Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
02.14 Exposure to Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Risk for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma: A Meta-Analysis and Supporting Evidence [If its killing us, make it illegal]
02.14 To avoid environmental catastrophe, everything must change [Consider why this headline is laughable or confusing to many, if not most, Americans...]02.13 Study Shows Toxic Pesticide Levels in Families Dropped by 60% After One-Week Organic Diet [2:10 video; Produce and canned vegetables laced with toxic chemicals—from fertilizers and herbicides, too—must be quickly phased out to use safe organic alternatives]
02.11 'People Shouldn't Be Going Bankrupt and Dying': Nationwide Week of Action Aims to Build Mass Movement Behind Medicare for All [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.09 The potato solution: how the Guardian switched to biodegradable packaging [Non-recyclable products should be illegal]
News Media Matters
02.15 Samantha Bee: Fox News 'soiling themselves over the Green New Deal' [video clips from Samantha Bee, Seth Meyers and Stephen Colbert]
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
02.15 Jayapal Says Medicare for All Bill Coming in Two Weeks as Expert Calls Plan 'Astonishingly Strong' [Corporate control of government and media must be limited to allow efficient programs for the public good]
02.14 Pentagon Fears Climate Crisis, w/ Billions in Damage to US Bases & Societal Upheaval [In maniacally twisted capitalist countries inconvenient truths are ignored or harshly ridiculed, and Trump's stupid Wall obsession dominates the news instead.]
02.13 'We Will Be That Lantern on the Shore': Ocasio-Cortez, Pressley Rally With TPS Holders Outside Trump White House [Empathy and fairness are scarce when your President is a psychopath]
Economics & Corrupting-Capitalism
02.13 The Green New Deal offers radical environmental and economic change [For the survival of life on earth, capitalism must be effectively regulated or banned]
02.12 Climate and economic risks 'threaten 2008-style systemic collapse' [Willfull ignorance of Trump, Republicans, corporate-media and corporate-Democrats is steadfast, if not worsening]
02.11 Trump offers socialism for the rich, capitalism for everyone else [and the poor will die out like the insects]
International & Futurism
02.15 Who Is Really A Socialist? [Who is really a Republican, etc.?]
02.14 House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen [Congress does something good again!]
02.14 Millions Flowed From Venezuelan Oil Firm to Small Bulgarian Bank [Transactions like Manafort performed for Trump. Which Venezuelan political leader is likely behind this—Maduro or Trump-supported Guaidó?]
Obama, Read Your Reagan on Capital Gains Taxation
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
Tax breaks on Wall Street gains, with two small exceptions, fail three fiscal policy tests. They serve no purpose. They’re a limitless drain on the Treasury. And they’re inequitable: they favor wealth, not work.
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 was President Ronald Reagan’s last fiscal legacy. It showcased his deep belief in trickle-down economics, cutting the top rate on personal income nearly in half.
But Reagan also signed off on a longtime liberal goal: equal taxes on income from work and income from wealth. The bill raised the tax on long-term capital gains from 20 percent to 28 percent, the same top rate that applied to ordinary income. No longer would gains made on Wall Street be taxed at a lower rate than wages on Main Street.
Reagan hailed the bill as “a sweeping victory for fairness.” A generation later, our runaway federal deficit gives President Obama powerful new grounds to bring back Reagan’s liberal breakthrough.
The president knows we’ve been backsliding for the longest time. Listen to this from the Tax Fairness Plan posted on Obama’s website in 2008: “For decades, America has been victim to an anti-tax sentiment that has led to tax cuts that favor wealth, not work.”
Nothing favors wealth, not work, more neatly than the tax break on capital gains. President Clinton lowered the tax on long-term gains to 20 percent. President Bush cut it again, to 15 percent, little more than half the rate paid by middle-class Americans on their wages. Bush’s action pushed the rate to a 70-year low; it’s now at 77 years and counting, going back to 1933.
The Bush tax cuts are due to expire at the end of the year, which would return the capital gains rate to 20 percent. Instead, taking his fairness cue from Reagan, the president should shepherd us back to the equal-tax path.
You can see how Reagan got there by looking at the reason that’s always given for low capital gains taxes—the claim that buying stocks stimulates the economy, growing new businesses and new jobs. Nice try, but The Gipper saw through it.
Only a trace amount of all the churning on Wall Street grows anything. Small companies with big dreams raise seed money through initial public offerings (IPOs) and secondary offerings. These investments deserve a bigger tax break than they get now; there’s a strong case for making them tax-free. All other stock market gains should be taxed the same as wages (which they were, back when).
Finally, let’s get serious about the pickle we’re in. The U.S. deficit hit a record $1.4 trillion for fiscal 2009. According to the National Debt Clock, we’re sinking nearly $4 billion deeper every day. Sooner or later, Congress will be forced to mete out the pain.
Tax breaks on Wall Street gains (except as noted) fail three fiscal policy tests. They serve no purpose. They’re a limitless drain on the Treasury. And they’re inequitable: they favor wealth, not work. Income is income, and should be taxed the same no matter where it comes from.
“A sweeping victory for fairness”—Ronald Reagan, October 22, 1986, at a signing ceremony on the south lawn of the White House. Barack Obama? I’m leaving a message, hoping to hear.
Copyright 2010 Gerald E. Scorse. Gerald E. Scorse helped pass a bill that tightens the rules for reporting capital gains*. He has an MBA from Baruch College.
*“The basis reporting legislation follows years of hard work by Prof. Jay Soled of Rutgers University, Prof. Joseph M. Dodge of Florida State University, and more recently...Gerald E. Scorse, who read about the work of the two professors and decided to make this reform his cause.” —Excerpt from David Cay Johnston’s "Tax Notes" column of 10/13/2008. See TaxAnalysts.com.
Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on January 26, 2010.