Wednesday, August 3, 2011

FAA employees are laid off while Congress is on vacation - tell me this is right!

Congress is on vacation. Senators and representatives went home to be with their families, enjoy the summer and raise some money for their campaigns. They continue to collect their pay checks, their travel expenses are paid, their health insurance is covered and their office expense fund continues to pay for who knows what more.

The members of congress went on vacation while 4,000 FAA workers and thousands more that work on construction projections around the country are laid off or are forced on furlough. The FAA also could lose more than a billion dollars in taxes – just so you can have a good idea of the amount of a billion dollars, here is the number: $1,000,000,000. The amount of loss in tax revenue doesn’t include the unemployment payments that the FAA and construction workers will be collecting.

I hope the 535 members of congress are enjoying their time off. I doubt that the 4,000 FAA workers are enjoying their vacation because they don’t have a pay check. No health insurance if anything happens to them or their kids. There might be a few mortgage payments missed. This time of year, kids that are going to college need to purchase books. Sorry kids, congress went on vacation and didn’t pay their bills.

The fight that went on with the debt limit is similar to the fight that is happening with the FAA financing. Some members of congress would like to stop federal payments to rural airports. The payments help keep the cost of commuter flights to major hubs down to something that is affordable. Those members think that it would save about a billion dollars – remember that number from above? That is the amount that the United States has lost in tax revenue because 535 people thought it was more important to go on vacation then to keep 4,000 people employed. It is fair to debate the continuation of subsidizing rural airports for the commuter flights. So, can’t that portion of the funding bill for the FAA be separated from the overall bill?

There is a group in congress that will not compromise on anything to get their way. Kids play like that when they are raised as spoiled little brats. The members of this group are mostly backed by the Tea Party. Instead of a compromise to keep people working and keep collecting taxes, the no-compromise group would not even consider short term legislation to keep people on the job for another month while they sorted it all out.

I hope that the members of congress who allowed this to happen are enjoying their iced tea on the porch during the hot summer. If it is too warm for them outside, they can step inside of their homes and country clubs with the air conditioning on high. That should relieve them of any memory of 4,000 people that are out of work.

If you want to make change, work for it. But, to force change while honest, hard working people are suffering is wrong.

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