April 28, 2012

Warren Buffett’s NetJets Spent $1 Million Lobbying To Cut Fees For Its Wealthy Clients

The elite who utilize private jets will continue to pay less taxes.

Warren Buffett is best known in political America for his advocacy for taxing the wealthy at a similar rate to the rest of Americans. President Obama crafted the “Buffett Rule” after the idea that it’s wrong, as Buffet frequently says, for a billionaire like him to pay a lower income tax rate than his secretary.

But the Wall Street Journal reports that Buffett’s NetJets — a private jet rental and ownership company that is owned by his Berkshire Hathawayspent $1 million to lobby Congress to win a fee waiver from Congress.

Right now, the Federal Aviation Administration is funded partially by fees from airlines. Commercial airlines shoulder the largest portion of these fees. NetJets lobbied hard to change its classification to a noncommercial airline to avoid paying a larger bulk of fees.

The Wall Street Journal’s Brody Mullins estimates that NetJets and other private plane companies would save $83 million over four years thanks to this tax break. Watch Mullins explain how NetJets did it:


NetJets was also sued by the federal government recently for millions of dollars in unpaid taxes.

  • I’m not familiar with this industry, however, partially funding the FAA by fees on private jet companies is a no brainer for me. Why should the taxpayer and the users of commercial airlines bear the entire expense of the FAA without any liability falling on the private jet companies?

    • Avaritia

      While on the surface it appears to make sense, the problem is that in today’s U$$A, those are not fees but, rather, bribes so that the “donors” can do as they please to their benefit and to the detriment of the rest of us. Or aren’t you awake and paying attention to what has been happening here in this great casino of ours?

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  • Merrywinters

    Just one more example of screw the people.

  • Avaritia

    Good to see that it’s business as usual in our Corporate $tate$ of Americha. We wouldn’t wanna change anything for fear of taking power and profits from the holy masters and giving anything to the little sheep that go baaah baaah baaah in the night.

    • Sechumanist

      I’ve heard whimpering and moaning, too.

      • Pass a law requiring all “discussions” regarding rule making and legislations be posted on the internet for public knowledge 72 hours prior to a vote in Congress or Senate on that rule or law. The only way to mitigate these “back room deals” is to open the door so America can look in.

  • PCMartin

    Americans understood and supported the social fairness and economic effectiveness of markedly progressive taxation for decades, until Reagan tapped into their brass-ring fantasies. The predictable result of dramatically lower taxes on the rich is that we have become by far the most economically unequal country in the First World, saddled with public and private debt, with plummeting social mobility and prospects for the young. And now the Democratic Party is lauding the “Buffet Rule” — essentially a minimum flat tax — as a heroic goal. Some heroes.

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  • A G-5 occupies the same airspace as a 737. It flies the same jet lanes. It requires the same attention from controllers. It should pay the same fees.

  • CatKinNY

    $83 millon here, $83 million there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. Here’s a solution: these rich pricks spend pretty much their entire lives avoiding mixing with the hoi poloi, so let’s seperate them in the air as well. If they don’t want to pay fees for the upkeep of airports and the funding of the FAA, let them pay for their own privately funded system, a ‘seperate but equal’ place in the airways. They will have to fund their own air traffic control system that is required by law to send them to the back of the bus whenever their is a conflict with a commercial, paying customer. Popular, direct routes will be closed to them; major metropolitan areas with crowded airspace will be closed to them – no NY, LA, Chicago, Houston, DFW, San Antonio , San Francisco, Boston, DC, Miami, West Palm, Orlando, Denver, Detroit, Atlanta, Seattle, Las Vegas, etc. Enjoy your elite status, scumbags!

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