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The Future Is Reduced For Quick Sale

Jetsetters and clumpanies


The global jet-owning oligarchy—your hundred-millionaires and billionaires—is a small crew, fewer than 100,000 people, flying around in 23,133 private jets. But boy do they fly a lot: One out of every six flights handled by the Federal Aviation Administration is in a private jet. In general, private jet-setters contribute to carbon pollution at a rate 10 to 45 times that of the passengers of commercial airliners or small-engine planes. And the top is even more extreme: Elon Musk traveled more by private jet than virtually anyone else in the US last year, with a private-jet-fuel carbon footprint alone the equivalent of all the climate pollution from 132 average American households.

Researchers Chuck Collins, Omar Ocampo, and Kalena Thomhave—writing in an Institute for Policy Studies report supported by the Patriotic Millionaires group—have found that, thanks to a jetsetter-friendly tax and regulatory code, the rest of us are footing the bill. As Josh Goldman summarizes:

Those who fly on commercial flights pay a 7.5 percent tax and separate $4.50 surcharge to fund the services of the Federal Aviation Administration. Private flights, in contrast, are exempt from these fees, and fund just 2 percent of the money directed to the FAA, yet are one out of every six flights the FAA handles.

The report recommends raising taxes on private jets and their fuel, closing other loopholes, and increasing transparency about jet ownership.

Of course, instead of asking the jet-setters to chip in a bit more, we could, as Dharna Noor has suggested, simply ban the jets.

Speaking of which, what is the private-jet class up to these days? Some, like Paris Hilton, were attending the Met Gala on Monday evening, where they were confronted by climate protesters wielding pitchforks.

Another sizable contingent of mega-millionaire CEOs, politicians, and bankers jetted to the Beverly Hilton for the annual Milken Junk-Bond Institute Global Conference, which concludes today.

State Street’s CEO Ron O’Hanley, told the conference on Monday in a panel on “environmental commitments and climate pledges” that he hates climate divestment campaigners:

“To me, there is not a dumber thing in the world than to put pressure on an investment manager or, for that matter, an asset owner, to divest. What gets accomplished out of it? Well, the portfolio gets decarbonized. Does the air we breathe change? Not at all.”

Does his argument make any sense? Not at all!

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and ExxonMobil CEO Darren Woods also palled it up at the conference in a joint interview. “Getting these two guys to disagree may be a challenge,” CNBC’s David Faber joshed.

Participants in the conference also got to play with puppies, get energy healing, and hang out with Seth Rogen and Deepak Chopra, Chris Tucker, Demi Lovato, Snoop Dogg, and Issa Rae.

I’m sure all the cool kids sincerely enjoy jamming with the asset managers and prostate cancer researchers.

The Future Is Reduced For Quick Sale

On the Hill today, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) chaired Who Pays the Price: The Real Cost of Fossil Fuels, at 10 AM. The witnesses are the economist Dr. Ted Gayer of the center-right Niskanen Center, Dr. Nicole Deziel, Associate Professor Of Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health, and the GOP witness Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Heritage Foundation, formerly of the Reagan, Bush, Bush and Trump administrations.

Also at 10 AM, the Environment and Public Works committee reviewed the $7.4 billion US Army Corps of Engineers budget, as Appropriations subcommittees simultaneously reviewed the U.S. Department of Energy budget with Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk and the Environmental Protection Agency budget with Administrator Michael Regan.

A quick check on the news outside of Capitol Hill and the Beverly Hilton:

Imagine what we could do together if we took the toys away from the megarich…

Hearings on the Hill:

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