Dr. Krauthammer on Pres. Obama’s attack on “corporate jets”

Were Charles Krauthammer to run for President I might just vote for him.  Just think of the great press conferences and State of the Union addresses.

Yesterday, Dr. K had provide Special Report on Fox News Channel a blistering and at the same time hilarious analysis of something Pres. Obama claimed during his seemingly endless press conference, which I watch for penance for my many sins.

I wanted a video but NRO transcribed it, ne pereat.

From Wednesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On President Obama’s attack on the corporate jet tax break to achieve debt reduction:

He himself, as we just heard, said you can’t reduce the deficit to the levels we need without raising revenues. Then he talks about the [tax break for] corporate jets, which he mentioned not once but six times.

I did the math on this. If you collect the corporate jet tax every year for the next 5,000 years, you will cover one year of the debt that Obama has run up. One year.

To put it another way, if you started collecting that tax at the time of John the Baptist and you collected it every year — first in shekels and now in dollars — you wouldn’t be halfway to covering one year of the amount of debt that Obama has run up.

As for the other one, he mentions again and again, the oil depreciation tax break — if you collect that one for 700 years, you won’t cover a year of Obama deficits.

And then here’s my favorite. I worked it out in the car on the way here. If you collect the corporate jets and the oil tax together — get all the bad guys and the fat cats at once — and you collect it for 100 years, it covers the amount of debt Obama added… in February!

And he pretends that he’s the serious adult at the table.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. aladextra says:

    I assume you weren’t aware that Krauthammer is pretty ardently pro-abortion, and was particularly active in the battle to get the government to pay for embryo-destructive research. He has some interesting things to say, but I find it hard to look past someone being so far off base on these moral issues. On the prudential issues, he’s a bit too much of a warmonger for my tastes. He’s argued for various tax increases as well. He’s textbook neocon with a holier-than-thou attitude. But I guess a blind pig finds a mushroom, this one’s spot on. [And yet what you have written has little much to do with what he said. Interesting.]

  2. EXCHIEF says:

    Not only that but the Obamination is the one who gave the tax break for corporate jets. He can’t keep his lies straight on his best day—and there are not many of those.

  3. pbewig says:

    In the first place, it is up to the shareholders of a business to determine if a business jet makes sense. If it does, the managers of the business will be more productive by spending less time travelling around their businesses, profits will increase, and the shareholders will be happy. If it does not, the shareholders will find someone else to manage their business at the next annual election.

    In the second place, the same section of the tax law that allows accelerated depreciation on business jets also allows accelerated depreciation on all business assets. That law spurs investment in productive equipment, which increases the productivity of workers, makes goods cost less, and speeds the economic recovery of the country.


  4. Elizabeth D says:

    It seems to me just a form of luxury tax. It might be a drop in the bucket in relation to the national debt, but if it is thought of as paying for programs that help the poor or the sick, that seems very consistent with the social doctrine of the Church. If I recall correctly Caritas in Veritate even contains the phrase (which sounds daring or radical to us) “redistribution of wealth”, while speaking of how government can be a means to aid the disadvantaged. Please, let us be just as Catholic in our embrace of the social doctrine of the Church as in our embrace of other areas of morality. I don’t mean Catholics are obliged to want to tax corporate jets, but it seems a healthy option.

  5. Ezra says:

    Krauthammer on “Gibson’s Blood Libel” (that’s The Passion of the Christ to you and me):

    The blood libel that this story affixed upon the Jewish people had led to countless Christian massacres of Jews and prepared Europe for the ultimate massacre — 6 million Jews systematically murdered in six years — in the heart, alas, of a Christian continent. It is no accident Vatican II occurred just two decades after the Holocaust, indeed in its shadow. Which is what makes Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ” such a singular act of interreligious aggression. He openly rejects the Vatican II teaching and, using every possible technique of cinematic exaggeration, gives us the pre-Vatican II story of the villainous Jews. His Leni Riefenstahl defense — I had other intentions — does not wash. Of course he had other intentions: evangelical, devotional, commercial. When you retell a story in which the role of the Jews is central, and take care to give it the most invidious, pre-Vatican II treatment possible, you can hardly claim, “I didn’t mean it.”

    Gibson’s personal interpretation is spectacularly vicious. Three of the Gospels have but a one-line reference to Jesus’s scourging. The fourth has no reference at all. In Gibson’s movie this becomes 10 minutes of the most unremitting sadism in the history of film.

  6. ContraMundum says:

    Obama deficits? Um, just where to spending bills originate? Not in the executive branch. Sure, he can send in a request, but so can Fr. Z or I.

    Most of the budget consists of spending that was either originated by Republicans or continued by them.

    Being loose with the taxpayers’ money is not a right/left, Republican/Democrat issue. A pox on both their houses!

  7. Mark01 says:

    I happen to be an engineer for Gulfstream. I can tell you that the design, manufacture, and maintenance of corporate jets creates a lot of good paying American jobs. Please don’t do anything that would hurt the business that puts food on my family’s table just because the government can’t be responsible in it’s spending and isn’t willing to make the hard choices it needs to make in order to reduce the debt. This would be a drop in the ocean.

  8. Luke says:


    Last year alone 3000 cancer patients flew to and from their treatments, free of charge, on corporate jets through the Corporate Jet Angel Network. Free. When’s the last time our President offered an empty seat on Air Force One to do the same.

    On this issue I agree with Dr. K; Obama is clearly not the adult at the table.

  9. digdigby says:

    Elizabeth D-


  10. Ed the Roman says:

    By all means let’s tax small jet aircraft. We might lose almost as much revenue as when large yachts were taxed, and lose nearly as many jobs.

