Again with the meat cleaver

Partisan politics shares a unique attribute with the game of chicken: It is possible for both sides to lose.

This observation came to us as we boned up on the week's big news in Washington: the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that were supposed to be so dire and damaging that neither the Republicans nor the Democrats would allow them to happen.

It appears that the Republicans and Democrats may allow them to happen after all, evidently giving each side the opportunity to blame the other for not blinking.

In the meantime, the citizenry and the business community are apparently expected to brace for impact.

For travel, this means budget cuts affecting air traffic control, airport security screening, customs inspections at ports of entry, passport and visa processing, plus the maintenance of national parks and other public lands.

In short, look for a degraded travel experience, certainly with respect to air travel, plus reduced federal spending on travel and reduced business travel by companies that do business with the government.

It's going to be ugly, but if the past is any guide it will be temporary, and the politicians will eventually come to their senses, cobble together another ugly compromise, and the economy will muddle through, travel will rebound, and the politicians will hope that we forget about it by the next election.

Maybe, this time, we should try not to forget.
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