Thursday, August 4, 2011

FAA left up in the air

The US Congress, after a bruising battle on America's debt, has fled 'tropical' Washington, D.C. for a five week summer holiday. But the feisty solons left with an item of business undone: no authorisation for the Federal Aviation Administration to continue doing its job. Translation: project upgrades left hanging in mid air; 4000 workers furloughed and there 'technically' unemployed; federal taxes on the sale of air tickets remain uncollected to the projected sum of a us$1 billion or more.
The Republicans are holding the Agency's authorization hostage. It seems odd that they who preach fiscal responsibility are the same and very people who are, when all is said and done, 'spendthrifts' and practitioners of the 'pennywise, pound foolish' way of governing.
What is at stake in the Republicans 'benign' neglect is the right of FAA to organise. Like rabid animals, they fear unions and the right of the hard worker to earn a decent living. In this, the right wing Republicans are taking a page out of their sainted patron, Ronald Reagan. For those of short memory, during his first run for the American presidency, he got the support of the Air Controllers Union, which he welcomed. And then, elected president, one of his first acts was to crush the union without a bye your leave! And, in a way, since then workers in the FAA have fared weakly from lack of a union.
For the Republicans who are marching lock stepped to an extreme right wing radical beat favouring the rich and quashing any resistance for the rights of the average working stiff and the poor, the sign on the door is 'keep out!' Now, we have the root and branch of the reason why the fiscally conservative right wing Republicans, with a dash of blue dog Democrats in tow, are letting the FAA up in the air until they have feasted and rested and gloated in winning all along the line in the debt standoff with a feckless president.
Ultimately, the working classes of the US' right to a decent and fair living will be held hostage until the Republicans get their way possibly.
Obama has denounced Congress' insouciance, calling it a lose lose situation, and strongly urging members of Congress to do their duty by passing the FAA's reauthorisation bill. Will he be heard? After his shameful caving in to the Republicans, he has lost any moral authority. And if the polls mean anything today, in spite of raising oodles of money for his re election, he would be defeated today. Not only is the Congress held in contempt by the US people, but Obama has emerged from the contentious debt battle with Congress seriously wounded. Until the end of his term, if his past behaviour is an gauge, he will limp along since he has no taste for battle for his ideas and his 'concerns' for the American people.

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