The whole problem is ‘tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires’

This “post-partisan” president was going to “bring us all together,” some may recall.

But at his press conference last Wednesday, President Obama said: “If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, … then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship. That means we’ve got to stop funding certain grants for medical research. That means that food safety may be compromised. … Before we cut our children’s education, … I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well to give up a tax break that no other business enjoys. … And I’ve said to some of the Republican leaders, you go talk to your constituents, the Republican constituents, and ask them are they willing to compromise their kids’ safety so that some corporate jet owner continues to get a tax break.”

So only rich Republicans fly in private jets? Leaving aside what specific Constitutional authorization the central government has to use tax moneys to fund children’s schooling or medical research or “food safety” (hint: none), no big-time trial lawyer or union boss who helps finance the Democratic party uses a private jet? Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid don’t get ferried around the country in their Democratic constituents’ private jets?

Beyond that, claiming a depreciation allowance for a private jet somehow prevents “the rich” from paying “enough” taxes to finance some government program that supposedly promotes “kids’ safety” — despite the fact we have today by far the largest federal budget in history?

Responds the left-wing Washingtpon Post, which endorsed candidate Obama:

“THE FACTS: Obama mentioned the tax break on corporate jets six times, enough so a viewer might think eliminating it would be offer significant savings to the government.

“The benefit, which relates to how corporations write off the value of private jets, is worth just about $3 billion over 10 years, according to Republican congressional aides. The White House doesn’t dispute the figure. That pales next to the $400 billion or so in additional tax revenue Democrats have proposed in budget negotiations, and it’s negligible compared with the $2 trillion-plus Republicans want to cut to match a two-year increase in the debt ceiling. There is also no direct relationship between preserving that tax break and cutting spending in any particular budget area, despite Obama’s suggestion that federal programs for child safety would be at risk.

“Instead, Obama seemed intent on highlighting an area of spending that the public might view as particularly egregious in a faltering economy. …”

So even the Post identifies Mr. Obama’s rhetoric as class warfare. But they missed the biggest irony, here. Who proposed this “millionaires’ tax break”?

Lachlan Markey posted at a website Wednesday ( “The chief economic culprit of President Obama’s Wednesday press conference was undoubtedly ‘corporate jets.’ He mentioned them on at least six occasions, each time offering their owners as an example of a group that should be paying more in taxes.

“ ‘I think it’s only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well,’ the president stated at one point, ‘to give up that tax break that no other business enjoys.’

“But the corporate jet tax break to which Obama was referring — called ‘accelerated depreciation,’ and a popular Democratic foil of late — was created by his own stimulus package.”

When first proposed, Democratic proponents of the tax break lauded it as a means to spur economic activity by encouraging purchases of large manufactured goods (planes). “So the president’s statement today — and his call to repeal that tax break generally — is either a tacit admission that the stimulus included projects that did not, in fact, stimulate the economy, or an attempt to ‘soak the rich’ without regard for the policy’s effects on the economy,” Mr. Markay continues.

“For many Americans, those effects could be dramatic. Cessna and Gulfstream have facilities in a combined 15 cities nationwide (and another four abroad). A significant decline in consumption of private jets would undoubtedly have adverse effects on at least some of those local economies. Given the sizable bump in consumption that the initial tax break yielded, its repeal would likely have that economic domino effect.”

The Associated Press noted the tax break’s potential economic benefits in February, 2009: “Just a few months after lawmakers scolded auto executives for flying to Washington in private jets, Congress approved a tax break in the stimulus package to help businesses buy their own planes.

“The incentive — first used to help plane makers recover from the 2001 terror attacks — sharply reduces the up front tax bill for companies who buy assets like business planes.

“The aviation industry, which is cutting jobs as it suffers from declining shipments and canceled orders, hopes the tax break in the economic-stimulus bill just signed by President Barack Obama will persuade more companies to buy planes and snap a slump in general aviation that began last year.

“ ‘This is exactly the type of financial incentive that should be included in a stimulus bill,’ said Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan., in an interview. His state lost at least 6,900 jobs at Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft, both based in Wichita.

“The incentive — known as accelerated depreciation — lets companies take a larger deduction in the early years of the life of an asset such as a plane. …”

Of course, we know from Mr. Obama’s autobiographies that his capitalist-hating mentors included the radical organizer Saul Alinsky, the Rev. Jeremiah “God Damn America” Wright, and Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis. But consider the context. The White House is now involved in debt ceiling negotiations, hoping to win approval for even bigger Democratic spending. In a situation where any president might be expected to sweet-talk the (presumably) Republican business owners he hopes will create the jobs he so desperately needs for his re-election, this apparently involuntary falling back, six times in one press conference, on his deep-seated hostility to “the rich and their private planes,” verges on some political version of Tourette’s Syndrome, in which the afflicted can’t help themselves from blurting out off-putting obscenities at the most inappropriate times.

So the Obama administration hands out tax breaks for those who buy private jets … and then blames the recipients for somehow causing injuries and deaths to children when they do precisely what the administration hoped they would do: buy more American-built planes.

Would the president — who flies for free in the world’s largest personal jet — prefer they order their private jets from France?

And how, precisely, is it more objectionable to fly in privately owned planes purchased with earnings from voluntary business customers, than to fly in planes funded with money extracted from unwilling taxpayers under threat of imprisonment or worse?

4 Comments to “The whole problem is ‘tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires’”

  1. Thomas Mitchell Says:

    Nice phrase, I plan to steal it sometime: “verges on some political version of Tourette’s Syndrome.”

  2. Reis Kash Says:

    As one commentator said last week, “Why go into a detailed analysis of Obama when one word, (deleted), describes him perfectly.” While his wife and children and friends are on a tax payer extorted jet-set trip in and around Africa, while he and his wife jet up to New York for a night out or jet to Chi-town for their favorite pizza – all unearned, wasteful, and lottery-like loony – he critizes people who use the money they earn for facilitating their business through the greater efficiency of private owned aircraft use. The only problem I have with the one-word description of Obama is that it has a reference to manliness which is better suited to Michelle than to our Community Organizer in Chief.

    Reis Kash
    Springfield, Oregon

  3. Steve Says:

    Obama / Carter that is the comparison. Libs love to compare to Clinton but there is currently only one thing Obama has done that Clinton also accomplished. They both lost congress in the first 2 years of their terms.

    Is Lyndon Larouche too old to run? If not then how about Pat Paulson, at least he was kind of funny. Maybe his son Monty?

    The corporate jet thing is a detail, its going to take quite a few of these details to get to some real reduction if any at all have any chance to happen. We will need to look at the large items as well. One thing for certain is the spending must be curtailed to a reasonable degree if we are ever to see our future be somewhat secure. The road we are traveling is becoming very unsafe.

    We are the majority investors in this country today, foreign investment is about 20% while U.S. organizations and citizens are the rest. If that continues to slip to the point of our people starting to invest elsewhere in the majority it is over.

  4. Bruce Says:

    As I have said in the past why doesn’t Obama sell Airforce 1 and set an example, and how about the carbon footprint of Al Gore as he flies endlessly to warn people of the evils of, well, carbon. It’s all do as I say not as I do. Why don’t they offer us a tax reduction since they’re going to grab higher taxes from people who produce more? Because that extra money doesn’t amount to a hill of beans, just more mad money for the government. Time they got out of the way.