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FAA To Close Control Towers At 149 Regional Airports

The Federal Aviation Administration is closing a large number of control towers due, it claims, to the sequester cuts:

Washington (CNN) — The FAA on Friday announced it will close 149 regional airport control towers because of forced spending cuts — sparing 40 others that the FAA had been expected to shutter.

A four-week, phased closure of the 149 control towers will begin on April 7, the FAA said.

The FAA had been expected to announce the closure of 189 low- or moderate-volume towers staffed by contractors. Before Friday’s announcement, it said it would consider keeping a tower open if the airport convinces the agency it is in the “national interest” to do so.

The FAA claims that it cannot cut $600 million from its $58 billion without impacting air traffic control. Honestly, though, I can’t believe that this is true. It seems more likely to me that the Administration is phasing in cuts that are designed to have the most public impact in order to win a political battle. Take a fine tooth comb to that budget, guys, before you start risking public safety.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Yeah, well, using liberal math $600 million out of $58 billion = 100%, not ~1%.

    As far as the numbingly obvious agenda here is concerned, keep in mind the source. They don’t call it Chicago-style politics because it’s cold and windy. These are sick and ruthless people. Deranged. Rotten to the core. It’s like Tammany Hall on crack and steroids. The means always are justified by the desired ends. QED.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 18

  2. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Project much?

    You want budgets cut, they are getting cut. This is what the GOP has been demanding for nearly six years.

    Now you bi#ch about it, because the medicine is bitter.

    My my my… such an unhappy child.,

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 8

  3. Take a fine tooth comb to that budget, guys, before you start risking public safety.

    You’re addressing the party that is obsessed with cutting the budget, right?

    Or is this just another game of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t?”

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 3

  4. Jeremy R says:

    Honestly, though, I can’t believe that this is true. It seems more likely to me that the Administration is phasing in cuts that are designed to have the most public impact in order to win a political battle.

    This conspiracy theory is based on what personal expertise or evidence?

    The administration has said they haven’t been interfering in various agencies attempts to meet sequestration’s bizarre demands. A good example, the undocumented immigrant monitored releases, which the political side of the white house wouldn’t have chosen, since it’s so easily demagogued by the anti-immigrant folks. They’re well aware folks on the Right are salivating at the opportunity to manufacture a Dukakis-like outrage if any of the released immigrants commits another crime. You can see how timid they are with similar political risks, like their historically low level of presidential pardoning.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  5. David M says:

    The FAA claims that it cannot cut $600 million from its $58 billion without impacting air traffic control.

    To be clear, does the FAA have to cut $637 million from their current yearly budget of $58 billion in less than a year? If they’ve started the year spending at one level and then need to adjust to a lower one then that’s a very different proposition than planning and cutting $600 million from next year’s budget.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  6. If the Obama administration isn’t careful, their policy of only cutting things that are going to generate maximum publicity is going to backfire. I haven’t talked to one person that doesn’t see what’s going on here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 6

  7. Console says:

    The vast majority of the operating budget for the FAA is controller salaries/benefits. A controller at a place like DFW is making 3-4 times as much as someone at a contract tower… And DFW ain’t exactly getting shut down.

    So the vast bulk of your workforce makes a ton of money and works at very vital places and is hard to layoff because they are government employees. Which means contract towers will bear the brunt of the sequester.

    All this cynical “high profile cuts” nonsense is just for people that are ignorant of actual government budgets. If the FAA wanted pain, it would be trimming operations at major hubs, not rinky dink towers that barely have any commercial flights.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2

  8. David M says:

    @Christopher Bowen:

    Why does everyone make the assertion that the FAA could make these cuts painless if they wanted to, without ever providing evidence to back this up. Isn’t the fact that Congress can’t/won’t make specific cuts evidence that it isn’t that easy?

    @Console:

    They are closing 3 per state, so it hardly seems like the thing “cutting govt spending is easy” people should object to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  9. Todd says:

    These cuts are being implemented EXACTLY as they were designed. They were supposed to be dumb, with no evaluation of whether or not something is really necessary or good. The idea was for Congress to recognize how unpopular these cuts would be, and come to a compromise instead.

