It’s been something of a running gag, this “let’s tax everyone with a corporate jet” thing. First it was part of the pre-campaign “we’re only going to punish the rich people” speech, then it was part of the stump speech and then, miraculously, it somehow sneaked it’s way into the State of the Union address. And then there was that series of Jay Carney press briefings where he noted that you couldn’t ask seniors to give up bits and pieces of their Medicare coverage if you were also allowing corporate fat cats to privately jet around the country opening bottles of Ace of Spades using the backs of their Rolex watches.
Thankfully, according to the President, Senate Democrats have heard the President’s plea and closed that dastardly, economy-killing rich people loophole that allows private jets purchased as a corporate expense to depreciate over five years rather than the normal seven for commercial jets (thus allowing the owning corporation to take a slightly larger tax deduction per jet per year than, say, an airline that might use the same planes to fly commercial passengers, livestock or parcel post).
Or, at least, that’s what the administration would have you believe. As it turns out, the only plan currently in play to avoid the sequester is the plan drafted by the Senate Democrats. And that plan doesn’t eliminate the corporate jet loophole.
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?”
The only reason that anyone is even outraged over this is because it sounds terrible. Anyone with a twelfth grade civics education that includes the basics of the tax code, which is probably no one in this country given the quality of student vomited out of public schools at a regular interval, could recognize that this “loophole” is actually pretty lame, and would amount to very little generated revenue, or really any result at all except for more paperwork and a two-year-longer tax headache for the jet owners. But whatever, if the sequester isn’t stopped from going into effect, WE WILL ALL DIE SLOW, AGONIZING DEATHS of the sort we would have in 2007, had the federal spending limit never increased.
Of course, it’s not as though the Republicans are seizing on this opportunity to delineate themselves from the Democrats. This whole sequester thing is a giant lesson in how everyone can have basically the same totally awesome idea at the same time only to melt down in unison when the idea threatens to exact it’s fateful revenge, pointing fingers and scrabbling for the scariest possible public relations campaign. But it’s not like you don’t know you’re screwed no matter where you turn here. I just thought you might like a little reminding.