Evidence points to manipulation of furlough schedules to increase shortages and ramp up the tension. Like all government agencies (and private businesses, for that matter), costs can be cut in areas that don't lead to such pain. The FAA's approach is to take a 4 percent spending cut and turn that it into delays for 40 percent of flights.
The strategy is obvious: Inconvenience people to the point that they'll demand an end to sequestration by doing it Obama's way instead of Coburn's. Business fliers who depend on air travel for their living are especially vulnerable. Obama hopes they'll blame the Republicans. But a bipartisan plan has emerged to sequester the FAA from sequestration.
Obama could upgrade his image with a serious effort to cut spending and an equally serious effort to stop dividing the nation into those who don't get enough public benefits and those who don't pay enough taxes to cover those benefits. He won't. Obama doesn't lead. He divides.
Ronald Reagan led and united. When confronted with a decision by air traffic controllers to furlough themselves (go on strike), he fired them. Somehow, commercial aviation survived this real crisis solved by a real leader.
We're not sure how we'll fare in this manufactured crisis imposed by a man whose ideas are as appealing as a six-hour layover at the nearest hub.