    Do people think that those who are on the fence about buying aircraft won’t change their minds if the price goes up 30%? Are things like yachts and jets only bought by people for whom no amount of money is any object?

  11. robtbrown says:

    Elizabeth D says:

    It seems to me just a form of luxury tax . . . I don’t mean Catholics are obliged to want to tax corporate jets, but it seems a healthy option.

    As noted above, corporate jets exist to maximize productivity. Do realize what a waste it would be for Ford’s Alan Mulally to spend time waiting for an airline connection?

  12. robtbrown says:

    ContraMundum says:

    Obama deficits? Um, just where to spending bills originate? Not in the executive branch. Sure, he can send in a request, but so can Fr. Z or I.

    Obama came in with a Dem House and Senate.

    Most of the budget consists of spending that was either originated by Republicans or continued by them.

    Isn’t that what they arguing about now?

  13. robtbrown says:

    Obama seems to me someone not as smart as advertised and with zip in Executive experience. He took too much for granted with the semi-stimulating stimulus and now seems to be floundering. More and more, I appreciate Reagan.

  14. robtbrown says:

    The talk of corporate jets reminds me that I knew a priest in Rome who had worked for GE in jet engine development and was in the engineering hall of fame. He never married, retired at 55 and studied for the priesthood. For many years he was still on consulting status, now and then taking phone calls in Rome from GE. He told me that once when he was in a parish near Chicago, GE called him, saying they needed his presence. An executive jet was sent.

    He laughed, shook his head, saying there he was in the jet, wearing clerical clothes, with a steward cooking dinner for him.

  15. Elizabeth D says:

    I refer to the social doctrine of the Church and “Caritas in Veritate” and I get quoted at me the Commandment against stealing? If I have misunderstood what these intend to say, then help me to understand better, but I doubt the Church teaches that luxury taxes and the like are “stealing”. I would think that there are less expensive ways for business people to travel than on a private jet. I would think that possibly even all the corporate travelers went on commercial airlines and also bought 3000 extra fares for cancer patients, they would still be saving money versus the cost of a corporate jet, which is probably not usually saving money, but a matter of convenience, prestige, comfort etc.

  16. digdigby says:

    Elizabeth D –
    You wish to tell other people what they should and should not do with THEIR money and THEIR jets. And THEIR charitable acts don’t meet with your approval. If ‘income redistribution via Big Government’ is a vital Church social teaching, I’m Sister Wendy.

  17. donantebello says:

    Will cool objectivity it can be fairly said that President Obama’s speeches could be used as a textbook for how to use such fallacies as: non sequitur, the straw man, and the “Least Possible Hypothesis” (LPH ex. “I can’t find my briefcase….a fairy must have stolen it!”)

    His rhetoric and demagoguery is spiraling to the ludicrous depths of a two bit third world socialist dictator.

    I’m looking forward to 2013 to see him building Habitat For Humanity houses to his heart’s content.

  18. aladextra says:

    Father- my comment was in response to your praise of Krauthammer personally, specifically the first line of your post which opened the comments up to general comments on Krauthammer.

  19. jflare says:

    I could be wrong, but I understood Fr’s comment to be one braced with a healthy dose of sarcastic wit.
    BTW, we’re talking about Charles Krauhammer, the commentator on Fox News, right? I didn’t know he’d earned a PhD…. Anyway, while I usually cannot agree with his conclusions regarding what ought to be done, he DOES seem to comprehend current events in a manner that’s pretty intelligent. He’s usually very good at highlighting the lunacy of various proposals.
    …Like this one….

  20. Joan M says:

    Elizabeth D says: I would think that there are less expensive ways for business people to travel than on a private jet. …….. the cost of a corporate jet, which is probably not usually saving money, but a matter of convenience, prestige, comfort etc.

    Elizabeth – probably the most money being saved is the waste of the time of corporate executives not being subjected to many hours of waiting for onward connections and flights at inconvenient times. Corporate jets can save millions in a year by being able to schedule business trips that save days that would be lost in (a) check in time at airports; (b) scheduled flight departures that are inconvenient; (c) eliminating connecting flights; (d) additional hotel nights and meals, to say the least. In addition, and probably even greater savings, is having the executives actually available when and where they are needed without all the rigmarole involved in scheduled flights. Their salaries are more than the cost of the corporate jet!

    For any good sized corporation with locations on other continents, one or more corporate jet(s) is not a luxury, it is a necessity. I’ve never been in a position to have flown in one, having been only part of management in a branch. Corporate jets are, indeed, a convenience – a necessary one. Symbols of prestige and comfort – probably, but that is not the reason for the vast majority of them.

  21. albizzi says:

    Nobody is able to bring the national debts under control because they are too huge.
    So huge that theywill blow up all the world’s economies
    Here in France the debt was small in the very early eighties. It began to grow at the crazy rate of 1 billion € PER WEEK when the left came to power (1981), to reach currently the isane amount of €1500 (abt $ 1900 billions).
    Each year the French state gives € 70 billions as interests to the lenders. This amout equals that of the yearly income tax of the whole country.
    Doesn’t look crazy enough?

  22. Kerry says:

    “… but if it is thought of as paying for programs…” Yes, Christ himself said, “And when you give, do not give privately, but publicly, loudly, pointing at the great Self Himself, whom you are, and confiscate whatsoever you are able from whomsoever you might slander, and denigrate, that your days in office be lengthened, for the elected.”

    (Eliz D, while it will seem I am taking shots at you, I truly am not. The Constitution enumerates and limits very clearly the powers given to the three branches of government. Just because something may be thought of in a certain way does not give warrant to go beyond the specified limits. Congress has the power to authorize spending. The Senate may concur or oppose. The President can sign or veto. If he signs, he is, in effect, signaling agreement for such spending, except if he can blame it on someone else later. See Krauthammer, syndrome, Bush derangement.)