    Since the Republicans were unwilling to come to a compromise, now they’d like the Administration to not follow the law as written. People like Doug have proclaimed that the Sequester would have very little impact, so now they’re upset when any parts of these cuts do have a visible public impact.

    BTW, I still remember your quote about being will to “take the hit” for the sequester cuts. I’ve got friend who are DoD civillians that are being asked to give up 20% of their pay for the rest of the year .. that’s “taking a hit”.

    How much of your paycheck is being taken away because of the sequester Doug?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  10. @Christopher Bowen:

    I haven’t talked to one person that doesn’t see what’s going on here.

    If you’re referring to the “maximum publicity” hypothesis, not sure that counts as “what’s going on here.”

    What’s really going on here is the president is giving the GOP what they want: spending cuts.

    It’s kind of like when I was a little kid and didn’t want to go to school, so I pretended to be sick. But Mommy wouldn’t let me go outside and play. Oh no, sick boy, had to lie in bed, with a thermometer hanging off his lip. I got exactly what I wanted.

    It was only later that I discovered maybe I didn’t really want it so much. See also: The Monkey’s Paw

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  11. John Burgess says:

    @Jeremy R: Well, having been a federal employee and responsible for budgets, I can offer personal expertise. When it came time to cut budgets and my agencies didn’t want to do that, we always went for the programs that would have the greatest negative public impact.

    It was “We have to reduce language services in the VOA! Or maybe shutter it!! OMG!!!” or “OMG! We have to cut the Fulbright Program!! Oh, those poor students!!!”

    This always — always — guaranteed favorable press (from our perspective) because it was like being forced to kill kittens. Never mind that HQ staff might have been cut instead, or that the Director’s (or Secretary’s) office’s need for new carpets might be postponed. Stretch the life of the vehicles in the motor pools by a year? Unthinkable and probably un-American, too.

    This ploy — along with the “Quick, it’s August! How do we get rid of unspent funds?” — are in the first two sections of the unprinted Bureaucrats’ Bible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 6

  12. rudderpedals says:

    Honestly, though, I can’t believe that this is true

    Argument from personal indignation noted :(

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  13. Console says:

    @John Burgess:

    When’s the last time you worked for an agency that was forced to cut its operating budget in the middle of its fiscal year? There’s a reason everyone is getting furloughed.

    The sequester is a different animal. There is no “let’s shuffle the money around.” If the FAA literally had a waste/fraud line item in their budget, they’d have to cut it by only 5 percent, and cut every other line item also by 5 percent. That’s how stupid the sequester is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  14. grumpy realist says:

    Doesn’t it depend on how much leeway an agency has in where it takes its cuts?

    Personally, getting rid of air control at lightly travelled airports looks to be the best place to take the hit. Where else do you want the FAA to take the cuts? Heavily traveled airports? Air traffic safety?

    Unfortunately, contrary to what Republicans think, there isn’t a little entry in the budget titled “Fraud and Waste” that is easily findable and chopped out. And I’d sort of rather not be flying in a plane that is being vectored around by some air traffic control people who are working 80 hour weeks, thank you very much….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  15. Todd says:

    @grumpy realist: You’re not approaching this from the proper perspective …

    To some people, “Fraud and Waste” is anything that doesn’t (or I don’t realize) benefit ME.

    … until that is, I learn that it really might benefit me; in which case eliminating it transmogrifies into the government (but only if from a different party than my own) choosing to “play politics” with the cuts. :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  16. KariQ says:

    You wanted budget cuts, you’re getting budget cuts. After all the times I’ve heard Republicans and Libertarians insist that every government job loss is a gain for the country, I’m not inclined to be sympathetic to your whining now.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 2

  17. David M says:

    We’ve been going from one manufactured crisis to the next since the GOP took the House in 2010, which can’t be ignored. If the GOP was willing to replace the sequester with a mix of smarter spending cuts and revenue increases, it would have been done yesterday. However, we’re stuck with the sequester because it’s what the GOP wants, something that needs pointed out in every article about how the sequester cuts aren’t very smart.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 4

