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WSJ declares war on bizav

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If there remained any doubt after its February 14 piece on the alleged excesses of “Air Bloomberg", The Wall Street Journal effectively declared hostilities on business aviation last month. With “Corporate Jet Set: Leisure vs. Business” (June 16), the unveiling of the online “WSJ JetTracker” (June 16) and “Ready for Departure: M&A Airlines” (June 17), the paper paints a picture of corporate jets as expensive, wasteful, abused perks for, oddly enough, the same people who have built its… (www.ainonline.com) Más...

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EmeraldRocket
As the Wall Street Journal is subscription based, here is the rather lengthy article spoken about in AIN.

Corporate Jet Set: Leisure vs. Business


By MARK MAREMONT And TOM MCGINTY

Computer-storage giant EMC Corp. has a fleet of five jets that it says it uses for business travel across the globe. In addition, CEO Joseph Tucci is allowed "limited" personal use of the aircraft.

Federal Aviation Administration flight records for EMC's planes suggest such personal trips may be more frequent. Over the four years ended last December, EMC jets landed a total of 393 times at three resort locations where Mr. Tucci has vacation homes: Cape Cod, Mass.; the New Jersey shore; and the Florida keys.
[JetTrackerDataP]

One of EMC's jets devoted 46% of its flights going to or from these and other vacation spots over the four years. Fleet-wide, 31% of EMC flights were to or from resorts.

A Wall Street Journal review of FAA flight records found that dozens of jets operated by publicly traded corporations made 30% or more of their trips to or from resort destinations, sometimes more than 50%. Often, these were places where their top executives own homes. The review covered nearly every jet flight in the U.S. over the four-year period from 2007 to 2010. (Search the full records of FAA flights here.)

The corporate jet is a coveted perk of top executives. But some of the planes aren't being used just for business travel. They're making a large number of trips to resort locations where executives own homes. WSJ's Mark Maremont reports.

Corporate jets are vital business tools that can efficiently carry busy executives to far-flung meetings, sometimes to multiple cities in a day. Allowing occasional personal use of the company plane can form an important part of a compensation package for a top executive.

The high percentage of trips to vacation destinations in a few cases suggests some companies' jets are frequently used by executives to make personal trips. This has stirred doubts among some experts about whether companies are disclosing to shareholders the full amounts spent on personal-jet travel, widely considered the most expensive executive perk.

Under stiffer SEC rules released in 2006, the cost of personal travel on company planes generally must be disclosed if it exceeds $25,000 per year or more than 10% of the cost of all perks. Commuting flights—from, say, a vacation home to headquarters—count as personal travel. Disclosed cost calculations should be those associated with the flights themselves, such as fuel, landing fees and the crew's hotel bills. Not counted are fixed costs, such as the price of the plane and crew salaries.
[P1Corpjet]

"Personal use of corporate aircraft is still underreported," said Brink Dickerson, an attorney at Troutman Sanders LLP in Atlanta who advises public companies on the issue. He says people will come up to him after speeches on the topic to describe how they have been reporting personal travel as business travel. "They say, 'This is how we do it, is this OK?' " Mr. Dickerson believes it is appropriate for executives to take personal trips on company planes, but companies should be reporting such use rather than "disguising" it as business travel.

Stewart Reifler, an attorney at Vedder Price in New York who represents executives in negotiating pay packages, said the cost of truly personal trips should be reported, but said it is hard to distinguish a CEO's work time from his leisure time. "Even if they go to a resort," he said, "they're still reviewing papers, looking at their BlackBerrys and talking on the phone. You just can't compartmentalize these guys' lives."

Some companies in the Journal review listed relatively little cost for personal flights in disclosure documents, even as their jets made dozens of trips to resort towns near residences owned by an executive. The FAA data don't show who was on board or the purpose of the flights, so it is impossible for outsiders to know whether there were business reasons to fly to such spots. Also, when leisure trips come amid business trips, the added expense of those flights could be minimal.
Previously

For the Highest Fliers, New Scrutiny
5/21/2011

In 2009, Leucadia National Corp., a New York City-based conglomerate, reported less than $30,000 on personal flying for Chairman Ian Cumming. FAA records show Leucadia's four jets that year spent 220 hours flying to or from Jackson Hole, Wyo., and New York's Hamptons, both locations where Mr. Cumming owns homes. Those flights alone would have cost $708,000, according to Journal calculations using hourly operating-cost estimates provided by Conklin & de Decker Aviation Information, a consulting firm.

