Despite the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) failure to prevent a major system error that caused chaos across the U.S. last week, White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese claims that investing in the FAA has “an enormous return,” and argued that the U.S. should invest more money in the agency.
Last week, the FAA’s Notice to Air Mission (NOTAM) alerts system — which provides pilots with crucial, real-time safety information about potential hazards — crashed because of a damaged database file, leading to the grounding of more than 4,600 flights in the United States.
The FAA’s inability to keep an important safety system up and running is completely unacceptable and just the latest example of dysfunction within the Department of Transportation.
The administration needs to explain to Congress what happened. https://t.co/VzNenjlqLI
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) January 11, 2023
Reacting to the failure, pilots have expressed their frustration with the FAA’s budget decisions — noting that the agency chose to allocate millions of dollars toward “inclusive” language, “racial equity,” “environmental justice” and “climate change” while neglecting to address much-needed system updates that could have potentially prevented the system crash.
INCLUSION OVER INFRASTRUCTURE: Jesse Watters rips FAA for pushing diversity and equity instead of fixing its outdated systems that grounded thousands of flights. pic.twitter.com/0crmGGlQS9
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 12, 2023
The FAA also spent millions of dollars on changing the name of the NOTAM system, which used to be called “Notice to Airman.”
“Recently, the agency spent a great deal of money and effort to take the word ‘man’ out of the title and instead call it ‘Notices to Air Missions,’” said Sal Lagonia, an aviation lawyer. “Documents had to be changed, to the new name, etc. Spend that effort and money on bolstering the systems that makes and keeps flying safe.”
Clearly, the FAA’s decision to focus their spending on woke ideology rather than crucial updates contradicts Deese’s insistence that investing in the FAA has “an enormous return” for Americans.
Nonetheless, the White House National Economic Council Director tried to push for additional investment during a Friday appearance on Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power.”
“It’s unambiguous that over the last decade, we have serially underinvested in core systems and processes that have an enormous return, return for the American people in terms of safety and economic activity,” he said, neglecting to mention that the FAA had money in the budget that they previously could have spent on these systems, but chose to spend it on non-essential woke budget items.
“And to your question of whether we can afford it, the irony is that these types of investments are exactly the ones that pay for themselves many times over,” Deese continued. “You take the investments in the IRS, building the kinds of systems to allow the IRS to make sure that people — particularly wealthy Americans — actually pay the taxes that they owe, has an enormous return. We end up reducing the deficit by generating significant revenue for every individual dollar that we invest in those programs. Similar is true in something like the FAA system.”
“Our nation, our economy, the safety of air travel, are [of] incredible value to the economy,” he added. “And so, these are high bang-for-the-buck investments. We’ve done too little of it in the past. The good news is that in important areas like the IRS, we finally have done that and are making progress. It would be a mistake to go backward, but there are other areas where we need to move forward, the FAA is one of them.”