“Obama is trying to demoralize the private plane industry and engage in class warfare.” That statement by U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb) sums up the atmosphere after the attack on business jets by the president at a press conference last week.
Johanns is co-chair of the Senate Aviation Caucus. “It may be good politics at the White House to demoralize the general aviation industry, but it is unwise,” he added.
The Senator’s remarks came in after a flood of comments from other associations, private industry, and individuals.
The White House and friends are counter-attacking, but weakly.
One supporter criticized the Heritage Foundation, noting that the general tax break was signed into law by the President’s signature and called for an apology.
The Heritage Foundation’s response: “Obviously we could write it again and say “re-authorized” instead of “create.” To the writer over at Media Matters who said we should issue a ‘sweeping correction’ we say switch to decaf. President Obama did create the stimulus which did include a tax break for the purchase of private jets.”
Several groups sent to the White House more detailed reasons for astonishment in the President’s remarks, pointing out that the aviation industry provides for a myriad of jobs —such as avionics, tires, fuel, training, etc. — and is one of the few still ahead in the export market.
James Coyne, president and CEO of National Air Transportation Association, wrote: “President Obama has repeatedly degraded the value of general aviation to our nation’s economy. This time he does it a day after appearing at an American aircraft facility to promote job growth.” He called it “perplexing.”
The Helicopter Association International joined the fray and notified members to get active. The mayor of Wichita issued a scathing statement. Many television and radio programs had comments questioning the President’s action.
This issue apparently is not fading away quickly.