More than half of the flights by Leucadia's four jets from 2007 through 2010 went to or from resort areas (see flights to selected destinations in database); 739 went to spots where top executives have houses. Leucadia declined to comment. A Jackson Hole telephone directory lists a Leucadia office at the same address as a home owned by Mr. Cumming.

EMC pegged the cost to shareholders of Mr. Tucci's personal flying at $664,079 over the four-year period, which represented 97% of all personal-aircraft usage for its executives. The Journal's estimate of the cost of EMC's flights to or from just the airports near the CEO's homes was closer to $3.1 million.

The Hopkinton, Mass., company said in filings that Mr. Tucci is allowed personal use of the planes "to reduce his travel time and devote more time to work duties." In a statement, an EMC spokesman said the company "keeps meticulous corporate aircraft records. Any personal use is reflected accurately in our proxy statement each year. In 2010, Mr. Tucci flew 62.28 hours for personal travel; any use beyond that was for business." (See results in database.)

As shareholder attention has focused on the expense of this perk amid a struggling economy, many companies have begun requiring executives to reimburse for their personal-flying costs, or have banned the practice altogether. Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co., for example, doesn't allow personal jet travel. "Our customers, shareholders and employees all face economic challenges, and giving executive perks like personal use of aircraft would send the wrong message to all three," a spokesman said.
List of Blocked Aircraft

Owners of nearly 7,000 aircraft participate in an FAA-authorized program that allows them to block their tail numbers from being viewed by the public on air-traffic websites. Some owners cite privacy, corporate confidentiality or security concerns. The Journal obtained the full list of blocked aircraft as of January 2011. Here is the list of tail numbers, also known as N-numbers. Where available, the Journal has filled in the operator or owner name listed in FAA records.

About 37% of the S&P 500 companies disclosed aircraft perks for their CEOs in their most recent filings through May 31, according to GovernanceMetrics International, which tracks executive pay, down from 40% the prior year.

Companies that allow use of their aircraft cite a variety of reasons. Yum Brands Inc., which owns Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell, said in regulatory filings that CEO David Novak and his wife are required to use company aircraft for personal and business travel in part because "Mr. Novak has been physically assaulted while traveling."

Likewise, Comcast Corp. says for security, certain senior executives must use company planes for business and personal travel. Last July, the cable giant bought a third jet for its fleet, a new Dassault Falcon 900 that can cost upwards of $40 million. The plane was needed, a spokesman said, because the company anticipated more business travel after its acquisition of NBC Universal.

The new jet's most frequent destination in its first six months, after its home base of Philadelphia, was the island of Martha's Vineyard, Mass., where CEO Brian Roberts has a house. The plane made 24 trips there in that period, mostly in the summer, FAA records show. Starting in October, the jet also began flying to Palm Beach, Fla., where Mr. Roberts has another home. Comcast is a major cable provider throughout the U.S., including in areas such as Martha's Vineyard and south Florida.

By year end, nearly two thirds of the plane's flights were to or from those and six other resort destinations, including Augusta, Ga., Big Sky, Mont., and the Hamptons. (See results in the database.) Over the full four years, 42% of flights made by the Comcast fleet were to or from resort areas, among the highest percentage for the companies reviewed by the Journal. (See results in the database.)

A Comcast spokesman said use of the planes "significantly enhances the efficiency of our executives' conduct of business," and that a "majority" of the aircraft use is for business purposes. He said executives are required to reimburse part of their travel expenses using a formula Comcast won't disclose.

The SEC has brought enforcement actions over failure to disclose aircraft usage. In January, it filed a civil case accusing a Kansas-based website provider, NIC Inc., of failing to disclose perks, including payments for its former CEO to live in a Wyoming ski lodge and commute to headquarters by private jet. NIC and three current and former executives paid a total of $2.8 million to settle, without admitting or denying the allegations.

