Forbes: FAA Sequester Furloughs Designed To Cause Maximum Pain

Steve Forbes & Art Laffer rip FAA air traffic controller furlough plan

Editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine Steve Forbes accused the FAA of politically engineering air traffic controller furloughs to cause maximum disruption Wednesday on "The Kudlow Report."

Former Reagan Economic Advisory Board member Art Laffer disagreed with Forbes' assessment that the furloughs were conceived politically, but noted if the administration wanted to stop them there are simple budgetary tools available to do so.

Both Laffer and Forbes agreed the lack of action by the administration to stop the FAA from instituting the furloughs is profoundly reckless considering the potential safety and economic consequences for air travelers:

LARRY KUDLOW: This just puts their budget back to 2010. Since 2008 the FAA has had a massive and I mean massive increase, multi-billion dollar increase in their budget. We're not playing small potatoes here. 15,000 controllers, by the way, roughly half the agency. Again, they could all be financed by this user fee tax. As a former bureaucrat in OMB, there's two words I want to put on the table "reprogram" and "subaccounts." In other words, the executive agencies can take the big accounts and divide them into subaccounts. They can do that under the sequester, and inside those sub accounts, they can reprogram how monies are spent. That's all they have to do, subaccounts can be reprogrammed.

ART LAFFER: That's what I was saying, they could solve it in two seconds, by just changing the subaccounts and putting them where the funds are, from green energy or from wherever the funds are. This is the one area they should not sacrifice the air track controllers, because this is critical of the nation's business. If you look at the economy, I can't imagine anything worse than could be done to damage the U.S. economy than to pulling back air traffic controllers and, God forbid, Larry, if we should have an accident because of this and there should be some sort of retribution. I just don't know why they do this type of stupid thing.