Obama’s air traffic control charade: More sequester baloney


WASHINGTON, April 24, 2013 – On the road again so we’ll have a short column today. The market is mildly down this morning after Apple’s reporting of good numbers after last night’s close. But Wall Street is Wall Street, and analysts and HFTs are tearing down their darling stock of the last decade just because. We could go on about this, but it’s the usual Wall Street nonsense that involves overpraising a hot stock on its way up and tearing it down as if it were, say, Jon Corzine, on its way down. It’s what passes for analysis in the era of algos and HFTs, we’d guess.

More irritating, however, are the obvious antics of the Obama Administration, which is still doing its best to dump chamberpots on the Republicans rather than do anything serious to solve the nation’s economic troubles, which are legion. Irritated that the Republicans didn’t cave and thus allowed the dreaded “sequester” to happen last month, the Administration is doing its best to make sure the public feels the cuts as sharply as possible. Why? The reasons are simple.

First, the Administration is more eager to blame the Republicans for at least something, the better to position for the 2014 Congressional elections. And second, the Obama crew is smarting from 2013’s surprising string of early failures and wants revenge. These failures include, of course, their failed sequester ploy, but surprisingly also include an almost complete defeat for the planned evisceration of the Second Amendment and a now likely tabling of “immigration reform” due to last week’s disaster in Boston.

So the Administration has decided to resurrect the “sequester issue” to renew their attack on the Republicans, this time by working behind the scenes, directing the FAA to make their share of the sequester cuts really hurt the average American by furloughing Air Traffic Control staff, thus causing extraordinarily long flight delays at key airports around the country. The whole idea, of course, is similar to what school districts do when faced with the rejection of yet another school bond issue: they threaten to cut football programs. This in turn, brings out legions of outraged parents (who, apparently, could care less about the math program) who scream and yell until the bond issue passes.

Since the sequester cuts were inherently unlikely to cause much pain to the average American, the Administration has dishonestly chosen to ratchet up the politics via this current FAA action, the better to enrage Americans who, so the logic goes, will start demanding that the evil Republicans cooperate in raising their taxes.

The FAA, of course, could cut its own travel expense budget and fire or furlough any number of useless bureaucratic drones—something that’s legion in Washington in all agencies. But why do that when you can torque the average American off to the point where they’ll demand higher taxes, which is nirvana for DC’s resident socialists? It’s blatant dishonesty. But that’s what we’ve got on both Wall Street and in the hallowed halls of Washington these days as the elites abuse their constituents in their endless crusade to extract what wealth is left in the middle classes and redistribute it to anyone who’s in bed with socialism and statism. It’s a sickening sight.

So, we’ll leave Wall Street to bash Apple and Washington to bash the Republicans, and go off on our merry way this morning, not doing much if anything to our portfolio while we wait for…whatever. It’s a heck of a way to invest, but it’s what we’ve got.

Have a good one.

Disclaimer: The author of this column maintains several active trading and investment portfolios and owns residential and investment real estate. Positions mentioned above describe this author’s own investment decisions and should not be construed as either buy or sell recommendations. The current market is highly treacherous and all investors travel at their own risk, so caution should be exercised at all times.

Illustrations, charts, commentary, and analysis are only the author’s view of current or historical market activity and don’t constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any security or contract. Views, indications, and analysis aren’t necessarily predictive of any future market or government action. Rather they indicate the author’s opinion as to a range of possibilities that may occur going forward.

References to other reporters, analysts, pundits, or commentators are illustrative only and do not necessarily represent an endorsement of such individuals’ points of view. If specific investment vehicles are mentioned in any article under this column heading, the author will always fully disclose any active or contemplated investments in said vehicles.

Read more of Terry’s news and reviews at Curtain Up! in the Entertain Us neighborhood of the Washington Times Communities. For Terry’s investing and political insights, visit his Communities columns, The Prudent Man and Morning Market Maven, in Business.

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Terry Ponick
Biographical Note: Dateline Award-winning music and theater critic for The Connection Newspapers and the Reston-Fairfax Times, Terry was the music critic for the Washington Times print edition (1994-2010) and online Communities (2010-2014). Since 2014, he has been the Business and Entertainment Editor for Communities Digital News (CDN). A former stockbroker and a writer and editor with many interests, he served as editor under contract from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and continues to write on science and business topics. He is a graduate of Georgetown University (BA, MA) and the University of South Carolina where he was awarded a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and co-founded one of the earliest Writing Labs in the country. Twitter: @terryp17