  23. ckdexterhaven says:

    Obama went on and on about a “jet” problem, when he should have been talking about our “debt” problem.

    To be honest, I can’t quote the Vatican on Caritates in Veritate, but I do know that there are a lot of people who would love to have jobs building evil corporate jets. Once those people do have jobs, they might not be poor, AND they might in turn even donate to the poor! The people who fly on corporate jets, usually land in smaller FBO’s. FBO’s rely on gas sales for their business. FBO’s hire people to fill gas tanks, set up computer stations for the pilots to work on. There are pilots who fly corporate jets who will lose their jobs.

  24. chcrix says:

    Mr. Obama and Mr. Krauthammer are simply different faces of the same coin: an establishment liberal from the corrupt Chicago democratic political machine and a neo-con shill pretending to be an ‘alternative’ from the dried husk which is what is left of the republican party.

    Until the debate moves beyond the limits established by these poseurs and mountebanks there is really no point in worrying about what any of them say.

  25. jarhead462 says:

    jflare- Charles Krauhammer is an M.D.

    Semper Fi!

  26. Elizabeth D says:

    Digdigby, my point is not to tell people to have a corporate jet or not but to point out that it seems to me to be a luxury. I am very surprised by the attitudes about this.

    The social doctrine of the Church defends private property and also says that because of the principle of the “universal destination of goods” (God made the goods of the world to benefit all people) all that we have that we don’t need for the legitimate needs of ourselves or our dependents belongs by right to the poor. This is a remarkable moral standard. The intent would seem to be above all that justice calls for we ourselves to recognize this and freely “redistribute” our own wealth to those in need rather than hoarding it for ourselves or living luxuriously. However, there are ends best reached by means of government and the Church is not against taxation, including taxing the wealthy at a higher rate than the poor. The poor are using most or all of their income on the necessities of life. I live on disability and have made 2 plane journeys in the last 10 years, to visit family. It was much more convenient than taking Grehound and might have even saved me money. I guess it is not easy to imagine people whose time is so valuable they are losing money if they wait for a connecting flight, but those do seem like perhaps people who can afford a tax.

  27. ecs says:

    Elizabeth D –

    Your point about the social doctrine of the Church is a legitimate point. However, two things. First, it is out of place in the context of Fr. Z’s post or Krauthammer’s remarks. There is a larger point being made which is entirely separate from the single issue of whether we should or should not tax corporate jets. And that larger point is that this president has completely abdicated his responsibility in leading this country and that in the context of the current budget debate his comments during that press conference were absurd, if not insane.

    Second, your point misses because in this day in age of ever expanding and ever centralizing statism any notion of solidarity is basically corrupted beyond recognition before it ever realizes its stated goal. Solidarity under the current national and international environment leads to nothing more than tyranny and at best the soft despotism of the Obama regime or the U.N. and at worst the hard despotism of North Korea or China. For us to ever be in a position to respond to the just calls for solidarity represented by your remarks, we must first realize a full return to that sister principle of Catholic social teaching known as subsidiarity. In the current environment, the central problem to realizing Catholic social teaching is one of subsidiarity, not solidarity.

    Amongst faithful Catholics of good will, this key difference in world outlook seems to me to be the major disconnect between those like me who vote conservative and like so called “neo-cons” like Krauthammer and those of you who seemingly seek every opportunity to tell us how we are no different than the liberals and are just the flip side of the coin because we ignore the Church’s social teachings on solidarity. I for one reject that criticism as downright false and it seems to me that those people who so freely throw that accusation at others (not saying that you are one of them, but you can see the other comments to this post) really do not understand Catholic social teaching at all and seem to me to be too influenced by the socialism of the USCCB or the Jesuits or the Democrat party.

    I do believe that is why you are getting some of the responses you are getting.

  28. Mark01 says:

    I would like to get back to two points I made earlier: 1) The design, manufacture, and maintenance of corporate jets provides thousands of good paying American jobs. 2) Any sort of tax increase (or reduction of tax breaks, same difference) would do next to nothing to reduce our national debt. It is laughable that the president would spend so much time discussing this, when it will have absolutely no effect. We all know that the real problem is Medicaid and Medicare and social security. Without changes there, nothing else really matters, so the president throws up the canard of corporate jets to stoke class warfare. What a joke and embarrassment. He really takes the American people for fools.

  29. digdigby says:

    Elizabeth D-
    “I guess it is not easy to imagine people whose time is so valuable they are losing money if they wait for a connecting flight, but those do seem like perhaps people who can afford a tax.”

    Snarky and condescending socialist crap. (Nothing personal) Actually, I find it easy to imagine such people – because I’ve known them and the thousands of employees who depend on them for their very living and the 16 hour days they put in.

  30. Mike says:

    I happen to like CK a lot, even though there’s not much good to be said about his stand on the life issues. I think that someone so rational in other areas will be able, some day, to see the light on how wrong abortion is. The man has a lot of common sense. Compared to most cable commentators, he’s Socrates!

