a Republican. But the same honest person would have a very hard time figuring out exactly what and for whom president Obama is ready to fight.
Commenting at Ballon Juice since 1937
This is the jobs bill the Republicans have been promising? Government doesn’t create jobs but it certainly can destroy them.
If everyone quit working for a week or two do you think the people that govern over us would get a message????
If true, that tells us something interesting about elasticity.
thx kay. love your work