A number of years ago I took my one and only ride on a corporate jet, which was owned by Metromedia, the diversified conglomerate that operated radio and TV stations as well as several restaurant chains.
It was a three-stop excursion over a two-day period complete with gourmet meals and free-flowing champagne, and I'll say for the record that it didn't suck.
I also came to the realization that - save hitting the Powerball jackpot - at an editor's salary there was a high probability I would not own one anytime soon.
Good thing too because owners of such capricious flying machines are now going to have to pay more for that privilege, according to the White House. Apparently to help reduce the deficit, the administration has placed jet owners, hedge-fund managers and of course, oil companies into its higher taxation crosshairs as part of the budget deal as the administration seeks to add $2.4 trillion to the debt ceiling.
"You'll still be able to ride on your corporate jet, you'll just have to pay a little more," the nation's chief executive stated.
Wait, stop me if you've sort of heard this one before.
Let's go back to 1990 when Bush the elder occupied the Oval Office and in a deal with lawmakers, passed a 10-percent luxury tax on yachts.
Does that ring a faint bell?
When the tax was repealed in 1993 by a lopsided bi-partisan vote, it had by then badly bruised the private boat building industry in the U.S. According to the numbers some 25,000 jobs were lost and sales of luxury boats dropped roughly 70 percent the first year the tax was enacted.
But back to the present.
Recently, one high-profile business writer and commentator wrote that if you eliminated the tax break - called "accelerated depreciation " of corporate jets, it would shave .03 percent, or $3 billion. I'm not an economist, but I'll go out on a limb and predict that won't put much of a dent in anything.
After skimming through whatever online research was available I have found that the prices of corporate jets begin anywhere from $3 million and can climb exponentially from there. The annual upkeep and maintenance can average from $250,000 to over a half-million.
So then why as part of Obama's plan to hike taxes on millionaires and billionaires are the rich defined (in tiny print of course) as those individuals making $200,000 or joint-filing couples making $250,000?
Of my math is correct, that wouldn't even pay for one year's worth of corporate jet upkeep.
Look at it this way, every dollar the federal government takes in with higher taxes is money that taxpayers cannot spend or for that matter invest.
But to be fair, I'm not going to jump on the GOP bandwagon by certifying that all corporate tax breaks are well-deserved nor do I believe that each and every tax cut we have enacted has been wildly beneficial.
But I don't believe that stoking the embers of class warfare, which seems to be a frequent theme for this administration will help break a budget impasse before the August 2 deadline.
It's going to be a long summer both on the ground and perhaps up in the air as well.
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