  18. Mitchell says:

    Obama should close down ALL of the important airports and refuse to re-open them until the Republicans agree to a $1 trillion tax increase.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  19. Tony W says:

    @Mitchell: Nah, just DFW would take care of it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  20. Ronald Reagan kept the air control system going while firing 11,000 (of 13,000) illegally striking air traffic controllers, yet Obama’s running a dire consequence game for small budget cuts. Reality is that FAA can get half the budget savings by holding operational units to YTD underruns and holding units over running budgets to original year end targets. Most of the rest can be picked up without affecting operations, if that is what the leadership wants. I mean, look how defense spending dropped 22 percent in the last quarter of last year with no operational or national security impact. Good budget management occurs if you want it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 12

  21. KariQ says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    Are you seriously holding up the DoD as an example of good budget management? If there is a government department that doesn’t manage its budget well, it’s the DoD, because they know that all they have to say is “national security” and they’ll get more money whenever they want it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  22. Dazedandconfused says:

    When you yank somebodies operating budget half-way through it puts them in a position where they might not have many options (quite plausibly due to contractual obligations with outside parties, as any lawyer will tell ya..) but to cut personnel immediately.

    Are they making it tougher than it must be? Maybe. Probably, at least here and there, but I think they know there will be people accusing them of it, so I doubt as much as “all that”.

    The silver lining on this turd may be it will force our courageous, brilliant Teajadist Congress critters to dig into the nuts and bolts of government to prove it. Gonna have to put down “Road to Serfdom”, turn off the Rush Limbaugh, and pick up the Federal Aviation Regulations and the FAA budget here boys and girls. I’m not going to sugar coat this for you, it’s going to hurt. Damn tedious stuff, the real “government”. Nary one Obama joke in the whole pile, but it will put you on the right path to actually finding fraud and abuse, as opposed to jerking off with the 34th bill to end Obamacare…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  23. anjin-san says:

    You want budgets cut, they are getting cut. This is what the GOP has been demanding for nearly six years.

    Bingo.

    Of course they did not give a rat’s ass about the deficit when a Republican was in the White House…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  24. @KariQ:

    Hate to introduce facts into these discussions when ideology works so well, but these days the DoD is actually reducing expenditures — look it up.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  25. anjin-san says:

    but these days the DoD is actually reducing expenditures

    Well, Obama is actually pretty responsible fiscally. Not that any of the dimwits that outsource their thinking to Fox are aware of it…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 3

  26. KariQ says:

    yes, it’s pretty easy to reduce expenditures in the DoD, because everyone who has ever looked at the defense budget with so much as a smidge of honesty knows there’s a ton of waste – because they’ve never had to take budgeting constraints particularly seriously, and because Congress has always used it as a favorite pork project funding mechanism. Cutting defense spending is easy. Every branch has projects and programs they don’t actually want that were forced on them on some point. Cutting domestic discretionary spending is hard, because they have never had the level of funding the DoD has and they have taken the brunt of the cuts over the past few years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  27. Console says:

    @Let’s Be Free:

    The air traffic system ran at 80 percent of capacity 2 YEARS after the strike. It took 10 years to actually replace staffing. And this is when there was a lot less planes in the air. The public has no real experience with what the strike meant because it was before regular people flew all the time. But it wasn’t just smooth sailing. You don’t get to disappear that down the memory hole just because you want to tell tales of the legendary Reagan.

    As for the actual ways of making cuts…
    Good luck finding someone that’s underbudget. This ain’t the private industry, you don’t get to keep the money you save for next year just because you didn’t spend it. The vast bulk of the budget is staffing. So there is a hiring freeze and a furlough, with contract towers being completely laid off. The latter moreso for if the sequester continues past the fiscal year, because you can’t have a hiring freeze and furloughs forever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  28. Liberal from a Blue State says:

    This is just one more example of what the country would look like if it were run more as a business. These rural airports aren’t heavily utilized, are subsidized massively by taxpayers, and this is just one example of how much rural areas receive from cities (read: economic engines).

