The Long, Slow Story Is Far More Damaging Than the Short, Hot One

Damaging as the shutdown is for governance, it is minor compared with the long-term damage of the sequester. The FBI has had to reduce its focus on white-collar and organized crime to deal with the higher, immediate priority of cybersecurity. The food-inspection infrastructure has been hit, reducing the number of inspectors in the U.S. and in foreign plants that ship food to the United States. This will undoubtedly lead to more outbreaks of salmonella and E. coli, with a weakened Centers for Disease Control less able to cope with the epidemics. Basic research, as I have written before, is taking devastating hits–starting with NIH but including DARPA and every other area done primarily by the federal government. Some of the damage will never be repaired. And the nation’s economy will grow more slowly, adding to our deficits and debt.

— Norm Ornstein, in National Journal.

Congress Lifted the FAA Sequester for the Sake of … Lawmakers

The group that Congress is helping the most by lifting the FAA sequester isn’t business flyers. No, lawmakers are helping themselves. There is no more pampered class of air traveler than members of Congress… The point is, Congress’s decision to lift the sequester was even more self-serving than you probably imagined. After casting their votes on Friday, most members raced to the airport and went home.

— Joshua Green, noting in Businessweek that the decision to reverse the automatic cuts that were causing air-traffic controllers to be furloughed — delaying hundreds of flights — wasn’t about business air travelers.