The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Corporate Jets

No less than six different times during yesterday's news conference, President Obama suggested that we must—absolutely must—eliminate tax loopholes for the fat cats who own corporate jets. [It's worth noting in passing that an extension of the loophole for corporate jets was part of the President's very own stimulus bill in 2009]. No matter that eliminating these loop holes would result in a deficit reduction of 1/10th of 1 percent—symbols matter.

Okay, I get it.

So here’s a set of modest suggestions that will allow the President to create other symbolic cuts. The Executive Office of the President (EOP) currently employs 1800 people. How about a symbolic gesture of a 10 percent staff reduction—all in the name of decreasing the cost of government. After all, these bright, hard-driving folks at EOP will have no problem finding jobs in the private sector, and with a burdened pay rate of at least 100,000, that would save the federal government 18,000,000 bucks annually.

But lets not stop there. There are in the neighborhood of 30,000 employees in the legislative branch. You read that correctly—30,000. How about the President suggesting a 10 percent staff reduction to his Democratic colleagues and to the Republicans as well. After all, the best and the brightest who work for Congress would have no trouble landing a private sector job, would they? The savings—a cool $300 million annually.

Of course, I could go on to the various government departments where there are far too many political appointees and lifetime bureaucrats and not enough real work (plenty of made-up work, though) to keep them busy, but you get the point.

Or how about this? Most of Barack Obama’s admirers among the Hollywood A-list have acquired a wide array of tax loopholes that benefit the entertainment business. For example, deductible plastic surgery for actors or accelerated depreciation schedules for moguls. How about eliminating those?

Nah, strident class warfare is much more fun for the President. After all, corporate jet owners are such an easy target. The problem, I guess, is that the President is only too willing to look at the easy targets, but does not have the political courage or the leadership ability to address the difficult ones—you know, the spending cuts that will actually reduce the deficit in a meaningful way.

Update (6/30/11):

Even Gloria Borger of CNN (certainly no enemy of Barack Obama) is beginning to become frustrated with the President’s leadership approach:
What might actually have counted as news is if the president, as the nation's leader, had proposed a definitive way out of the budget mess -- or at least drawn some lines in the sand.

Instead, we learned that we need a "balanced approach" to the debt mess. That Obama is willing to "tackle entitlements" (presuming, of course, that nothing is done to touch Medicare beneficiaries). And that taxes -- the kinds that affect "millionaires and billionaires," corporate titans and their personal jets -- should be on the table.

Just for the record, getting rid of a tax break for corporate jets may be a fine idea, but it isn't going to solve the deficit problem since it will amount to only about $3 billion over the next decade. But it's a good line.

Earlier today on rabidly pro-Obama MSNBC, Mark Halperin of Time [a clear media friend of the President] referred to the President's demeaner during the news conference in markedly unflattering terms. He was pulled from the air.

Richard Fernandez of The Belmont Club provides useful insight: "A political enterprise is in real distress, not when it is attacked by its enemies which is normal, but when it can no longer be praised by its friends. And when those friends must deliver praise or respect through gritted teeth then the incipient trouble is all the greater."

The Obama presidency is in trouble, not because of the GOP "obstructionists" as the Left would have you believe, but because of the President's obvious inexperience, his extreme ideology, his hyper-partisan approach to just about everything, and his inability to lead all the American people. Even his friends are becoming disillusioned.