I’ll place this in both the politics and what I’m reading categories.
Mann and Ornstein, a liberal and a conservative, have collaborated for decades on studies of Congress. In their recent book, It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, they lay blame for the current political paralysis at the feet of the GOP. Do Democrats ever play dirty tricks, act selfishly, ignore the public good, and betray their constituencies? Of course. What we are dealing with in the GOP of the last couple of decades, though, is a horse of a different color. I’m afraid that what most people do is listen to politicians’ statements rather than looking at what they actually do. Here is an example from the book, an example of the terrible harm these take-no-prisoners politicians heap upon the public.
Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, was working on reauthorization of the FAA. He wanted FAA employees to not have a union and to cut off subsidies to rural airports. We know the hostility of the GOP to unions (based, IMHO, on their authoritarian personalities unable to brook their “inferiors” making demands), but rural airports? Oh, they take taxpayers’ money and may not deliver sufficient service. That would make sense if Mica targeted all rural airports, but he targeted only those found in his opponents’ states. Cute, huh? But ordinarily, the lawmakers simply extended the authority of the FAA while differences were ironed out.
But this time, Mica blocked that and the FAA shut down. Here’s how Mann & Ornstein describe the consequences (I’d love to see a Republican or conservative defend this action and its results) on p, 83:
“When Senate Democrats wouldn’t accede to his demands, Mica refused to continue authorizing the agency and let the House adjourn without action. Again, the consequences to American citizens were considerable. Major parts of the FAA were shut down for several weeks, putting thousands of workers on furlough and requiring airplane inspectors to work without pay and cover their own travel expenses out of pocket in order to keep airplanes safe and flying. Around 24,000 construction workers lost their jobs, with many thousands of other jobs directly and indirectly lost, causing untold suffering and halting work at the peak period for construction of airport facilities, runways, hangars, and other operations. The urgently needed new generation of computerized air-traffic control lost critical weeks of development, and the FAA could not collect airfare taxes for several weeks, costing the federal treasury some $300 million. The savings Mica insisted upon by ending the subsidies to the small airports was a small fraction of that amount.”
Eventually, Mica lost his battle, but look at what the GOP would say about this: it was good that less in taxes was taken in: strangle the government; the tax money collected would only go to ungrateful foreign governments and to the undeserving poor here at home. Remember, among Republicans and conservatives (same thing), between welfare here at home and foreign welfare what they consider foreign aid to be the federal budget has barely enough left to buy a tank for the defense of the Homeland (I want to raise my hand like a little Hitlerjugend). Also, government workers should be out looking for real work instead of feeding at the public trough of federal civil service jobs. Besides, we don’t need more airports and stuff like that except where I live or where I’m traveling to. Oh, and if we do as we should and shut down all rural airports, we should not shut down the one by my house because my son-in-law works there……… for the FAA.
Clearly, Republicans and conservatives lives in a bubble. Nothing gets through to them.