    The fact is that rural ares have been subsidized by cities since at least the creation of the postal service and probably earlier. Mail service doesn’t need to be cancelled on Saturdays, but we have to do it so we can keep post offices open in podunk towns in rural areas.

    In the blue states, where we pay more to the federal government than we get back (because we have high incomes), we vote for higher taxes because we’d like to see issues addressed – education, health care, poverty, public safety, infrastructure (read: trains, not rural highways used by three people in Idaho), etc. Instead, what we get are diversions of our money to rural areas where few people want to live (e.g. Alaska, Wyoming, North and South Dakota,…) I live in Brooklyn, with 4 times Wyoming’s population. We don’t get two senators, but for some reason Wyoming does?

    Hey red staters – if services get cut you will see more cuts, because relative to the $$$ you pay in federal taxes, you make out like bandits. In other words, nobody ever heard a bridge to nowhere in NYC, because in NYC we would use that fucking bridge and we need it!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 2

  29. Groty says:

    If the FAA is willing to shut down hundreds of control systems, they are obviously not essential to public safety.

    In a rational world, this would stimuate a debate about following the example set by Canada about the benefits and costs of privatizing the entire air traffic control function. Canada’s private system handles more planes per controller, with fewer delays and accidents than our governemnt run system. Canada has an incentive to constantly upgrade to new and better technology, while we have a system that incentivizes keeping unionized public employees and contractors on the public dole. Let the people who actually fly or transport cargo pay for their own safety through user fees, rather than “the taxpayer”.

    It will eliminate an entire federal bureaucracy forever.

    Too obvious, too common sense, and too many Democrat Party clients sucking at the teat for it to happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  30. JKB says:

    hey, fine as long as the FAA stays out of it when local or regional bodies step up to put a contractor or volunteer in the tower.

    @Jeremy R: The administration has said they haven’t been interfering in various agencies attempts to meet sequestration’s bizarre demands.

    That’s BS. Who do you think run these agencies, political appointees, i.e., administration people. The people who run the agencies are the ones who sign off on the cuts.

    @Liberal from a Blue State: I live in Brooklyn, with 4 times Wyoming’s population. We don’t get two senators, but for some reason Wyoming does?

    Well, does NY state require civics classes? Or any of the supposedly fine universities offer courses in American government? Can New Yorkers read old books and documents like the United States Constitution? If so, they you would understand the ignorance of your complaint. Brooklyn isn’t a state and only states have Senators and it was agreed in the compromise between populous states and the less populous states at the constitutional convention that we would have a bicameral legislature with one house representatives determined by proportional population and the other house representing the states with equal representation, i.e., two senators.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 6

  31. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Christopher Bowen:

    I haven’t talked to one person that doesn’t see what’s going on here.

    I haven’t talked to a single person as deluded as you, but then I haven’t talked to any of wingnuttier friends lately.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @David M:

    Why does everyone make the assertion that the FAA could make these cuts painless if they wanted to, without ever providing evidence to back this up.

    Because as any Republican can tell you, Gov’t is just so full of waste.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Dazedandconfused:

    The silver lining on this turd may be it will force our courageous, brilliant Teajadist Congress critters to dig into the nuts and bolts of government to prove it.

    No they won’t. Remember “tax cuts increase revenues”? They still haven’t faced up to that lie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  34. Keith Martin says:

    This is all about the Obama regime spreading around the pain in the most publicly visible places possible. White House tours, ATC towers at small regional airports, etc. all get a lot of press attention. Making cuts to some faceless bloated federal bureaucracy does not. Everything Obama is doing goes back to the Chicago Way of politics.

