Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Corporate Jets...Boo!

According to reports from people with more patience than I have, President Obama once again uttered the usage of "private jets" in his campaign budget speech last night. Private jets, you see, are an icon of corporate greed gone wild.

It is not, I suppose, that corporations who own such jets are evil from a generic standpoint, just that corporations that can afford to own such jets by definition do not pay enough in taxes. Here are some choice quotes from Mr. Obama about corporate jets in a recent speech:

“It would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that the tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we’re not willing to come to the table and get a deal done.” President Obama
"You'll still be able to ride on your corporate jet. You're just going to have to pay a little more." President Obama
[wishing to close] "egregious loopholes that are benefiting corporate jet owners or oil companies at a time where they're making billions of dollars in profits." President Obama
We're getting the point...the jets themselves are not evil, but those brazen enough to own one (and those politicians who are doubly brazen for standing up for those who do own one) are choosing to toss the elderly to the dogs so that caviar and champagne can be savored at 30,000 feet.

This is not the first time that the evil rich have been singled out for their tastes toward the expensive--never mind that corporate jets are used primarily to transport high paid executives from city to city at the company's own cost to conduct the company's own business, rather than blathering Commanders In Chief who enjoy the same sort of globetrotting but instead are tucked comfortably inside the taxpayer provided cabin of Air Force One.

No, toward the end of George HW Bush's single term in office, he broke his lukewarm pledge of "no new taxes" by, among other things, targeting items of excessive value purchased by the rich. These luxury taxes targeted furs, jewelry, yachts, private planes and automobiles all priced above a certain threshold.

Less than two years later the luxury yacht industry estimated layoffs of about 25,000. That is, there were 25,000 fewer people making good money in the boat building industry (and paying no income taxes on that good money earned in the boat building industry) so that people purchasing boats built by the boat building industry and priced at more than $100,000, would kick in an extra 10% to the government to help cover the costs accrued by the government due to higher unemployment levels in the boat building industry.

While that lesson may not have been learned by our current President, those people who work within the corporate jet industry are definitely taking notice.
Gov. Sam Brownback led a news conference in Wichita on Wednesday criticizing Obama's remarks.

The governor said at least 30,000 people in Kansas are employed by the aviation industry, and more than 40 percent of general aviation aircraft around the world is built in Kansas. Wichita is home to manufacturing plants for Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier, along with roughly 200 parts suppliers who depend on them.
Obama seems to believe that taxing the bejeebus out of items that most people cannot afford is an attractive way to promote class warfare, it is not painless to those whose jobs are washed away in the wake of the punishment. You see, these punitive actions tend to spread out beyond their intended targets.

Higher taxes on certain items will change the purchasing behavior of consumers. They buy fewer of the items, find additional means to lower the tax burden, or seek out jurisdictions where the tax bite is not so punitive. One need look no farther than the actions of a very enlightened and progressive former democratic candidate for president to see that this is true.

The corporations that own corporate jets pay billions a year in taxes and provide millions of jobs to employees that also pay billions a year in taxes. The corporations that design and manufacture corporate jets pay millions a year in taxes and employe tens of thousands of people who also pay millions a year in taxes. The tens of thousands of employees of corporate jet manufactures spend millions of dollars a year in restaurants and hotels, in food and in apparel, in appliances and automobiles. Companies that provide hospitality services, household goods, and durable items in turn pay billions and employ millions. (Rumor has it that some of these companies also happen to own corporate jets.)

Are these not good things?

As Americans, we should celebrate the iconic corporate jet for the wealth creation and employment that it represents. We should celebrate a society that allows the most inventive and innovative among us to make millions of dollars while they provide the rest of us with gainful employment, a life more comfortable than that enjoyed by our parents, and the opportunity to slice out our own little part of the American dream.

The White House does not celebrate such icons but instead wants to change American society by vilifying and dismantling the apparatus that allows such wealth and private employment to exist.

It is said that those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. I think that Barack Obama and his progressive minions know their taxation history. They simply like what they have seen.

1 comment:

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