PICKET: Obama hits private jet owners again at Denver debate

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President Barack Obama referenced corporate jet owners during a discussion on taxes at the Denver debate on Wednesday when he said, “If you’ve got a corporate jet, you can probably afford to pay full freight.” This is not the first time the president criticized private jet owners. During a June 29, 2011 press conference he went after private jet owners and mentioned them six times. :

There’s been a lot of discussion about revenues and raising taxes in recent weeks, so I want to be clear about what we’re proposing here.  I spent the last two years cutting taxes for ordinary Americans, and I want to extend those middle-class tax cuts.  The tax cuts I’m proposing we get rid of are tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires; tax breaks for oil companies and hedge fund managers and corporate jet owners.  

        It would be nice if we could keep every tax break there is, but we’ve got to make some tough choices here if we want to reduce our deficit.  And if we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, 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.  That means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden.  Those are the choices we have to make.

        So the bottom line is this:  Any agreement to reduce our deficit is going to require tough decisions and balanced solutions.  And before we ask our seniors to pay more for health care, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitment to the research and innovation that will help create more jobs in the economy, 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.  I don’t think that’s real radical.  I think the majority of Americans agree with that.

According to a 2009 Associated Press piece, however, Obama’s own stimulus plan included tax breaks to promote private jet sales. : (H/T The Heritage Foundation)

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.Companies will have to place orders by the end of 2009, and those planes will need to be delivered by the end of 2010 to take advantage of the tax benefit.

First used in the months following 9/11, an industry study found accelerated depreciation helped boost sales by 43 percent, and later contributed an additional $2 billion in sales when implemented again in 2003.

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About the Author
Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket

Kerry Picket, a former Opinion Blogger/Editor of The Watercooler, was associate producer for the Media Research Center, a content producer for Robin Quivers of "The Howard Stern Show" on Sirius satellite radio and a production assistant and copy writer at MTV.

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