The Daily Caller’s Caroline May reports that the jet industry is furious over President Obama’s most recent class warfare screed:
Much has been made of President Barack Obama’s repeated demonizing of corporate jets and the people who fly on them in his June 29th press conference.
While pundits and politicians haggle over whether alterations in the depreciation schedule of corporate jets will actually have an impact on the deficit, those in the general aviation trenches are furious.
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPO) President Craig Fuller told The Daily Caller that Obama’s comments have cast a pall over the industry, causing many who were considering buying a plane to back away from making a purchase.
“The industry has suffered terribly in the last two and a half years and it has just started to recover. Most of the signs were starting to look good,” said Fuller. “We are so angry as an industry and we have all come together to try to bring a more fair and balanced description to the debate.”
In response to Obama’s press conference, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) issued a letter to the president. The two organizations challenged the administration’s rhetoric and recalled a similar instance in which 20,000 IAM workers were laid off as a result of “ill-informed criticism of corporate jets and business aviation” and the 2008 downturn.
“Words have consequences and, in this industry, a few misguided words can put at risk even the ever-so-modest recovery we have experienced,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger. “What this industry and its workforce requires is more time to recover, a chance to book more orders and the opportunity to recall more workers.”
The president himself saw a benefit in providing tax breaks for corporate jets just in the past couple of years, signing two pieces of legislation that contained such provisions: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the Small Business Lending Fund Act.
Indeed, one of of the greatest perks of being president is flying in the most private jet of all, Air Force One. According to Fuller, Obama has flown Air Force One more than any other president in history.
Indeed, it’s good to be king. Unfortunately for the rest of us, the Obama Administration has accumulated an extensive and sordid record of picking “winners” (to be awarded crony status and showered with tax credits, subsidies, political influence, regulatory waivers, etc.) and “losers” (to be punished with punitive taxation, increased regulation, government scrutiny, and castigation via popular culture). And when the President publicly adds an industry to the “losers” list, people connected to that industry get really scared. And angry. Even the unions. (Are you paying attention here, Mr. President?)
Of course none of this should be “unexpected.” After President Roosevelt emerged victorious in the 1936 Presidential elections, he began to flex his political muscles by introducing a vast array of new government programs, new taxes for business (the Social Security payroll tax and a new “undistributed profits” tax) and expanded government regulatory power. His National Labor Relations Board oversaw an unprecedented expansion of labor union power and subsequent demands for significant wage and benefit increases. Together, these new policies and taxes created a very difficult climate for hiring and business investment. The economy contracted significantly in 1937, culminating in a major stock market sell-off that erased most of the gains made in the modest recovery that had been underway since 1934. Making matters worse, after the economy faltered Roosevelt began targeting the remaining profitable business sectors with a series of Federal antitrust lawsuits.
Today we are seeing the result of a very obvious pattern that began with the Roosevelt Administration and continues under the presidency of Barack Obama — when the government decides to abandon its Constitutional role as an impartial entity that enforces laws and contracts as fairly as possible, and instead chooses to become a proactive adversary of certain business sectors, the overall economy will suffer. This is because under such a regime, no one can know for certain who will be the next target in the government’s cross hairs. Consequently, business managers stop focusing on “how do we grow our business?” and instead make decisions based on their single biggest fear: “how do we avoid being the next government target?”
This is where we are right now. Where we will be in the near future will be decided on November 6, 2012.