The Obama administration has been working long and hard to make the sequester spending reductions, which are really quite modest and only slow the rate of federal spending growth rather than cutting it, as painful as possible. Because President Obama and Democrats just can’t let the public catch on to the idea that there might be lots of government spending that can be cut without any real change in our day-to-day lives.
But one area where they’ve been unsuccessful is air travel. Despite promises that the sequester would result in an air travel nightmare (as if our air travel nightmares could get any worse) things are pretty much carrying on as they always have:
More than a month after Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood warned of “calamity” in the skies, travelers are still flying. Airlines aren’t yet canceling flights. And there’s no sign of the long lines the Obama administration warned everyone to expect when automatic spending cuts hit March 1.
What happened? The much-feared budget ax is turning out to be a slow-rolling series of snips, with effects that have been much more gradual or modest than projected.
Airlines have yet to suspend or cancel flights in response to the cuts, even though LaHood predicted during a White House appearance Feb. 22 that they would do so “within the next 30 days.” …
The alarms about air travel are a prime example of how the White House “badly miscalculated” its rollout of the sequester, House Aviation Subcommittee Chairman Frank LoBiondo (R-N.J.) said.
He reserved particular ire for suggestions that the administration instructed agencies not to prepare until almost the bitter end, then pulled out a megaphone to broadcast impending doom.
It’s worth mentioning that total federal spending is 40% higher than 2007, when Democrats took over Congress from Republican control, and 27% higher than 2008, the last year of President Bush’s term:
You have to wonder how it is that, after $1.068 trillion increase in annual federal spending in less than a decade, a relatively $83 billion reduction in the budget is somehow a catastrophe.
Unless, of course, we admit that the proponents of big government need to create the perception of even a small spending reduction being catastrophic.