It’s the same at all levels. When the local government is faced with budget cuts, it threatens to close the library or lay off some firemen. The state closes parks and reduces the operating hours of the DMV. Instead of shrinking the invisible bureaucracy or cutting welfare, they always go straight for the programs that are most visible to middle-class taxpayers—small as they may be as percentages of overall spending. Now the Federal government is threatening that, if we don’t reverse the sequester, cuts to the TSA and FAA will result in longer lines and [further] delayed flights for air travelers.
Traveling by air is the only occasion on which most Americans routinely come face-to-face with Federal government “service providers,” so it is a natural place for our single-minded leaders to try to make us feel the pain. It’s particularly ironic that our leaders would call attention to these aspects of the leviathan—the bloated, unaccountable boondoggle that TSA has become and the FAA’s antiquated, inept air traffic control infrastructure—of which it should be particularly ashamed.
It’s laughable enough to portray $85B in cuts against a budget of some $3.8T as draconian. Let’s hope that the administration’s strategy of cutting customer-facing services as a sleazy lever to pressure Americans to accept higher taxes backfires. We are not holding our breath.