The New Thing In Washington: Government By GOP Blackmail

Well, that didn’t take long. The GOP is blackmailing over the FAA shutdown, and Harry Reid is inclined to give them what they want. Great. Just great.

UPDATE: be sure to read the comment thread. There is disagreement among sources even on the most basic facts of this matter. Maybe it’s blackmail; maybe it’s not. Maybe Reid caved, or maybe he did the right thing. Here, for example, is part of a comment by reader NCSteve 3.0 on the thread to that same post:

Just heard NPR interviewing Harry about this. Not the slightest indication of an inclination to cave. None, zero, zip. Quite the contrary. The headline, and the Fox spin are bullshit.

Audio available at 7:00 EDT. He [Reid] said the fight had nothing to do with rural airports and, instead, was all about Delta Airlines not wanting to follow NLRB union election rules, that the problem wasn’t getting fixed because the House refused to appoint conferees because they were taking their orders from Delta, that there was no sign of a break and that it will probably go on even into October or later because of Delta’s intransigence.

The original post is by Eric Kleefeld, one of TPM’s veterans and typically fairly dependable about getting the facts right. But on this story, his source is… Fox News. Uh-huh! I’m inclined to ignore the story until things are nailed down a bit better. Sorry…

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Comments

  • Bryan  On Tuesday August 2, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    There are two separate issues, as mentioned – the subsidy of rural airports in Nevada, Wyoming, and West Virginia which was part of the agreement that allowed airline deregulation to go forward in 1978 and amounts to $16 million dollars/year. or about two-thirds of the taxes the FAA collects for a single day; and the adverse NLRB decision against Delta.

    The NLRB decision has nothing to do with the FAA, or its mission, but it was attached to force it through.

    Just have the FAA shut down National, Dulles, and Baltimore to save money while their funding is in doubt, and something will get done on the bus ride to Washington.

    Struggling to maintain service when the funds aren’t there, is the worst thing the FAA can do. People need to be impacted by the shut down, so they know it is going on, and to realize that they need government services.

    • Steve  On Tuesday August 2, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      Thanks, Bryan. I used to travel around Texas by bus. It’s a pain in the butt, literally and figuratively. By all means, force the wealthy bastards to do that. And… no steward(esse)s to bring them pillows!

      I would never have written this post if I had read the comment thread first. TPM doesn’t always get things right, but certain of their reporters are generally pretty reliable. Not this time.

      If companies start defying the NLRB without penalty, we’ll be back to wage slavery pretty damned quickly. I don’t know what the enforcement mechanism is, but if FAA were permitted to fine Delta an amount equal to or greater than the taxes they are now collecting (as part of the fare) but not paying to the government, that would be a start. Getting Congress to do anything will probably take something more drastic, e.g., ordering the service cuts you mentioned. If it can also be arranged for the entire board of Delta to be stranded far away from their various homes when the stoppage is ordered, that would be good, too.

      I know I am less than calm… face it, I am angry this evening. “Solutions” involving torches and pitchforks keep coming to mind. But if my past is any measure, I am better at revenge once I have gone ice-cold and can plan it out. So be it!

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