    Isn’t it funny, no union members are losing their jobs, just contract employees? Makes perfect sense seeing who the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania is.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 9

  35. Liberal from a Blue State says:

    @JKB:

    I’m well aware of Article 1 of the Constitution. I was lucky enough to attend fine public schools, in blue states, where people value not being ignorant. I know that each state gets two senators. But the point is that 2 senators per state is a stupid arbitrary rule that empowers people in places that fail to attract more people. It is counterproductive. People in cities, including poor people, are more productive and have higher incomes and standards of living than those in rural area. Check out conservative economist Edward Glaeser’s Triumph of the city

    I’ve read and understand the Constitution. Please try to remember that it was created because the Articles of Confederation didn’t have enough taxing power.

    But unlike really dumb teatards, I understand that certain of the compromises made by the drafters of the constitution may have been necessary at the time, but are huge mistakes in retrospect. Other examples are the failure to ban slavery, making slaves worth 3/5 of a person, and the existence of the electoral college. There are other mistakes, including failure to allow women the right to vote, but the point is that the various compromises that were made were not all inspired genius. Some were made only so that the backward racist southerners would go along with it.

    Obviously the framers were relatively progressive for their day, but most of us would be disgusted by their view on some pretty important topics – women, Native Americans, slavery, etc. Why we continue to hold them up as models of behavior for modern day Americans escapes me. They were a blazing a trail at a time when there were no other examples of a working republic and generally did an amazing job. But they made a lot of mistakes as well.

    The Senate is an anachronism of one such mistake. It is undemocratic, and people’s political power should not be magnified by how few people want to live in their state. I shouldn’t suffer be cause Wyoming sucks and nobody wants to live in there.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  36. Dave Schuler says:

    I think it might be prudent to reflect on which airports are actually on the block. Whom do they serve? Is the Alton or the Waukegan airport really of vital national interest? Who flies in and out of them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. Dazedandconfused says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Oh, I know the conversation will go something more like this:

    Issa: “I see here the FAA spent nearly .00012 TRILLION dollars on “Janitorial Services”. What is the reason for this outrage?”

    FAA Director: (Does the confused dog head-cock)

    Issa: “Is there something about “Air Traffic Controllers” (ptui!!) that makes them unable to sweep floors?”

    FAA Director: (Buries face in hands)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  38. David M says:

    @Keith Martin:

    This is all about the Obama regime spreading around the pain in the most publicly visible places possible. White House tours, ATC towers at small regional airports, etc. all get a lot of press attention. Making cuts to some faceless bloated federal bureaucracy does not.

    I’m pretty sure that closing 3 (small) air towers per state is not spreading around the pain in the most publicly visible way. And your precious face bloated federal bureaucracy simply is a fantasy the right created for the rubes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  39. Console says:

    The operations budget of the FAA last year was 9.5 billion (and that’s what 600 mill has to be cut from, not the entire FAA budget). Almost 7 billion of that is salaries and benefits. I don’t get why its so hard for people to believe towers will be getting closed. The funny thing is that this is Obama being nice. If you think some no name tower in florida getting closed is a high profile cut… good luck with those political instincts taking you far in life.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  40. Console says:

    @Groty:

    BS

    http://reason.org/news/show/1012447.html

    I was most interested in the productivity and cost figures, which are broken down by individual ANSP. On the basic measure of IFR flight hours per controller in operations, by far the highest-ranked is GCAA of the UAE. But among the largest ANSPs, the FAA ATO ranks first, at 1,803, followed by Nav Canada (1,619), Mexico’s SENEAM (1,394), and Nav Portugal (1,275).

    And that’s from REASON MAGAZINE.

    Canada had 4 million “itinerant movements” in 2011. Atlanta center by itself had damn near 3 million. That’s not counting VFR guys that they are supposed to provide service to that NavCanada doesn’t. Efficiency doesn’t tend to scale up. That’s not to say that air traffic can’t be privatized in America. Just that people should drastically change their expectations.

    At some point though, you have to eventually realize that privatization isn’t some magic bullet, and you’re the ideological one that’s ignoring common sense.