  31. AnAmericanMother says:

    Elizabeth D,
    I am honestly, really not piling on here, but I think I see the problem. Actually, a couple of problems.
    1. Tax policy is not charity. Forced charity is no charity at all. Notice that you keep talking about “people” as if some individual flying around in a “luxury” jet has spare money lying around to “give” – actually, to be confiscated. It’s not their money – it’s the corporation’s money and the corporation is accountable to its shareholders for the use of its funds.
    Consider also that the people who support confiscatory government tax policy are the people who give the least out of their own pockets (there was a recent study, I’m sure you can find it if you look). They think that forcing somebody else to pay higher taxes is substitute for their personal charity.
    Those who support confiscatory taxation would like you to see in your mind’s eye a bloated plutocrat lighting cigars with dollar bills, like an old Daily Worker political cartoon.
    2. The corporate aircraft don’t get some sort of special “corporate jet subsidy”. They get the same sort of depreciation every other business gets on their equipment. Their timeframe for depreciation is shorter, or at least front-loaded, but different business assets depreciate at different rates, and given the amount of maintenance that’s required on aircraft (and the truly horrible consequences if something goes wrong) that’s not a big surprise. If your corporation is, say, a highway construction company, one of the big asphalt pavers is actually MORE expensive than your average corporate aircraft . . . and they have dozens of them.
    3. Bottom line: a corporate aircraft is just another piece of necessary equipment. I was never a businessman, but I spent some time being a lawyer for various good-sized corporations (including a highway construction company) and traveling around on their behalf. I am also a private pilot so I’m familiar with the world of corporate aviation. Sure you have the big Gulfstream jets for the huge multinationals (and I’m sure that’s what the president wanted you to think of), but the vast majority of the corporate aircraft are the smaller jets, little piston twins or even single engines. They employ thousands of pilots and mechanics, and they are steady customers for their Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) for hangars, line boys, fuel, etc.
    And they don’t necessarily go to the “big” airports. I had clients that might be almost anywhere on a job, and flying there directly would save a full work day or more rather than changing planes twice and getting on a little puddle-jumper local airline and then renting a car to get to East Wherever, Tennessee. It only made sense to carry me directly to the job at East Wherever to depose or get affidavits etc. from the project manager and his people (the sight of a lady in a tailored suit, a silk blouse, pearls, heels, and a hard hat, riding down the road on top of an asphalt paver while getting an affidavit in the middle of a pour, was something that the folks in East Wherever had not seen before. They all honked and waved.)
    3. The president just really has no idea what he’s talking about here, and I don’t think he cares. You have to consider his mindset of attacking things in order to get something he wants. I don’t think he knows very much about it, he’s just using the Alinsky method of “pick a target, freeze it, destroy it” and “evil corporate jets” are merely a means to that end. He doesn’t want you to think about the tax or business aspects of it, and he wants you to confuse taxation with charity.
    I don’t blame you at all, you are being manipulated and lied to by those who use the better nature and charitable impulses of the innocent and well-meaning for political leverage. . . .

  32. jarhead462 says:

    AnAmericanMother- Well Said.

    Semper Fi!

  33. AvantiBev says:

    Well no matter what the original topic of a thread is, you can be sure that on a Catholic blog the comments will get round to “Yes, but there’s abortion” and “Yes, but we have to help ‘the poor'”.
    Okay, here is the solution from a 55 year old Cathoic spinster who has worked for family law attorneys for over 16 years that will fight both abortion and a major cause of poverty: counter-revolution. Abortion exists to enforce the Sexual Revolution the way the guillotine enforced the French Revolution and the NKVD, gulags and firing squads enforced the Bolshevik revolution. 90% or better of abortions are being performed on single women who “found” (gasp) themselves pregnant after a hook-up, shack up or similar relationship. 40% of all kids born today have NO FATHER only SIRES. Sires do not support human children in the way FATHERS do; I am talking moral, emotional as well as financial support. Study after study has proven the common sense notion that fatherless kids are more “at risk” of poverty of mind, body and spirit whether born in the ghetto of Chi town or the Malibu mansions.

    So if American Catholic women REALLY, REALLY wanted to help the poor and end almost all abortions, they would help their young daughters, nieces, students, cousins, friends, co-workers not to behave as sluts and trashy tramps. Yep, pretty darn judgmental but what the heck do you think Jesus was saying to the Samaritan Woman?!

    Women have always been the white blood cells of society. Through shame, shunning and stigma we enforced a code of behavior among our sisters that in turn kept men’s natures in check. Men are not the ones who suddenly became rapists during the Sexual Revolution. We are the ones that changed OUR behavior and thus allowed the men to behave in ways that destroy us, our offspring, our familial relationships, and our nation. They did NOT storm the castles ladies, WE lowered the draw bridges and drained the moat.

  34. robtbrown says:

    Elizabeth D,

    Wasn’t it pointed out above that that corporate jets are not a luxury but usually save money? Do you realize that when an executive (or a consultant, as I was) travels by commercial air that an entire work day is often lost?

    And I wonder whether you realize that large state universities often have their own jet.

  35. Ed the Roman says:

    And I’ll repeat myself: increasing taxes on items like this will be revenue negative. The demand for this sort of item is quite elastic, and increasing the taxation will result in fewer sales, lost employment, lost business efficiency and less money collected. The argument for these taxes is based on class warfare and economic ignorance.

    It’s all well and good to say that people who can afford this sort of thing should give alms instead, but it’s not Mr. Pennybags from the Monopoly set buying it for his pleasure.

  36. ckdexterhaven says:

    Elizabeth D, as far as some people being able to “afford a tax”.

    There have been numerous studies on the wasteful nature of our Federal Government. You could turn on the news every night, and probably see a story on the millions, no, make that billions of dollars that are wasted.

    One study I’ve read says that for every dollar collected for welfare (food stamps,WIC)- only ten cents makes it to the recipient. The other 90 cents is spent on government overhead. If more people who could “afford a tax”, were allowed to keep their own money, there would be more to give to the poor.

