An earlier story at AZDI: FAA furlough fiasco resolved documents the resolution to a cynical ploy used by government agencies to restore their budgets. In this case, the sequester reduced funds to the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA furloughed air traffic controllers which caused a great slowdown in flights, irritating thousands of flyers. Their Congresscritters heard about it, and fearing re-election troubles, suddenly found the money to restore the service. They were miraculously able to “identify alternative spending cuts to sequestration.”
Thomas Sowell wrote about this government ploy back in early March (see full article here). He begins with an extreme example:
“Back in my teaching days, many years ago, one of the things I liked to ask the class to consider was this: Imagine a government agency with only two tasks: (1) building statues of Benedict Arnold and (2) providing life-saving medications to children. If this agency’s budget were cut, what would it do? The answer, of course, is that it would cut back on the medications for children. Why? Because that would be what was most likely to get the budget cuts restored.”
The same game is played locally. How many times have we seen the City of Tucson say that cuts in the police or fire departments would be necessary if we didn’t vote for more taxes or bonding authority? That’s how the government game is played.