Ground Cutter - Well, let’s hear it for Congress

16 and counting

Well, let’s hear it for Congress. The legislative body hasn’t had time to deal with a full FAA authorization during the three years since the last one expired, but has had time to provide 16 — count ‘em, 16 — extensions during that time. Go figure.

You gotta remember, though, this FAA reauthorization thing is a complex matter. One thing they’re trying to decide is whether to raise the passenger facility charge from $4.50 to $7 (or higher ... and indexed for inflation?). Evidently all that high math has got them up against a wall. But they should be used to big numbers; they got Nancy Pelosi a really big jet so she wouldn’t have to stop for fuel on the way home to California.

This column, back in April, ’92, called Congress “…the most miserably UNsuccessful group of managers in world history …” This latest FAA extension does nothing to change the opinion.

Tell you what: Give that reauthorization bill to Southwest Airlines or Walmart and watch how fast they solve the problem. They’d get it done fast so they could get back to running the business.

Of course, before they can tackle the full reauthorization Congress does have to work out some kind of a union issue with FedEx and UPS. It just demonstrates what happens when the guvmint gets involved with labor problems or business.

Also, Lord help ‘em, they have to decide how many flights can operate to/from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, which many Congresspersons seem to believe is their own personal airport. I’ve heard high-time, low-seniority airline captains say (off the record, of course) that the airport should be “closed down and pushed into the Potomac” because it ain’t safe. Congress likes it, though, because it’s a short limo hop from Capitol Hill, and the legislative branch must be served.

I still can’t get over the fact that Congress has extended this thing 16 times since 2007. The expiration of the authorization didn’t just slip up on them, you know. The date was known long in advance.

And this is the same group that requires private individuals and businesses to pay their taxes on time. Yes, they will give you an extension, but 16 times in three years? I doubt it.

Maybe they don’t/can’t get their job done on time because they have to face their customers, the voters, only once every two or more years, whereas businesses in the free market face their customers daily.

Congress tells us what we will pay for what they want us to have. Businesses have to provide what customers want at a price they are willing to pay. Businesses make a profit; Congress gushes out losses. Seems like somebody (voters, maybe?) would notice that.

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