In his press conference last week calling on congressional Republican to agree to token tax increases on the wealthy in the name of “shared sacrifice,” President Barack Obama mentioned the elimination of special tax treatment for corporate jets no less than six times in the space of 45 minutes. He returned to the subject repeatedly in ensuing days.
This harping on the corporate jet tax loophole is a red herring that only underscores the cynicism and hypocrisy of Obama and the Democratic Party. When the Democratic Party controlled the House and Senate with huge majorities in 2009 and 2010, the White House never seriously pushed for and Congress never approved any measures to limit the plundering of the public treasury by corporate interests.
One of the tax measures now proposed by the White House would limit the favorable tax treatment of the incomes of hedge fund managers, who pay only a 15 percent capital gains tax on their billion-dollar incomes, while ordinary working people pay 28 percent on their meager salaries. A proposal to change the tax treatment of hedge fund income when the Democrats controlled Congress was blocked by New York’s senior Democratic senator, Charles Schumer, a favorite of Wall Street and the hedge fund billionaires.
Likewise, the special tax subsidies for US oil companies, now a target of fake White House outrage, were adamantly defended by Democrat Mary Landrieu, the senior senator from Louisiana, a center of the oil-drilling industry.
As for the favorable tax treatment of corporations that purchase corporate jets for executive travel, representatives of the small jet industry lobby have pointed out that Obama himself was responsible for approving the tax break last year, when it was billed as a “stimulus” move that would give corporations an incentive to invest in “job creation.”