Many companies prefer to keep their aircraft movements hidden, using an FAA-approved program that allows plane owners to "block" their flights from websites that display air traffic. More than 650 jets operated by U.S. public corporations recently had their flights blocked, the Journal found, including all of EMC's and Leucadia's jets, and two of Comcast's.

The Obama administration in late May announced it would sharply curtail the FAA program starting in August, saying that privacy concerns don't outweigh the public's right to know about the use of public airspace. It would exempt aircraft owners who could show a "valid security threat." Congress is considering a measure that would stop the change.

To analyze corporate flying patterns, the Journal obtained, via a Freedom of Information Act request, records of every private aircraft flight recorded in the FAA's air-traffic system from 2007 through 2010. These included flights previously blocked from public view.

The Journal calculated the percentage of each plane's flights to a list of 300 locales it determined were more likely to be leisure destinations than business. That excluded major cities such as Miami, New York and Paris, and included spots like Palm Beach, Aspen, Colo., and the Bahamas. The list wasn't exhaustive, and was meant to serve as a rough proxy for potential leisure travel.

Cost calculations, which were made using estimates from Conklin & de Decker Aviation Information, often aligned with what companies reported they spent on personal flights. For example, the Journal found that Brown Shoe Co. in St. Louis spent $1.8 million flying a private jet to resort areas over the four years. In its filings in that period, the company reported $1.9 million in personal-aircraft costs for its executives.

In contrast, Nabors Industries Ltd., a Houston oil-services concern, didn't provide a dollar figure for the cost of aircraft perks for its CEO, Eugene Isenberg, in either 2009 or 2010, indicating the amount was too small to require disclosure. For those two years, FAA records show, Nabors' fleet's most-visited destinations after Houston were New York City, Palm Beach and Martha's Vineyard. Mr. Isenberg owns homes in all three places. (See results in the database.)

The flights to or from Palm Beach or Martha's Vineyard alone would have cost about $704,000, according to Journal estimates.

A Nabors spokesman said the company has offices in those two places, at Mr. Isenberg's homes. "He works out of those locations a lot," said the spokesman, Denny Smith. He also said Mr. Isenberg is frequently in New York on business. The company, he said, "complies with all IRS guidelines and SEC disclosure requirements with respect to the use of company aircraft by its executive officers."

The SEC hasn't taken a position on whether companies can claim that a home office in an executive's house is a company location, and therefore count trips there as business travel, said Alan L. Dye, an attorney at Hogan Lovells in Washington who specializes in executive-pay disclosure. But, said Mr. Dye, "a company might have a difficult time convincing the SEC" that should be allowed.

Ron Mueller, an attorney at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher in Washington, said travel to someone's house would typically qualify as a perk, even if there is a home office. But, he said, if it overlaps with a business trip, "the amounts may not be large enough to require disclosure."

Other companies say their business interests coincide with spots where their top executives have homes. That is the case at Jarden Corp., a consumer-products concern in Rye, N.Y., that markets K2 and Volkl skis, Mr. Coffee coffee makers and Bicycle playing cards.

The busiest destination for Jarden's jet, after its New York base, was Aspen, Colo., where the company's aircraft landed 151 times over the four years. (See results in database.) Jarden's CEO, Martin Franklin, is an avid skier, and his wife owns a house in Aspen. Ian Ashken, Jarden's chief financial officer, said Mr. Franklin lived in Aspen with his family in 2006 and 2007. He also said that Jarden, as a leading ski maker, sometimes entertains customers in Aspen and has an office there with "no more than two people."

Due in part to that office, the company said, much of Mr. Franklin's jet travel to and from the mountain resort was for business purposes. It also said some Aspen travel involved "repositioning" flights, in which the plane was moved a short distance to save on hangar costs.

