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Championship Socialism: Hillary Clinton to Propose ‘Behavior Modification’ Taxation

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Doubling Capital Gains Tax Rate on Short-Term Investments: Campaign officials have said that their goal is not to address income inequality or to raise money for the federal treasury, but to ‘change investor behavior’.

Laura Meckler writes: Hillary Clinton will propose a sharp increase in the capital-gains tax rate for the highest earners for investments held only a few years, a campaign official said Friday.

[Also see – Hillary’s Inconceivably Stupid Capital-Gains Tax Scheme by Larry Kudlow at National Review Online]

Under the Clinton plan, investments held between one and two years would be taxed at the normal income-tax rate of 39.6%, nearly double the existing 20% capital gains rate. Neither figure counts an extra 3.8% tax on net investment income included as part of the health-care law, a campaign official said.

The campaign isn’t proposing any changes to the capital gains rate for lower-income taxpayers. The change would affect top-bracket single filers with taxable income above $413,201 and married couples filing jointly with taxable income above $484,850.

The rate for top-bracket taxpayers would be set on a sliding scale, with the lowest rate applied to investments held the longest. To qualify for the existing 20% rate, one would have to hold an investment for at least six years.

Hillary-forum

Democratic Presidential candidate and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a forum at Greenville Technical College Thursday in Greenville, S.C. Photo: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Mrs. Clinton will lay out the plan in a speech Friday in New York City, where she plans to spotlight what she sees as unhealthy corporate efforts to boost stock prices. She will argue that a focus on short-term results is undercutting longer-term economic growth and hurting American workers.

Mrs. Clinton will also endorse a $15 per hour minimum wage proposal for fast-food workers in New York, a campaign official said. Asked about this on Thursday, she hedged as to whether the minimum wage should be that high nationally but said certain cities can justify higher minimums. “I do recognize that the cost of living in Little Rock is different than the cost of living in Manhattan,” she told reporters. Asked if $15 per hour is justified in New York, she said, “That’s up to local leaders in New York. They certainly believe it is.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The campaign said she would also call for greater disclosure of stock buybacks by companies, saying that while they may give a quick lift to stock prices, they often come at the expense of research and development spending. She will also call for a review of securities rules related to shareholder activism and rules governing tax treatment of executive compensation.

The capital-gains tax changes are the centerpiece of her proposal. Campaign officials have said that their goal is not to address income inequality or to raise money for the federal treasury, but to change investor behavior.

Under existing law, investments held for less than a year are already taxed at normal income-tax rates, and that wouldn’t change under the Clinton plan.

But her plan would affect taxes for the top-tier taxpayers who hold investments for anywhere between two and six years. For instance….(read more)

WSJ

Write to Laura Meckler at laura.meckler@wsj.com

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