Sometimes I cannot help but wonder out loud, just precisely what were they thinking. I am talking about last week’s almost comical, if it was not so painful, air traffic controller furloughs at the FAA, which created more than 1,000 flight delays.
The purposeful if mindless furloughs were designed to create so much havoc that the American public would have no choice but to support this president and the Democrats’ desire to increase taxes. Problem is it backfired so fast and so strongly that the White House had no choice but to stop the nonsense.
One can only wonder why the Democrats and the president had to do it in this manner. There certainly was a better way for all of us.
- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
The sequestration cuts were to be so unsavory that it should have forced the Senate and the House to reach a budget agreement, but that agreement was never reached. Hence sequestration took place. One would have thought that since that agreement failed and the cuts had to be implemented, that the president would have demanded the leeway to reach the cuts in the most creative way without inflicting so much pain on the American public.
The White House could have very well given the FAA the flexibility to make the sequester cuts according to their best judgment. But that was not to be. Instead the White House insisted on furloughs of air traffic controllers knowing full well the damage it would cause. That's exactly what they wanted, to make it so difficult and so painful that the public would revolt. And revolt they did, just not in the way the White House anticipated.
Problem is that President Obama had gone on record too many times saying he would not accept any measure that attempted to turn off part of the sequester. In other words, the across- the-board sequester cuts would have to be done exactly the way the legislation intended, thereby robbing from the administrators across the government the ability to make the cuts in a more thoughtful, less painful, and smarter way.
The Republicans had at different times proposed to give the president carte blanche to deal with the cuts in a more tactical way, but the president was in too deep to go back; stubbornly he marched forward, only to inflict unnecessary pain to a country already tired of political shenanigans.
Americans saw this stunt for what it is and are sickened by it. Proof? Congress heard the public loud and clear. They overwhelmingly passed a measure to give the FAA the authority to deal with the sequester cuts without having to furlough air traffic controllers. The vote was veto-proof. It went to the president’s desk and he signed it immediately. One can only wonder why the Democrats and the president had to do it in this manner. There certainly was a better way for all of us.
We elect Congress and the president to solve problems, to make our life easier, not to create problems that make our life that much more difficult. Who knows, we may just have to give them a one-way ticket to their home state and not care if their flights get delayed.
Rosario Marin served as the 41st U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.