Jarden's company jet also flies to offices located in places like Wichita, Kan., and Greenville, Tenn. But about 55% of flights were to or from resort locales, including Aspen and the Caribbean island of Antigua, where Mr. Franklin's father lives. Those flights would have cost the company $3.7 million, according to Journal estimates. In its filings, Jarden reported $1.9 million in personal travel, not including undisclosed reimbursements from executives other than Mr. Franklin.

The company said it is in "full compliance" with SEC regulations. "If we just had a private plane for our personal pleasure, that would be a big no-no. The purpose for having the plane is to enable us to do our business the way we do it," said Mr. Ashken.

Cliff Hoover, chief investment officer at Dreman Value Management in Jersey City, N.J., which owns Jarden stock, said "shareholders should care" about perks such as use of company aircraft. "If there is real abuse, we'd frown on it." Mr. Hoover said that given Jarden's position as a ski maker, many flights to Aspen weren't necessarily inappropriate, but "would cause you to take a second look."
rwb2112
rwb2112 0
Yawn...
dmanuel
dmanuel 0
Does the Wall Street Journal, its parent company or subsidiaries own business aircraft? If so, what does their flight history show?
HunterTS4
Toby Sharp 0
it has been this way for ever now........big yawn
gotchman
Craig Harris 0
No - the WSJ is not "declaring war on bizav", they are pointing out yet further abuses in executive compensation. As a stockholder, I want to know whether my CEO is a crook. I have no problem with them taking these personal trips but they better call it what it is, and reimburse the company appropriately. And sorry, "working from home" doesn't qualify for a free $20k flight. Shareholders should insist that their companies do not participate in the FAA registration number blocking. It's called transparency.
SWEATINTHSWAMP
SWEATINTHSWAMP 0
I agree Craig and will take it a step further. Some of these CEO's are more wealthy then third world countries and the last thing they need is another stroke to their egos.

Corporate Jet travel has it's place in a proper business world but that service is severely abused by a lot of executives.
chalet
chalet 0
Using corporate jets to fly to and from sommer cottages might not too kosher, what really should be strongly revised are the obscene salaries that some of these so called tycoons pull every year in basic salary and bonuses for this and that and the other, sometimes when the company is losing money. Examples abound.
BPirlot
William Pirlot 0
It used to be ok for personal use of corporate jets, back when CEOs made 50x the average work at the company. Not today when the average CEO makes 300x the average workers salary.
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
These guys just live on a different planet than me. I feel like a big shot when I'm flying in first class on an A320, lol. I mean, do you see how many houses they own? Must be nice. The wealth disparity is really out of control.
rwb2112
rwb2112 0
Wealth disparity? That's whats wrong with the US! Everyone is starting to think they are entitled to the corner office, or the fancy car and house! Jeez! Class Warfare is its true evil name!

I still can't believe WSJ is calling out these guys, I mean if it were not for them there would not be a journal , much less a Wall St.!!!
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
Huh? I didn't say anyone's entitled to anything. You can believe anything you want, but I believe that executive compensation is out of control. I'm not sure why the WSJ has some sort of duty not to criticize these guys--you also can say that if it was not for the stockholders there wouldn't be a Wall Street. People like me, with our little 401Ks and mutual funds and Charles Schwab accounts, who might wanna know how much these CEOs are actually compensated.
grinch59
Gene Nowak 0
Has anyone given thought to who owns the WSJ? It’s a Canadian citizen by the name of Rupert Murdoch who leans to the political right. Maybe the question should be why is he siding with the Obama administration for more transparency?

Personally, maybe we should approach this whole problem in a different manner by going back to brick one to resolve all your above issues. Why not abolish all private corporate jets and support use of charter aircraft by CEO's. First, this gives you the anonymity enjoyed by the rest of the flying public. No one knows your tail number unless they saw you board the flight, and charter companies have many tail numbers around the country. Secondly, the corporate executives must now pay their own travel costs and file with the CFO for reimbursement, which can be made a reportable entry in the Annual Reports. Third, you have just promoted and enlarged the charter jet industry and possibly created more jobs.

