Over the last few weeks, Barack Obama and his White House has pushed the curious notion that the entire problem with the federal budget could be solved if we just stopped protecting the filthy rich and their tax breaks for corporate jets. “What we don’t want to do,” Obama told KAKE in Wichita in explaining why he wants more revenue rather than spending cuts, “is give somebody who’s buying a corporate jet an extra tax break.” Jay Carney followed that up by accusing House Republicans of protecting these fat-cat high flyers:
“[Republicans] are not willing to protect the jobs of what the CBO predicts could be up to 750,000 Americans by asking oil and gas companies to forgo their taxpayer subsidies, or corporate jet owners to give up their special tax break,” Carney said sharply during a White House press briefing. “They’re not willing to do that. And this is very disappointing.”
Say, just how many corporate jets get sold, anyway? There must be fleets of them every day rolling off showroom floors, if this is really the biggest obstacle to a balanced budget. Actually, that’s nonsense; the tax break to which Obama and Carney refer amounts to around $300 million a year in lost revenue, under static tax analysis. The current deficit is around a trillion dollars, which means closing this loophole would solve 0.03% of the annual budget gap. On the bright side, the other 99.97% won’t seem as tough from, er, 30,000 feet.
So just how hard are Democrats at work attempting to impose this 0.03% solution to the budget crisis? That’s what ABC’s Jon Karl wanted to know, and found that the Senate’s version of the sequester has the same tax break (via Instapundit):
Listening to the White House, you might think that the “balanced” Democratic plan to avert the spending cuts would close that loophole for private jets.
But you would be wrong.
The Senate Democratic plan – which has been endorsed by the White House and is, in fact, the only Democratic plan actively under consideration right now – doesn’t touch corporate jets.
We asked Carney if the White House is upset that the Senate Democrats’ plan protects corporate jets. His answer:
“Our position – in the president’s plan that has been available for ages but republicans and some reporters pretend doesn’t exist – is that the corporate jet loophole should be eliminated. We’d be fine if it were eliminated as part of the revenue component of a sequester buy-down or as part of broader tax reform in a bigger balanced deficit reduction deal. Either way. And either way, Republicans oppose it, and would rather see sequester hit than ask corporate jet owners to give up their special tax break. How is that not true?”
Er, because that tax break very clearly isn’t on the table at all, that’s how. It literally has nothing to do with the sequester. Neither party has made it an issue in actual legislative language, probably because it’s a ridiculous point in a standoff over $85 billion in spending reductions. It’s 0.36% of that total. As far as the tax breaks for oil companies to which Carney alludes, there are some differences between the two chambers, but the Senate doesn’t eliminate those tax breaks, either. They cut $2 billion more than the current sequester and the House proposal (passed twice now), but that’s only 2.4% of the sequester cuts, too.
The bluster from the White House leaves 97.3% of the sequester cuts unaddressed. It’s sheer demagoguery, and ignorant demagoguery at that, given their lack of curiosity over what Obama’s own party was proposing in the Senate. If they’re this clueless on that point, why should anyone give them credibility over the rest of their hysteria?