by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
President Obama lards subsidies, bailouts and special tax credits on bankers, manufacturers, drugmakers and nearly every other industry you can think of. So how does he then inveigh against “corporate welfare,” as he did in last Wednesday’s debate?
Simple: He calls his own handouts “investments” and redefines “corporate welfare” to mean “giving equal treatment to a politically unpopular industry.”
Obama slapped the “corporate welfare” tag on big oil, private jets and companies that move jobs overseas. But the policies he targets aren’t really corporate welfare or even special treatment at all. And for most of the industries Obama mentioned, he has accelerated actual corporate welfare. …
… Nobody is going to shed a tear for anyone owning a corporate jet — and that’s exactly why Obama targets them as corporate-welfare queens.
But the Obama administration has declared its policy of actually increasing subsidies for corporate jets. “Export-Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg plans to provide more financial aid to U.S. corporate jet manufacturers,” Bloomberg News reported earlier this year.
Ex-Im subsidized $90 million worth of Cessnas, Gulfstreams and other private jets in fiscal 2011, and Obama’s export-subsidy chief said he would multiply that more than tenfold by 2014, to a billion dollars worth of private-jet sales.
So this is Obamanomics: It’s OK to give taxpayer-backed loans and loan guarantees to corporate jets, but if you don’t hike their taxes it’s “corporate welfare.”
Obama played this game with big oil, too. “The oil industry gets $4 billion a year in corporate welfare.” This is misleading. The biggest provisions Obama targets as “oil subsidies” are not favors to the oil industries, but are either broad-based deductions available to the oil industry, or aspects of the tax code that affect every business, including oil.