The chief economic culprit of President Obama’s Wednesday press conference was undoubtedly “corporate jets.” He mentioned them on at least six occasions, each time offering their owners as an example of a group that should be paying more in taxes.
But the corporate jet tax break to which Obama was referring – called “accelerated depreciation,” and a popular Democratic foil of late – was created by his own stimulus package.
Proponents of the tax break lauded it as a means to spur economic activity by encouraging purchases of large manufactured goods (planes). So the president’s statement today – and his call to repeal that tax break generally – is either a tacit admission that the stimulus included projects that did not, in fact, stimulate the economy, or an attempt to “soak the rich” without regard for the policy’s effects on the economy.
For many Americans, those effects could be dramatic. Cessna and Gulfstream have facilities in a combined 15 cities nationwide (and another four abroad). A significant decline in consumption of private jets would undoubtedly have adverse effects on at least some of those local economies. Given the sizable bump in consumption that the initial tax break yielded, its repeal would likely have that economic domino effect.
The Associated Press noted the tax break’s potential economic benefits in this February 2009 report: