For whom the government works

I gave an example earlier about how the so-called gridlocked Congress can move with lightning speed when it wants to, which is when it affects either them or those close to them. We see another example of this in the way that they tweaked the sequestration rules when elites are affected. When flights started getting delayed, Congress quickly passed legislation that allowed the FAA more flexibility with regard to air traffic controllers.

As Steve Benen says:

Procedural considerations notwithstanding, we’re still left with an unnerving examination of Washington’s often twisted priorities.

When the sequester started kicking children out of pre-K, Congress did nothing. When this stupid policy denied low-income seniors the benefits of Meals on Wheels, Congress barely noticed. When sequestration cuts put new burdens on cancer patients and cut housing aid to struggling families, most of Congress shrugged its shoulders.

But when business travelers ran into flight delays on Monday, a unanimous Senate approved a fix without breaking a sweat on Thursday.

But it appears that lawmakers are also mindful of which Americans are affected and what kind of inconveniences the political world is prepared to tolerate. Children being thrown out of Head Start centers is a shame, but wealthier air travelers waiting on the tarmac for a couple of hours is a travesty in need of swift congressional intervention.


  1. Corvus illustris says

    But when business travelers Congresspeople and their staffers ran into flight delays on Monday, a unanimous Senate approved a fix without breaking a sweat on Thursday.

    FIFY, Mr Benen.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    Reminds me of the police motto “To Serve and Protect”. It’s during G8 demos, Occupy Wall Street, etc that we see who they serve and protect.

  3. pHred says

    Even NPR pointed out that this “fix” happened just in time to prevent inconvenience to Congress as they go on break.

  4. Corvus illustris says

    The “serve and protect” slogan (or the same, permuted) seems to have metastasized to all of the US from its origin at the LAPD. Living in LA for most of the 1960s, I found a certain sense of irony toward that slogan to be helpful. BTW, the PD slogan where I now live is Lex et Ordo. My suggestion of Eunomía kai Dike was not well received.

  5. sunny says

    It would be interesting to tabulate: duration to legislation in one column, affected parties in another column.

  6. Mano Singham says

    Sorry I don’t know any Latin. I can guess what Lex et Ordo means but what does Eunomía kai Dike translate as?

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    It’s Greek. “Order and Justice”, I think. I’m sure there’s a pun I’m missing.

  8. Corvus illustris says

    Eunomía is etymologically “good law” or “good morals,” but to Athenian democracy connoted something like “the good laws we made and obey” rather than law forcibly imposed. See Socrates, death of. Dike as RG says is “justice.” Both are sometimes personified along with their sister Eirene, “peace.” If I made a pun I missed it too.

  9. slc1 says

    Let’s be serious here, the flight delays also affect folks like Prof. Singham, in case he wanted to fly to, say, DC for a conference. In fact, most of the folks filling the seats on airliners who are inconvenienced are not business travelers,

    However, the delays to the traveling public had not the slightest effect on the 1% because the Koch brothers, the Michael Dells, the Larry Ellisons, the Bill Gates, the Warren Buffets, etc. of the world don’t fly commercial, they fly on private aircraft, either owned by them or their companies and utilize private airports. They experience no delays and are not inconvenienced in the slightest.

  10. Mano Singham says

    The extremely wealthy do have private jets. But they are very few. People like me travel once in a way and are numerous but used to the occasional delays. The people who are regular air travelers however, belong to an intermediate group that includes members of Congress and their staff, and is influential enough that when they complain, Congress listens. That was the point. The far more numerous people who are suffering because of sequester cuts in social services get no such prompt treatment.

  11. smrnda says

    On air travel and ‘normal people’ – I’ve been on planes. There are quite a lot of Americans who have never flown and probably never will, and for whom a ‘vacation’ is something you get when you’re between jobs. Yeah, there are some normal people flying, but a lot of other things are a bigger emergency than some flight delays and they aren’t being treated as such. I would rather get stuck with delays when I fly than have the government shit and piss on the most vulnerable members of society.

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