NASA used to send men to the moon and back.
Now it can’t send people to Colorado.
That’s the message of a front-page story in Monday’s New York Times that used NASA’s unwillingness to spring for a junket to the 29th Annual National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs in April as a doomsday example of the sequester’s ruthless impact on essential government functions.
The nut of the story: “Most government travel budgets have been cut this year by 30 percent, the result of an administration directive forcing managers to make difficult policy decisions about whom to send, where to send them and for how long. The result, agency officials say, is a government that cannot conduct essential business and is embarrassing itself abroad.”
If you read the article, though, the result is actually just the opposite, and one liberals are devoutly hoping Americans don’t figure out: The sequester is proving daily — hourly even — how much essential business can be conducted even while trying to cut costs.
(Rest easy. Even without NASA’s official representation, the National Space Symposium went on, with “Aliens” star SigourneyWeaver as its featured speaker. And somehow the Republic endures.)
“[T]housands of employees at scores of agencies are staying put, deskbound by the shrunken travel budgets,” The Times writes. “Many workers are under orders to trade in plane reservations for car rentals and even bus tickets.”
Try to imagine the debasement of a federal employee reduced to trading plane reservations for car rentals “and even bus tickets.” Bus tickets? And actually sit next to a fellow American who doesn’t work for the federal government? Who might not even shower?
Another example The Times tries to paint sympathetically is an Air Force Pentagon officer forced to rent a car twice this year instead of flying to Tennessee for training sessions.
The bill is now $350 round-trip, versus $1,600 to fly – a savings of $1,250. But all this officer can see is “the irony of driving to an airport to pick up a rental car and drive to another airport 500 miles away.”
“It is kind of baffling,” he told The Times.
If saving taxpayers $1,250 is “baffling,” let’s hope he isn’t in procurement.