Finally, and most importantly, let this procedure extend to the President, Federal and State Legislators who are presently exempt. Why do our Congressional leaders in Washington need their own private Air Force of Gulfstream jets for “personal junkets” around the world? By the way, this would reduce the budget and keep them at home working for their constituents. They sure haven’t accomplished anything so far this year.
Checkguy
DA SHAFE 0
The other interesting issue is the IRS. I would think that if this is personal travel that is not reimbursed, then at a minimum the value or cost would be taxable income to the exec.
Wingscrubber
Wingscrubber 0
Frankly I don't care whether 'top executives', VIPs, politcians and celebrities are enjoying business jet 'perks', as long as they pay their taxes. Flying those business jets creates jobs for some of us who design, build and maintain them, and when business aviation is openly chastised by the man with the worlds largest business jet himself, that is the ultimate hypocrisy.
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
Da Shafe- Yes i think you are right. Technically I think even frequent flier miles that you get as a result of business travel paid for by your employer are taxable (taxable income includes things besides just straight payments of money, of course).

Gene Nowak- Interesting points and I enjoyed your post. Regarding your last point, and I know this is not exactly relevant to what you said, but Obama was in my city (PHL) this past Thursday for a $10k a plate fundraiser, so of course he flew Air Force 1 up here. Now I realize there are huge security issues with moving the president, but I can't help but think of the huge taxpayer money involved with moving him and his little army of support staff and security personnel 150 miles up the road, for a partisan fundraiser.
grinch59
Gene Nowak 0
Sigordon3 - Why do we need a 747? A major segment of the group is the Press Corps. Why do the taxpayers need to pay for their travel. Let them charter their own jet and the President can then travel to PHL in say one of those surplus Gulfstreams.
dbaker
Daniel Baker 0
@grinch59 -- The press corps DOES pay for seats on A1 and as you suggest, there IS a charter jet that follows A1 with more press, which the press also pays for. The White House arranges for all the travel in conjunction with the President's trip and then bills the news organizations for the travel costs as well as communication (wifi, telephone, etc).
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
@Craig Harris - "Shareholders should insist that their companies do not participate in the FAA registration number blocking. It's called transparency."

So as a shareholder, if the CEO of your company is in buyout / merger negotioations with a competitor, or major contract negotiations with a customer which would bring major changes to the company, you wouldn't have a problem with everybody in the world knowing that the company plane is regularly flying to the HQ of the buyout target? Even if it meant another competitor was able to figure out what was going on and beat out your company for the deal? Being able to keep those kinds of things quiet is absolutely crucial to doing business, and I don't think many of us "commoners" have a clue what it's like to be in that position.

As far as CEO compensation, there are more and more high level jobs at companies that require extremely high knowledge and skill to produce positive business results in a tremendoulsy competitive business environment, and there are a limited number of people who ae capable of doing those jobs. Therefor, basic supply and demand results in those top tier executives at VERY large, complex companies being paid a LOT of money. An yes I'm sure many of you have those ready made examples of highly paid executives whose company's did very poorly while they made a fortune, but they usually didn't keep those jobs long, and it actually reinforces the notion that those are VERY difficult jobs to perform. Instead of putting executive compensation in terms of a multiple of what the "common" worker makes (which is irrelevant), why not relate in terms of a percentage of company revenue? The larger the company the more highly paid the executives (by and large) so what's wrong with that?
CathyH
Yawn, the politics of envy. Mind you if I were buying a bizjet it would be one I could fly myself, so I would save on a pilot!
kb9uwu
Matt Comerford 0
"As far as CEO compensation, there are more and more high level jobs at companies that require extremely high knowledge and skill to produce positive business results in a tremendoulsy competitive business environment, and there are a limited number of people who ae capable of doing those jobs." LOL! Sure glad all those hedge fund managers and bank CEO's made hundreds of millions of dollars per year, boy, that talent!!
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
You're clueless.
kb9uwu
Matt Comerford 0
Yes! Just like those CEOs! The important thing, Brian, is that I'm talented. :-)
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
If you say so.
chalet
chalet 0
The arguments that Bishop is submitting to justify the obscene, monster payments that "highly talented executives" in corporate America pull -some reaching hundreds of millions per individual even in companies that lose money- is nothing more than pure, unadulterated BS specially those guys in the banking industry and so called "high finance". Just look around and see the state of the U.S. economy thanks to the Lehman Brothers, Merril Lynches, etc.etc. and guess what, who had to pick up the tabn to avoid wholesale bankrupty of banks: you and me and millions of taxpayers. There!
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
I also predicted that you would trot out examples that are the exception and not the rule. If I judged you by the worst of your peers I'm sure it would be easy to stir up contempt for you and your position as well, but I won't do that. :)
Steamjet
Steamjet 0
Exceptions!!!!.... Now who is the BS artist, Brian???

