Democrats portray the Federal Aviation Administration funding flap as more Republican hostage-taking.
Meet our demands or we'll kill the FAA.
And so we have heard much about 4,000 furloughed FAA employees, 70,000 idled construction workers, $1.2 billion in lost tax revenues and quite possibly more dangerous skies.
The person blamed for this calamity is our very own U.S. Rep. John Mica, a regular one-man Tea Party terrorist cell.
There is a reason for the hyperbole. Democrats want to distract you from what is really going on because this self-inflicted wound is entirely their doing.
The flap is over federal subsidies for rural airports, known as the Essential Air Service program.
It began in 1978 when the feds deregulated airlines. The smaller, unprofitable rural airports were going to lose their service.
So the feds gave carriers cash incentives to continue flights.
The subsidies were supposed to last only 10 years as the airports weaned themselves off federal support. But, as always happens with government handouts, once they start they never stop. The politicians and their constituents get hooked on them.
We "risk shutting down our nation's aviation system," says West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller.
Mica, who leads the House Transportation Committee, targeted some of this waste in what usually is a uncontroversial funding extension for the FAA.
He eliminated 13 of 150 airports in the program, including two key ones: Pine County in Nevada and the Morgantown Municipal Airport in West Virginia.