That's my initial reaction to hearing that Congress has agreed to spare the FAA from the brunt of the sequester, to avoid, of all things, flight delays. By a veto-proof majority, no less.
Why is this such a big deal?
Rewind to a few short months ago, when the Obama administration was arguing that it would not make sequestration easier to live with, because that would make sequestration more likely to be permanent.
The bottom line is that Republican bill makes the sequester easier to live with, and the White House doesn’t want the sequester to be easier to live with. The point of these poorly constructed spending cuts, in the White House’s view, is that they’re hard to live with, and that forces both sides to compromise. Making the sequester a bit better makes it much harder to replace.Fast forward to today:
In effect, what Democrats said Friday was that in any case where the political pain caused by sequestration becomes unbearable, they will agree to cancel that particular piece of the bill while leaving the rest of the law untouched. The result is that sequestration is no longer particularly politically threatening, but it’s even more unbalanced: Cuts to programs used by the politically powerful will be addressed, but cuts to programs that affects the politically powerless will persist. It’s worth saying this clearly: The pain of sequestration will be concentrated on those who lack political power.First they say that the sequestration will be so terrible that everyone will do everything in their power to avoid it. Then once it became clear that it would most certainly happen, they say they refuse to make it hurt any less because that would make it less likely that it would be eliminated. Now, they've gone and made sequestration a bit less painful, but only for the type of people who aren't really hurting that much, relative to some other losers to sequestration (flight delays? take a damn bus).
Sequestration has now become one of the worst policies under the Obama administration and the US Congress, the last one as well as the current one. Not only did they orchestrate a systematic reduction in government services called the sequester, but they have now made it more likely to be permanent, more likely to disproportionately affect the people with the least amount of political power, and have basically sent the message that they have abandoned any attempt at bipartisan compromise to eliminate the sequester, only its impact on the people they care about the most.
If there's any way to retain hope in all this, it's in knowing that the next elections are only a few more years away.