    This President and the Democrat party have proposed tax deductible donations to charitable organizations like the Red Cross, churches etc. My opinion is that Obama wants as little money as possible from charitable organizations, and wants The Government to be the hander outer of money to the poor.

    Elizabeth, the poor could have jobs at private jet manufacturing facilities, FBO’s etc. The wonderful thing about America is that being poor at one time doesn’t mean you’re poor forever. Every American can do a good job, work hard and advance in their field or eventually own their own business, which will then hire other poor people.

  37. AnAmericanMother says:

    ckdexter –

    I think you mean “eliminating tax deductible donations to charitable organizations.”
    And yes, that has been proposed.
    Think about that: get rid of private charity by making it more expensive to give. Raise taxes at the same time so that individuals no longer have the disposable income to choose to give anyway.
    This administration wants to be the only dispenser of “charity” — that way they not only control who gets it (and skim 75-90% of it off the top, depending on which figures you look at), they also stop individuals from funding things they disagree with and hate, like the Catholic Church.
    This administration sees the Church as a competitor to be eliminated.

  38. Elizabeth D says:

    I don’t understand the mentality that taxing the rich more is “confiscation” this is not the Catholic view. I am also not sold on the idea that corporate jets usually save money. Taking the bus is way less expensive than having a private car.

  39. jarhead462 says:

    Flat Tax.

    Semper Fi!

  40. TopSully says:

    Jflare – Dr. K has both a MD and a JD, so he is entitled the wear the label Doctor.

    Fr. Z – Dr. K is a Canadian by birth and therefore not eligible for the presidency. [Yes. I know. I was kidding. But on a lighter note, it is said that not being born in the USA isn’t really much of an obstacle! o{];¬) ]

    Dr. K is also confined to a wheelchair due to a diving accident as a young man. [I think we have seen that scenario in the White House before.]

  41. pfreddys says:

    We really have to go beyond this crazy partisanship and right/left Republican/Democrat way of thinking; for it is just another way in which we are being controlled. I’m not defending Obama indeed he has become a deficit pig. It must be pointed out that we went from a budgeted surplus to deficit under the “conservative” George W. Bush. Further, who was the first president to fall in love with the deficit: the patron saint of the so-called or self-styled conservatives: Ronald Reagan.
    And don’t get me started on the fact that regardless of who is in power in the legislative or executive branches there are just about the same number of abortions. The rhetoric is better under the Republicans but little else changes.
    Both the Republican and Democratic parties make their sacrifice to baal.

  42. ckdexterhaven says:

    Elizabeth, Why does it matter if : “I am also not sold on the idea that corporate jets usually save money. Taking the bus is way less expensive than having a private car.”

    Why not address any of the other posts on here that say that eliminating corporate jets/or taxing them into oblivion hurts people? It hurts poor people who could use a job AND it hurts poor people who could receive charity from the people whose employment owes to private jet usage?

  43. AnAmericanMother says:

    Elizabeth D,
    Let’s define our terms. “Taxing the rich more” is a bit ambiguous. What is going on here is not taxing the rich more in a strict sense — because their income is higher, their capital gains greater, etc., and our taxes are calculated on a percentage basis, they already pay more simply because they earn more. In addition, because the percentage tax increases the more the earnings, capital gains, etc. increase, they are already paying more in the form of a higher tax bracket.
    What you are advocating (or, more accurately, what this administration is advocating while trying to convince you that none of the above is already happening) is to further increase the already high taxes on high earners by taking away business deductions and depreciations that are available to everybody.
    And you haven’t even gotten to the issue that others have raised here — by socking it to the “rich” you also sock it to the workers who build the aircraft, the support personnel (pilots, mechanics, line crew, FBOs), all the individual human beings who are going to lose jobs and pay in order to make people “feel better” about supposedly “making the rich pay their fair share”.
    Let’s talk about the bus. (I presume here that you’re analogizing that private aircraft is to airline as private car is to Greyhound). The bus may be cheaper in the short run, but you lose any monetary advantage in the incredible waste of time. Example: to take Greyhound from Atlanta GA to Brunswick GA (city center in both cases, which means you have to take other transport on each end) takes eight hours – or more if there are problems. By car it takes four and a half.
    I’ve travelled by bus – on my own time, when I was a poor student, not a client’s time, because I could never have justified the waste of my time — remember for a working businessman time IS money.
    You may not be “sold” on the idea, but what facts support your belief that corporate aircraft don’t save money? You’ve been given plenty of facts here to support the idea that they do.

  44. jarhead462 says:

    AnAmericanMother- Exactly. And, since time IS money, the time (money) wasted on the bus (or airline) gets passed on to the consumer. No business can operate by throwing away that kind of cash.
    Semper Fi.

  45. Banjo pickin girl says:

    I went without a car for ten years in three different cities. One of the nicest thing about having one is that it no longer takes me an hour and a half to commute each way to work, time which I can now use doing more important things. Yes, time is money. And the more valuable you are to your company the more expensive is your time.

    Krauthammer says a lot of good things. He says a lot of bad things. Just like everybody else. Take the stuff you like and throw the rest away. Just like with everybody else. About stem cell issues, etc. he may have been influenced by the stuff the pro-issue people say about curing paralysis or whatever. We all have things to learn. It is not possible for everybody to be right about everything all the time. If it were we would be God.

  46. SimonsDad says:

    Elizabeth D:

    Start with “The Church and the market” by Thomas Woods. This book may assist you with translating the critical (but correct) comments that your previously received.

    Economics is yet another area that our Catholic forefathers got correct many hundreds of years ago in the Scholastic period (yes, beating even the partially correct Adam Smith by centuries). This engineer was amazed to track Free Market economics from the Austrian School back to Spanish monks in Salamanca back to St. Thomas Aquinas back to the beginning. Then again, I attended government schools, so anything could amaze me.

