So here’s a question for everyone who pays taxes. Working under the control of the Department of Transportation, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has the job of overseeing the safety of the skies. This means regulating both the airlines and the air traffic control system that tells the pilots where to fly once they get off the ground. You would always hope the government would spend the money to recruit the experts to get the job done. Except the Office of Special Counsel has just accused the FAA of consistently ignoring the reports of safety violations made by whistleblowers. No matter what you may think of the morality of those employees who go behind the backs of their employers, the Special Counsel has reported a significant number of instances where the FAA refused to act on the reports even though subsequent investigations showed serious safety problems. Further, many of the rule changes intended to respond to proven safety problems have proved unworkable, but there has been no effort made to modify them.
It’s significant that, among all government departments, the FAA has the highest number of whistleblower complaints. This reflects the importance of safety and the outrage of employees when they see no action taken to resolve those issues. So would you forego cheap air tickets. The fact that more needs to be spent on maintaining their fleet of planes by airlines makes this an interesting question.
We need more air traffic controllers and better equipment. The deficit and GOP refusals to increase taxes means the FAA will not get any new money. So should there be a surcharge on tickets? No more cheap air tickets but enough money to make the airplanes safer and to pay for more controllers. That actually sounds like quite a good deal. Everyone should accept the need to pay for increased safety. If the tax payers cannot be asked to pay, then the burden must fall on those who use the service. Those who choose to fly should pay to make their flights safer in the same way that the duty that is currently paid on gas prices helps to cover the costs of improving the roads that we use.