Airport furloughs will only worsen our economyApril 23, 2013: 11:07 AM ET
By allowing funding cuts to hit our aviation system, Washington is actively making our economy and our country worse. Don't believe for a second that Obama and Congress were powerless to avoid this.
By Andy Serwer, managing editor
FORTUNE -- Washington has finally lost its collective mind. I'm not talking about the defeated gun bill (which 90% of Americans supported) or any other spineless behavior. I'm talking about our elected officials actively making our country worse by crippling our already incredibly fraught commercial aviation system.
In case you haven't been to the airport lately, Congress and the President have allowed sequestration to cut funding for air traffic controllers and security, which is beginning to cause massive delays in security and flights. Already flights are backed up two to three hours at major airports. Unless something is done pronto, this will get worse -- much worse as we head into the busy summer season. Can you imagine what a Friday night with thunderstorms at O'Hare will be like this July?!?
Commercial aviation should never be subject to sequestration. It is an outrage that air travel wasn't carved out of harm's way. And by the way, don't believe for a second that Obama and Congress were powerless to avoid this. Of course they could have. (On the other hand, maybe it's not a priority for them: You have to wonder how many of these folks fly commercial and/or wait in regular TSA screening lines.)
Yes, I fly a lot so this hits me hard, but guess what? I'm not alone. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports that 815.3 million passengers traveled on U.S. airlines and on foreign airlines serving the United States in 2012.
Speaking of foreign passengers, it's a widely known fact that our security procedures and airports are incredibly difficult for visitors from overseas. When the word gets out that our system is worsening, I'm sure we'll see a drop in tourism. Just what our economy needs, right?
By not passing the background check for guns, Congress left a bad situation untouched. By allowing funding cuts to hit our aviation system, Washington is actively making our economy and our country worse. Maybe our elected officials should be required to take some sort of Hippocratic oath, "Primum non nocere." (First do no harm.) Bet they'd want to get some polling numbers on that first.