The banking industry isn't an exception..... It is the rule; they ruined our economy. B of A, Goldman, JPM Chase, Wells Fargo, Deusche Bank., AIG..do I need to go any further?

Show me the exception,
bobreid
bob reid 0
Lets stop all the corp jet activity..that way we can close down all those smelly airplane factories and airport FBO's.. no jobs in aviation?..let them work for amtrack..
biorider
John Jones 0
Bizjets are codpieces for execs. I saw it in my own company, first the East Coast CEO gets his Challenger 605, then the West Coast gets a C605 to make it 'even'. Smart companies just lease, but that's not great cocktail party conversation.
chiphermes
Chip Hermes 0
biorider...your company has two CEOs? Maybe I found your problem.
biorider
John Jones 0
And the problem was solved, both are gone, along with the airplanes and boatloads of cash! The company is still sinking.
biorider
John Jones 0
The company travel policy stated that employees could not act as flight crew for any travel, with the exception of the flight department. Just to burst anyone's bubble for free PIC time.
chalet
chalet 0
All the unjustified perks like business jets used mainly for personal joy have to go. I just read today in the WSJ that President Obama has decided to eliminate the $ 6 BILLION yearly subsidies to the ethanol industry. Let's hope that he will continue taking down all other subsidies including those benefiting the farmers to the tune of $ 30 to 50 BILLION a year and entitlements like the depletion allowance benefiting the "poor" oil industry which is also in the BILLIONS a year. This is the way to erase the monster deficit, not by increasing taxes.
chalet
chalet 0
@Bob Reid are you aware that among the major airframe manufacturers of business jets i.e. Cessna, Hawker Beech, Bombardier, Lear, Falcon, Embraer and Gulfstream offer almost 50 (FIFTY) different models or aircraft from 4 to 15+ passenger capacity. How in the world can they expect to make a profit with so many offerings and worse off if the government steps in to rationalize the otherwise damaging accelerated depreciation.
bobreid
bob reid 0
@Chalet..OMG! I can't believe anyone would take my comment seriously..My aviation company employed 150 people until the government decided to tell us how to run our business..Accelerated Depreciation has been around for years...I had two lears, three turbo commanders, two king airs, and five C421C flying for 15 years...( never had an accident or killed anyone) Our company was constantly harassed by 1/2 dozen different govt agencies including the city..let’s face it..the bureaucrats don't like regular people out there flying around in their own airplane..face it… soon all of GA will be gone and you will have to wait in line and have some TSA thug sticking his finger up your anal sphincter valve so you can fly like cattle stuffed into a rail car...Every time a corp. jet takes to the air, it is supporting a manufacturer and support facility like an FBO..all of which are made up of regular working people supporting their families..Let’s not forget that..
lancair320
Although I may not agree with the previous post's choice of words, I agree with the sentiment. As an past exec in a growing corp, the job is all consuming. I used smaller aircraft, but used often for pleasure-business. If I traveled to Arizona on RnR, I did business there. But at least, the staff wasn't interrupting me every few minutes. Notwithstanding, Exec jets pay for a lot of services smaller-scale GA users take advantage of. The Lancair flyer often gets red-carpet treatment, like the Exec Jet. Yet that contributes a fraction of the revenue to the FBO. I believe it was Lee Iacocca, that said the Jet was one of the best tools he kept during the Dodge financial woes. Saved much time, and best utilized personnel.
Thank-You Exec Jet owners and flyers.
Daleroark
Dale Roark 0
Chalet you are a fool. The farm bill is $142 billion, Food stamps gets all but $12 billion of that which is wasted on administration the farmer gets about 1% of the whole farm bill. You pay nearly nothing for your food. I would perfer that the department of Agriculture was Abolished and the Government left me alone. One the other hand I hope you starve to death necked
davisdd
Dennis Davis 0
