Share

Beltway Confidential

Will Obama subsidize a Russian oligarch’s private jets?

By |
Beltway Confidential,Timothy P. Carney,Barack Obama,Russia,Big Government,Analysis,Libertarian Populism

When President Obama talks about helping the middle class by boosting exports, he’s talking about subsidizing stuff like this, reported by Reuters:

Billionaire Russian businessman Gennady Timchenko, a long-time associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, plans to seek U.S. government-backed funding to buy luxury aircraft, Reuters has learned….

Timchenko plans to ask Ex-Im Bank for a loan guarantee to buy as many as 11 aircraft from Gulfstream Aerospace….

We don’t know if Obama’s Ex-Im will approve a subsidy for this Russian oligarch to buy luxury jets, but we know they’re amenable to the general proposition — that is, Obama’s Ex-Im has announced a plan to subsidize a billion dollars worth of private jets.

For four years, I’ve been pushing libertarian populism or free-market populism. In the past two months, the discussions about this notion have heated up. Obama’s desire to use U.S. taxpayer financing to subsidize foreigners’ luxury jets seems like a good issue to discuss.

Republicans, if they took a more libertarian policy stance, could use this pledge of $1 billion in subsidies for corporate/private jets to get attention to a disagreement in policy: Obama loves subsidizing stuff, and guess what — government subsidies tend to accrue to the wealthy and the well-connected.

Force Obama to defend corporate-jet subsidies (possibly corporate-jet subsidies to Russian oligarchs!), and expose his talk on “tax breaks for corporate jets” as the inanity it is. And for good measure, go along with Obama on the depreciation provision he describes as “tax breaks for corporate jets.”

Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems like a good way to both improve policy and help the GOP.

View article comments Leave a comment