    Correct thoughts lead to correct results.

  47. albinus1 says:

    TopSully —

    Fr. Z – Dr. K is a Canadian by birth and therefore not eligible for the presidency.

    According to Wikipedia (yes, I know, not necessarily the most reliable source), Charles Krauthammer was born in New York City, though he did spend his childhood in Montreal.

  48. Martial Artist says:

    First, I’d like to second the recommendation from Simon’s Dad (above, @1:41 pm). Dr. Woods’ book is an excellent starting point to beginning to understand economics, and especially so for a Catholic (a faith shared by its author).

    Second, to amplify on a comment by Ed the Roman (above, at 10:34 am), the revenue gains will be further reduced by increasing the effective rate of corporate taxation for the following reason. Corporations pay a Federal Corporate Income Tax on their net income (i.e., after deductions). The depreciation allowances on equipment, including corporate jets, reduce the amount of taxes paid by the corporation. If those allowances are lowered, the corporation will pay more of its gains in Federal taxes, leaving less net earnings from which dividends to shareholders are paid. For those of you who are unaware of the fact, corporate earnings that are distributed to shareholders (investors in the company) are taxed twice, because after the earnings are taxed at the corporate rate, everyone who owns dividend paying shares gets to pay personal income taxes on those dividends received. Reduce those dividends by leaving the corporation less to distribute and you reduce the amount of personal income tax collected.

    I would hope that everyone already knew the above fact, but I suspect that I could make a tidy sum of cash by wagering counter to that hope.

    Third, as to our President, it is my humble opinion that were he to be charged and tried in a competent (in the senses of both jurisdiction and rationality) court of law with being (a) serious, (b), adult, and (c) at the table (in any meaningful sense), I would suggest that, in all likelihood, the charges would be dismissed for patent lack of evidence.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  49. AnAmericanMother says:

    robt brown,

    The University of Georgia has a Beech KingAir turbo-prop, a bit more versatile than a jet. It needs on the average, depending on elevation, temperature, and weight and balance, only about 3,000 feet of runway for takeoff, while a Citation needs 5,000 and the Gulfstream needs almost 7,000. Florida and South Carolina have KingAirs as well – USC has TWO.
    Alabama has a Gulfstream, Ole Miss, Vandy, and Auburn have Cessna Citations.
    Mississippi State, marching to a different drummer as always, has a 1941 Stearman biplane. Only if you’re not in a hurry.

  50. Clinton says:

    The President’s babbling on about corporate jets is just distraction and demagoguery, for
    as we all know, the Democrats could have passed whatever federal budget they wanted
    during the two years they had both houses of Congress and the White House. As it is, it’s
    been over 2 1/2 years since we’ve had an actual budget — even though coming up with one
    each fiscal year is one of the duties of the Congress as described in the Constitution.

    It’s impossible for me to believe that this President and his party are serious adults regarding
    federal finances. If in 2 1/2 years they have no credible plans for a budget (and the Obama
    budget proposal that went before the Senate last January was so absurd it was voted down
    unanimously 97-0) then it should be obvious to everyone that fiscal responsibility is not
    a priority for the President and his party, and never has been.

  51. mezzodiva54 says:

    I cannot believe the comments I read here, carrying on about how corporate jets and leaving the super-rich’s money alone are good for the economy, piling on one poor woman who has the temerity to suggest that tax money be spent for social welfare, and blah blah blah. The Democrats are craven, and the Republicans got us into this awful mess. A plague on them both. A plague on a country where half of a politician’s term is spent trying to amass enough millions of dollars so that he/she can come back to Washington and do nothing for two more years, and that’s called representative government. If the founding fathers were to come back today, to steal from Woody Allen, they would never stop throwing up.

    End these endless, pointless, disgraceful and shamefully costly wars. Spend our tax dollars on our own people, to provide education and healthcare, and to improve the crumbling infrastructure, to provide jobs (real jobs, not just jobs building Jetstream aircraft). And if ending the wars will not provide enough money to accomplish these goals, then we need to revert to some earlier tax structures and TAX THE SUPER RICH. There, I said it. Fire away. Why should the tax burden fall on the shoulders of those barely able to scrape by, while others who can afford lawyers and accountants evade paying even their fare share?

  52. Banjo pickin girl says:

    The super rich are already taxed, how much would you want, 30 percent, 50 percent, 80 percent, 100 percent? Is this sour grapes on your part?

    Building aircraft isn’t a “real job?” Being a machinist isn’t a “real job?” Operating a press brake isn’t a “real job?” What is a “real job” to you?

  53. AnAmericanMother says:

    You do understand, don’t you, that if you took ALL of the money of the so-called “super rich” (just for convenience’s sake, let’s use the Forbes list) – not 100 percent of their income for one year, but EVERY PENNY they possess, all their real and personal property, all their investments, and leave them to beg on the street with a tin cup . . .
    . . . it would fund the United States government for about a week. Maybe two. There are not enough millionaires. Even people who earn $250,000 p.a. or more only make up 2% of the population.

    You are buying into the shameful rhetoric of this administration, which knows this fact full well, but encourages you to have a Three Minutes Hate against the “super rich” in order to get at its real target, the middle class. That’s where the money has to come from, because there ARE enough of the middle (including the skilled working) class.

    But those people are your neighbors, and you would feel ashamed of taking money from your neighbors at the point of a gun, wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you?

