Shut ‘er Down
Leadership and the PATCO Strike
Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi are threatening to – gasp- shut down the government if Republicans dare touch the Democrat’s sacred cows. Planned Parenthood and open borders are the first of the sacred. There are hundreds more. They have been growing in number for many decades.
Let me take you back to the PATCO strike of 1981 when we had a leader in the White House. I was a controller then.
A significant part of the government, the ATC system, was shut down for a few days by the strike when Reagan fired 15,000 or so Air Traffic Controllers. That was almost all of them. We had a leader then and he stuck to his principles.
The system stopped briefly but then dramatically and quickly recovered. Controllers, supervisors and staff worked six day weeks and lots of overtime. But we knew what we were about, had lots of appreciation for what we were doing, and with no staff in the offices issuing new rules and regs to justify their offices, the operation ran smoothly. The year after the strike was the most gratifying of my career.
Replacement controllers were hired, quickly trained, and the system soon returned to normal. The disruption was significant but not much more than you would see with a week or so of severe weather.
How was that possible? It’s real simple. The FAA was plumb full of supervisors, staff people, and managers who had been certified air traffic controllers promoted to run and staff a bloated bureaucracy. It took almost no time at all to re-certify these folks and get them back to work doing something productive – moving traffic.
Now back to modern times.
In 2013 the Dems refused to budge on bloat. Republicans pushed for budget and fiscal sanity. Obama was in charge. The government shut down and Obama did what he could to make it hurt.
He shut down the parks! The media climbed aboard and castigated those mean spirited Republicans for every ill they could think of. You can’t visit the Washington Monument they cried. It’s an abomination. Your Constitutional rights are being trampled.
The Republicans caved fearing bad press come election time. They actually thought they might not get bad press. Oops. But then they were Republicans.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. And – the Republicans are still pushing for budgetary and fiscal sanity and the Dems are still protecting the bloat. Their sacred cows have grown and are more expensive than ever. Trump wants to drain the swamp and shrink the monster government and its regulations.
The Democrat’s sacred cows are in the crosshairs. To protect these cattle and the status quo, they now call for shutting down the government confident that they and their media allies will once again successfully blame the Republicans and assure electoral majorities in 2018.
Shut ‘er down, I say. With a leader in the White House once again we will see how much of the government really matters. Keep the ground troops, the controllers, the FBI agents, the DEA agents, Border Patrol, and all essential elements operating. Let’s see how badly we need the staffers, the multiple layers of managers and how badly we need the NPR, the EPA, the FDA, Energy, Education, and all the other formerly “essential” services. Let’s prioritize what we need and separate what we don’t need from the federal behemoth.
Shut ‘er down, I say.
Jon Smith, Admin