Unresolved Fiscal Issues Raise Questions for Aviation

Aviation International News » February 2013
Work remains on fiscal cliff talks (Illustration: John T. Lewis)
February 2, 2013, 4:30 AM

While many people breathed a sigh of relief when Congress pulled the nation back from the so-called “fiscal cliff” at the beginning of the new year, most of those who were following the contretemps didn’t realize it was mainly political theater.

“While we are pleased Congress made some headway on tax elements to avert the fiscal cliff, we are concerned that they could not agree to a long-term solution to fix a problem no serious person wants: sequestration,” said Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) president and CEO Marion Blakey.

“If sequestration is not solved in the next 57 days, it would be an abdication of responsibility by the leaders of this country, one that will only heighten Americans’ cynicism and cement the public image of a gridlocked Washington that simply doesn’t work,” she added.

Blakey, who served a five-year stint as FAA Administrator early last decade, described sequestration as a slow-motion catastrophe for the nation’s military forces, space program and virtually every critical government function from air traffic control and border security to food inspection and more.

According to AIA, more than 2 million Americans across all sectors of the economy will lose their jobs starting in 57 days “if political leaders fail to fix the self-inflicted wound of sequestration” and the dangers it poses to the Defense Department and national security.

User Fee Threat Remains

AOPA president and CEO Craig Fuller said the actions by Congress should prevent dramatic budget reductions in the 2012-2013 budget for the time being, which could have had a serious effect on airports and modernizing the ATC system.

But he cautioned that the path forward will take the nation down a road to yet another large debate that the new 113th Congress must consider within the next few months. “In this debate, budget reductions will be demanded as the price of supporting a debt ceiling increase necessary to continue funding federal government operations,” Fuller explained.

Meanwhile, the President is required to submit to the Congress his 2013-2014 Federal Budget Plan. “Given the statements made during 2012,” Fuller said, “we have every reason to believe that the Administration will come in search of more revenue from the general aviation community, and their search seems to focus on operational user fees.”

On January 14, NBAA joined more than 50 organizations in petitioning the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to ensure that President Obama’s budget request includes adequate funding for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) staffing at U.S. ports of entry. The groups said understaffing at ports “increases wait times, costs industry billions and discourages business and leisure travelers from visiting the U.S.”

In addition, the groups said CBP should continue to focus on ways that can use its current staff more effectively, through expanding trusted-traveler programs, aggressively implementing its Trade Transformation Agenda and evaluating additional methods for increasing efficiency at the ports.

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No Avatar
warren
on February 4, 2013 - 3:19pm

I find it hard to believe the economically fragile airlines would allow delays due to a controller rif.

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T.D. Welander
on February 4, 2013 - 4:58pm

The unlawful or unbalanced or deficit government spending has resulted in a hidden inflation rate two to three times higher than the published inflation rate.
Specifically, my observed cost increases in the last ten years have been between 5% to 10% per year; when published inflation has been under 3% per year. The problem is the market basket of goods computation used by the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Dept of Labor. Absolutely no one buys that market basket of goods used in the inflation computation. It would not be difficult for the Dept of Labor and/or the Federal Reserve to sample the population through their tax returns finding out from one year to the next what peoples primary price increases have been. So far the dense are leading the dense; nothing happening. After all, it is only hurting consumers. Consumers will most certainly need to wise up before anything is done about it; if then. Appears to be the most sophisticated theft ever seen in history; this hidden inflation.

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William Cherne
on February 17, 2013 - 12:19pm

It is so evident how the standard of living in this country is deteriorating at a neck braking pace. While the inflation rate is somewhere in the 10+%, (never mind the official, and deceptive government figures,) most of the jobs available to American workers today is at minimum wages, part time employment, and zero benefits entitlements. So as the employment rate is improving, the starvation group is growing. Look around you, and watch todays young generations. If it was not for the support from their parents, most would be homeless, simply because todays wages don't even pay for rent in most cases. At the same time, the rich are getting richer. The Ceo's are getting compensated at the grotesque amounts of money, the big business is ripping of the public at will, with no repercussions to them. The oil companies are so blatantly defrauding its consumers, that they can't even spend the money they hostage from the public. At the same time the public is helpless, simply because there is no alternatives for them. For example. Public transportation is almost none existing in this country. Monopolies of the big business runs at will, and the politicians are only for the top 2% and them self. It is time for the public to start paying less intention on who wins what ball game, and start rising against obvious and deliberate destruction of the life in this country, as we knew it till a decade or so ago.

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