Donnie Trump is for it, Barack Obama is too, as are Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.
“It” is the idea of finally ending a ridiculous tax loophole that was written by and for the richest, most pampered elites on Wall Street. An obscurely-titled “carried-interest” tax break allows billionaire hedge-fund hucksters to have their massive incomes taxed at a much lower rate than the one teachers, main street businesses, carpenters, and other modest-income people must pay.
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This privileged treatment of money shufflers over people who do constructive work in our society adds to America’s widening chasm of inequality. It’s so unfair and unpopular that even Trump and Bush see that it has to go. So, it’s bye-bye loophole, right?
Ha – just kidding! Trump can mouth all he wants, but no animal hath such fury as a hedge-funder whose special tax boondoggle is threatened. Trump had barely gotten the word “unfair” out of his puffy lips before the tax-loophole profiteers deployed battalions of lobbyists, PR flacks, and front-group operatives out to defend their precious carried-interest provision. Just one group, with the arcane name of Private Equity Growth Capital Council, rushed a dozen Gucci-clad lobbyists to Capitol Hill to “inform” lawmakers about the virtues of coddling Wall Street elites with tax favors.
Of course, “informing” meant flashing their checkbooks at key members of Congress. After all, even the loudest blast of political talk is cheap – and it’s the silent sound of a pen writing out a campaign check that makes WashingtonWorld keep spinning in favor of the rich.
Sure enough, Rep. Paul Ryan, the new leader of the US House of Representatives, has assured the check writers that – the will of the people aside – he’ll not allow any effort to repeal the hedge-fund loophole to get out of committee.
“Defenders of Tax Break for Rich Rally to Defend It,” The New York Times, September 19, 2015.