  54. ckdexterhaven says:

    I’ll be sure to tell my child bagging groceries tat he doesn’t have a “real job.” And how Christian would it be for me to meet a machinist and tell him he doesn’t have a “real job?” My brother in law repairs engines at a power plant, and loves what he does, I’m sure that’s not a real job either.

    Should I tell my son the grocery bagger to hate the owner(s) of his grocery chain? I’m sure they’re millionaires. He’s learning the value of doing a good job, saving money, showing up on time. But you’re right, mezzodiva, it would better if this grocery chain’s taxes were raised. I won’t mind paying $10 for a gallon of milk. As long as *the government* takes their money and funds Planned (un)Parenthood.

  55. mezzodiva54 says:

    Oops, I mean “fair”.

  56. mezzodiva54 says:

    P.P.S. and oops, I left out something, because of course being a machinist is a real job — much more real, say, than being one of those financiers who, with the complete connivance of the government (and its obliging de-regulation of the banking industry) robbed millions AT THE POINT OF A PEN. And what I left out was this: Bring back all those jobs that have been sent overseas, so that more Americans can have a real job, earning a decent wage. Then maybe I won’t begrudge those “captains of industry” their usurious salaries and corporate jets. Maybe.

    American Mother, these people you’re defending are NOT your neighbors (they’re certainly not mine), but they sure must sleep soundly at night knowing that you’ve got their backs. You need to step away from Glen Beck and spend a moment or two in the real world. This country would be a lot better off if there were a lot more machinists and a lot fewer bankers and fraudulent mortgage lenders.

    I realize that I am speaking to people who don’t agree with me, and who will undoubtedly go to their graves not agreeing with me, and that this is mere provocation on my part. This is why I go straight to my (20-year-old) car after mass and do not stay to chat at coffee hour, because I dread a conversation like this. But I read this blog every single day –the only blog that I can say that about — and if there is just one other reader out there who feels as I do, even if you’re not brave enough to come out and take your lumps with me, I sure would feel better.

  57. AnAmericanMother says:

    Just for the record, I have never seen Glen Beck, have never listened to his show, and neither know nor care very much about him. Throwing up a boogeyman/strawman as some sort of argument clincher is a misdirection and a cheap shot.
    My opinions are my own, based on 30 years of experience in the working world . . . the “real world” as you put it. I’m just an old courthouse lawyer, and I’ve represented everybody from my highway construction company (what a good bunch of people they were, the company was put together by a family of brothers that rose from digging ditches to running their own business), a couple of trucking companies (ditto on how they got started – these corporations don’t just spring out of nowhere) and various property, casualty and reinsurance carriers, to elderly folks on social security and individual injured workers. My work required that I learn a lot about how all these businesses function, whether I was representing them or suing them.
    Believe me, I know who my neighbors are, and the taxation notions that you are blindly following will kill them financially — especially the small businessmen and the middle class (teachers – truck drivers – municipal employees). Don’t even get me started about my friends who are trying to farm!
    As I said, the “captains of industry” that you love to hate are not the targets here. They will not suffer. The middle class – the backbone of this country and the employers of most of the “working poor” – will suffer, because you allow yourself to be whipped up into a frenzy of hatred for people you don’t know, don’t know anything about, and whose business you don’t understand on the most basic level. If you would stay at coffee hour and listen o (not talk at) some of your fellow parishioners who are actually running a business, you would learn this at first hand.

  58. jflare says:

    Hmm. Looks like it’s time to throw in my two cents again, or because of inflation, my dime.

    Taxation and Use of Revenues – Never forget that We, the People, ARE Caesar. We have the right–and obligation–to vote for representatives and leaders who’re charged with writing the laws regarding taxes and other matters. Lots more I could say about this, but that’s a good start.

    “Luxury” items vs critical items – Seems to me that we’ve got a very poor definition of what a “luxury” really IS. Rather than speaking fairly abstractly, I’ll offer two examples:
    – Some years ago, when my car wasn’t working, I decided to take the bus to the grocery store. After walking through the snow for 30 minutes to find a bus stop, then another 30 minutes to actually ride the bus to the store, I decided to walk home, cold or not, because I literally could’ve walked to the grocery store more quickly in the first place.
    – One occasion, when I hadn’t seen my sister in two years, I found I needed to leave her home four hours earlier than I wished to ensure that I’d arrive at the airport in time to check my bags, clear security, and walk onto the plane on time.

    On either of these occasions, a private car or a private airplane could’ve been construed as a “luxury” item because my feet or some form of public transportation could accomplish the same task. In either case though, for my purposes, using “critical” items struck me as a serious waste of my time, energy, and money. I promptly decided to get my car fixed on the first occasion; I began flying lessons not long afterward on the second.

    Also, some years ago, some ConAgra investors complained about ConAgra’s use of corporate jets; they felt the company could save tons of money by using commercial flights. ConAgra leadership had to explain what would’ve been obvious from even a little research: ConAgra used the planes to move employees from place to place, espeically where commercial flights don’t offer direct routes. If they tried using commercial flights, the company could literally LOSE hundreds of thousands of dollars–if not millions–from the extra time taken to use commercial flights, not private jets.
    Never forget, when a company loses money on anything close to that scale, hard-working people almost ALWAYS lose jobs.

    That’s why I usually find these concerns about taxes and luxury items quite frustrating. Too often, we enact law without any real regard for the impacts we’ll have on all affected people. We’ve allowed ourselves to become VERY poorly educated regarding how our monies are taxed and the revenues used.