i wonder how many of you have company cars to take home and use. now if you are really in the hot seat, having a corp. plane at your disposal would be just a step up from a company car. executive mgmt isn't always the brightest and the best but they did something right to get there. as far as causing problems for our ecom. maybe we should look at our gov't regulation on the banking industry. no one is entitled to a home, even if barney fife and company believe they are. i put 20% down and paid payments. many put nothing down and paid nothing. while the banks and you and me ate the loss. could all have be avoided by clinton and company keeping their noses out of private banking.
chalet
chalet 0
@Dale Roar, the $ 30 to 50 billion I mentioned is what some experts guess that are wasted in bureaucracy, overpayments to farmers, subsidies for the exports of all sorts of grain, the ethanol subsdidy, etc. but if you are a farmer who knows everything, then I will go by your figure of $ 142 billion but saying that the farmer gets only 1% of that is dead wrong. Whatever, the root of the problem is that the senators, the representatives, all the politicians that represent the Farm Belt states fear like the plague the revenge -make it the revolt- that they might see in the next elections and lose their plum jobs in DCA should they try to streamline the DOA.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
Thank you Dennis, I was about to ask the same question (the one about comany cars). It's nice to know there are a few people here who are interested in a reasoned analysis instead of simply sticking to their own political suppositions, facts be-damned, and call you names if you disagree.
bishops90
Brian Bishop 0
@Chalet - I AGREE WITH YOU my friend regarding your statment of the "root of the problem"! It is political pressure from every direction that prevents anything of substance to be acomplished in Washington today. Whether its the farm lobby, the seniors lobby, the union lobby, the (enter your favorite here) lobby, if anything at all gets done, it's usually a mishmash of worthless crap that all of us real people have to deal with (can you say Obama-Care?).
slgordon3
slgordon3 0
To be fair, there's been plenty of bad policies spurred by interest group pressure and foolish, blind loyalty to supporters by politicians from both sides of the aisle in the past decade. For every Obama-care it seems like there's a Hurricane Katrina (apples and oranges of course, but you get the point).
devsfan
ken young 0
Few points....First, it is no one's damned business who spends what and on what.That said, this "corporate jet" thing is an attempt by the political Left to create class envy.
Many people who own private aircraft and people who are in the market for private aircraft are former users of commercial aviation, but have become intolerant of the hassles involving flying commercially. If I could afford to purchase my own aircraft, I would eschew commercial.
Private and corporate aviation creates jobs from aviators to technicians to assembly workers.
dmaccarter
dmaccarter 0
Business aircraft are tools. Smart businesses use the right tool for the job at hand. Moving district managers from the central office to the provinces so they can oversee the stores in their district is a smart use of a jet airplane. Lolly gagging around the country showing off your glamorous wealth to your equally rich buddies in a corporate jet, expenses for which are paid for with stock holder cash and written off on the books as "market research"....well I think you get the point.
chalet
chalet 0
While on the subject did we mention the "special interests of the defense industry". To refresh memories I would like to invite you to watch excerpts of the famous Eisenhower farewell words on Jan. 17, 1961 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY Just one isolated and not so minor example: the cost of the Lockheed Martin JSF F-35 figher jet plane. The initial contract called for a unit price in the range of $ 60 million; I read in a recent article in the Aviation Week & ST magazine that the unit price is now temporarily set at $ 115 million and counting. And examples like this abound. Something has to be done. Again, no need to raise taxes, just use it judiciously.
harmgb
harm buning 0
I am happy if executive jets are used to conduct company business, and I am also happy if executive aircraft are used to take execs on vacation IF THEY PAY FOR IT! I guess I am a Marxist on the subject of corporate aircraft flying on personal use boondoggles at taxpayer or shareholder expense.

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