Obamateurism of the Day

This week, Barack Obama opened up an air war … on Republicans. In his press conference, Obama made six references to tax breaks for corporate jet owners and the taxes they’re supposedly avoiding as if the $300 million each year that it represents would balance the budget. What Obama failed to mention in his sorties over the GOP was that it was his own stimulus package that extended those tax breaks, first created by George Bush after 9/11 to help boost airplane manufacturers:

The pedantic complaint is that Heritage’s original post incorrectly implied that Obama had concocted the idea himself. In fact, he merely extended the accelerated depreciation provision for “corporate jets.” But that doesn’t change the fact that President Obama railed six times yesterday against a tax break that exists in law today because of his signature.

Heritage’s Mike Gonzales has posted the official reply:

So, yes, obviously, if we could write it again, we would say “re-authorized” not “created.” To the writer over at Media Matters who said we should issue a “sweeping correction” we recommend switching to decaf. President Obama did create the Stimulus, which did include a tax break for the purchase of private jets. That failed bill only received three Republican congressional votes.

The jet tax provision is not a serious issue ($3 billion over ten years?), and Obama’s repeated mention of it demonstrates he is not serious about deficit reduction. It just adds icing to the cake that it exists in law today only because of his signature.

If that was all that was wrong with this attack, it would still make a great OOTD, but there’s more.  Charles Krauthammer put the potential revenue from eliminating this tax credit into its proper context (at the Heritage link):

“I did the math on this. If you collect the corporate jet tax every year for the next 5,000 years, you will cover one year of the debt that Obama has run up. One year.

“To put it another way, if you started collecting that tax at the time of John the Baptist and you collected it every year — first in shekels and now in dollars — you wouldn’t be halfway to covering one year of the amount of debt that Obama has run up.”

Bear in mind that Obama referenced this tax six times as an example of what was holding up a balanced budget.  Put it another way: the $3 billion in 10 years that we would save from its elimination equals everything Obama spent on Cash for Clunkers in three weeks.

But that’s still not the best part of this OOTD.  Since Obama is busily demonizing corporate-jet owners for taking those tax credits, will he go to Missouri and campaign against this one?

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) said Monday she will sell her private plane and pay back $287,273 in four years of back taxes, the latest chapter in a politically embarrassing saga for the moderate Democrat facing a tough reelection battle in 2012.

McCaskill has been answering questions about the plane since POLITICO recently reported that she billed taxpayers for a political trip around Missouri. POLITICO also reported that McCaskill spent $76,000 from her Senate budget on trips on the aircraft over the past four years, prompting the senator to refund the Treasury Department more than $88,000 for the cost of the trips plus pilot fees.

McCaskill’s announcement Monday is the latest twist in a political scandal that has dogged her for the past two weeks. The expensive fiasco clashes with her self-made image as a reformer and good-government advocate during her first term in the Senate. McCaskill has now shelled out more than $375,000 in payments to cover the cost of the plane flights and back taxes, a series of events the senator herself has called “embarrassing.”

Thanks to Obama, Missouri Republicans can cut a whole series of ads for their campaign against McCaskill in 2012.  Not only were she and her husband examples of those dastardly corporate-jet owners, they didn’t even bother paying the taxes they did owe until they got caught.

Smooth move!


Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

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