  59. jflare says:

    I would caution you, your comment reeks of class warfare to me.
    You seem quite uncharitable to those who fill professional roles. Never forget, that machinist you laud can’t have a job if the company employing him can’t track payroll. That accountant you seem to loathe will have responsibility in tracking that payroll, along with other financial concerns. I doubt if any company ever keeps “unreal” jobs for very long. Usually, a need to operate as efficiently as possible will cause such “unreal” jobs to disappear, being replaced by more functional roles.
    (Unless, of course, there’s a union involved requiring the existence of certain “unreal” jobs, but that’s another discussion….)

    Yes, abuses exist and we should be outraged by them. But I think it a pretty unChristian act to chastise the existence of a professional’s role on the grounds of abuses. Let’s let the law prosecute abuses appropriately and leave the rancor behind.

    Actually, if anything, this makes a great case for government with limited size and scope, the better for We, the People, to keep track of what our leaders and laborers have been doing….

  60. ckdexterhaven says:

    Hi Mezzodiva- at my parish there are people with low incomes and people who make a whole lot more money than I do. I love all of them! And I do stay after Mass to talk to quite a few people, and we don’t talk about this stuff. I suspect more than a few people I speak to don’t share my political beliefs. One elderly lady in particular is about as far left as you could be. But that doesn’t stop her from bringing candy for my kids, she had surgery last week, and I brought her some flowers from my garden. I really like the old gal!

    My husband and I own a very small business and right now, my husband is contracting a job with a huge finance company. We are thankful for the job, and I hold no rancor for the folks paying for the work. We’re happy to provide a service they need, and of course get paid for it. Maybe this job will lead to the next one.

    Another company we’ve worked for was a family owned and operated business in the heatlhcare industry. Again, the owners were millionaires many times over. It wasn’t any of our business how much money they made. I never thought to ask if they were paying their fair share.

    My best friend’s husband was a banker. He’s lost his job. Are you happy about that?

    And no, I don’t listen to Glenn Beck. I listen to Rush Limbaugh, though. :)

    Mezzo, stay after Mass this Sunday, and get to know your fellow parishioners. Look at them as future friends!

  61. mezzodiva54 says:

    At the risk of being unoriginal, “ckdexterhaven, you have unsuspected depth!”
    For the record, my husband and I are professional musicians. For artists of any stripe, this economy has been, is, and will continue to be very harsh — when people are losing their jobs, they tend to cut back on things like going to concerts or giving their kids music lessons. In order that we can have health care, I have what is known in the parlance as a “day job”. That is, I HAD a day job — I was laid off a few days before Christmas last year. It was the third time I’ve been laid off in six years. So no, I’m not happy to learn that anyone else has lost a job, as I know all too well what that means. That being said, there are probably more than a few people in the banking and mortgage securities biz who should have lost their jobs a long, long time ago. I bear no ill will towards any gainfully employed individual, but when an entire slice of an industry behaves in a rapacious manner and causes as much misery as this particular portion of the financial industry has done, there should be repercussions (and certainly not rewards). If this “reeks of class warfare”, well, so be it.

  62. jflare says:

    “I bear no ill will towards any gainfully employed individual….”

    By what measure do we define “gainfully employed”?

    “…, but when an entire slice of an industry behaves in a rapacious manner and causes as much misery as this particular portion of the financial industry has done, there should be repercussions (and certainly not rewards).”

    Don’t forget that several prominent public officials aided, even pushed, various lending institutions into this mess. Some in the financial industry actually tried raising BS flag some years ago. They were firmly over-ruled.

    If anyone should’ve lost their jobs years ago, there are probably as many politicians who should’ve suffered that fate as there are CEO’s.

  63. Banjo pickin girl says:

    diva: Don’t people overseas deserve “real jobs” too? Really, you are beyond the pale (look up derivation).

  64. robtbrown says:

    TopSully says:

    Jflare – Dr. K has both a MD and a JD, so he is entitled the wear the label Doctor.

    I’ve never come across anything saying he had also been to law school, and Wikipedia makes no mention of it. The diving accident occurred while in med school.

  65. robtbrown says:


    Much of what you say is simply wrong. Most seems driven by your naive acceptance of political propaganda (read: BS)

    1. It wasn’t only the Repubs who produced this mess In the late 90’s (during the Clinton administration), Brooksley Born, head of the CTFC, sought to regulate the derivative market, which was exposing the economy to massive risky debt. She was run over by Robert Rubin (Clinton’s Sec of Treasury) and Larry Summers (Dep Sec of Treasury). Rubin was of course once the head of Goldman Sachs.

    2. Some CEO’s, the unsuccessful ones, are vastly overpaid. On the other hand, some are worth every penney. Alan Mulally, whom I mentioned above, saved Ford (acc to a friend who used to own a dealership). He took over in 2007, and it took him a few years to assemble his team. In 2009 Ford market cap (the value of all stock) was $8 billion. A few weeks ago it was $56 billion. Do you have any idea how much that improves the retirement possibilities of those in pension funds or with 401k’s?

    So what is someone like Mulally worth?

    3. Raising taxes on the “super rich” actually means raising taxes on professionals–e.g., doctors and dentists, many of whom left professional school with big loans to pay. The real super rich, the likes of Nancy Pelosi or George Bush, are little affected when taxes go up.

    4. It is true that Wall Street money machines were a major factor in the economic collapse–but let’s not let other off the hook. People bought houses they couldn’t afford. Mortgage brokers lent money they didn’t have. Investment institutions made bets without sufficient capital to cover losses. And AIG insured those bets.

    5. And let’s not forget consumers. We all bought inexpensive goods made in China, and that produced a trade deficit, which devalued the dollar and caused oil prices to climb. That not only cooled the economy but also pushed investments away from the stock market and into the complex financial packages that had been created.

    6. One final point: Milton Friedman once said that he was opposed to big govt because it is inevitable that big govt would be taken over by big business.

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