    I don’t think people get this, but if you are an air traffic controller at a place like Chicago TRACON… you are one of the best people in the WORLD at your job. The idea that you’re going to come in and simply make them more efficient with right wing economics is hilarious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  41. Socraticsilence says:

    @KariQ:

    Actually Defense is a bit more constrained in some ways than other segments- they literally can’t save where they want to (say banking a billion or so by cutting tank orders) because Defense is one of the few allowable Jobs programs and congressmen will here it back home.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Groty says:

    @Console:

    Whatever. It has been several months since I read the article about the privatized Canadian system. My recollection from that article is that the Canadian system beat the government run American system on cost without degrading safety or service. The REASON article you reference suggests the American system is slightly more “efficient” but is silent about comparative costs.

    So with that as the background the main point I was trying to make is that the “right wing economics” you appear to hold in contempt would mean the people who voluntarily choose to use the air traffic control system are the people who pay for it. You seem to prefer “left wing economics” of socializing the costs. That is, government coercion is used to force all taxpayers to pay for the system — whether they use it or not.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  43. Console says:

    @Groty:

    Beating us on cost is true if you measure it a certain way.They are about 25 percent cheaper per IFR flight hour. But the FAA system covers way more then just itinerant IFR flights. Plane for plane, we probably blow them out the water. But its hard to quantify military training and VFR flights.

    But let’s talk scale. Toronto is their busiest airport. The FAA ranks facilities by traffic and complexity from 5 to 12. 12 being the busiest and offering the most pay. Toronto tower would be a level ten. Nothing to sneeze at, but it simply isn’t what you encounter in America.

    Privatizing air traffic in America is possible. But for it to save money, it would have to completely change the face of aviation in America. From military training to general aviation to commercial air traffic. I have yet to see anything that really proves the tradeoff is worth it. And no, it isn’t worth doing just to satisfy ideological fantasies about the way the world works.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  44. Console says:

    BTW, employment costs are actually lower in America for air traffic. I'd imagine that the rest of the costs come from equipment. In theory, we are the most technologically advanced air traffic system. In practice, a lot of it is old and breaks a lot.

    But here is a link to look at some of the stats yourself:

    http://www.canso.org/policy/performance

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  45. anjin-san says:

    Shorter Groty – “I don’t really know what I am talking about, but Galt’s Gulch”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  46. David M says:

    @Groty:

    So with that as the background the main point I was trying to make is that the “right wing economics” you appear to hold in contempt would mean the people who voluntarily choose to use the air traffic control system are the people who pay for it. You seem to prefer “left wing economics” of socializing the costs. That is, government coercion is used to force all taxpayers to pay for the system — whether they use it or not.

    You think only people that fly benefit from the air traffic control system?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  47. Tony W says:

    @JKB: Um, dude – I’m guessing @Liberal was not suggesting that Brooklyn was a state – but rather that it, alone, is big enough to populate 4 Wyomings.

    The point was that because Wyoming gets disproportionate representation in the Senate – and by extension the national conversation – they are able to command similarly disproportionate benefit from that same government the red-staters hate so much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  48. General Aviation Pilot says:

    @Console: DFW generates revenue. Many of the fields where the towers will close generate little if any wide reaching revenue. Many of the pilots who fly in and out of those fields are well aware of how to do so without a tower present. But that doesn’t mean safety isn’t compromised. Of course it is, when there isn’t someone coordinating planes coming from lots of directions and having to listen to each other to know it is safe to proceed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  49. Speaktruth Topower says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: If a government agency has two tasks: the first is to provide medical care to homeless children, the second to make chocolate statues of Benedict Arnold and they are required to reduce the amount they would like to increase there budget, all incentives are for them to shut down the medical care for children and continue manufacturing the chocolate statues.
    We’ll teach you to reduce the rate of increase of our budget!
    Regardless of political ideology, we all know this is true.
    How about we try eliminating the collage grant studying snail sex? … nope…. only one professor, two students and one collage administrator would notice that… not the desired effect… shot off all access to medicine for homeless children… Ah Ha… now we’re getting people to scream! Mission accomplished! The homeless children leaf on the steps of the hospital are necessary collateral damage sacrificed for the good of the collective hive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0