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View Diary: Washington takes notice of you liberals...for a change (138 comments)

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  •  I disagree about capital gains (7+ / 0-)

    I freely admit I'm not a financial expert.  However, I think capital gains are not just "rewards for sitting on one's butt and doing nothing".  Capital gains should be taxed as income just as wages are, but they're realized when stock is sold and any profit is taken by the seller.  When someone buys a share in a company, they're risking their money and they're looking to get a return on their money in the same way lending money to a bank (by putting money into a savings account) or buying bonds to get money from, for example, a city needing to build infrastructure.  In order for that money to be invested, there needs to be a return and people aren't going to be investing where they're going to lose money.  Those that are doing so are the ones who are gaming the system and those are the people who need to be punished by changing the incentives (including raising taxes).

    For example, with my 401K, I'm investing my money in a stock fund which in turn invests the money in the ownership of a variety of companies.  I expect to receive a return on my investment for this loan of money; that return is capital gains.  It's not salary due to my labor, but it is a profit from loaning the business the money it needs to operate.  I research to try and make sure I invest wisely and I pay the mutual fund company to also research to help me not lose my money.  If I were to invest money in a bank savings account, I would get less return, usually, but that is guaranteed by FDIC and FSLIC up to a certain amount, so the risk is lower so the return can be lower.  There is work involved in research and it's not "doing nothing".  I don't mind a tax on my gains the same way I don't mind taxes on my income for my main job.  I still have the taxes to pay, or some credit for a loss, but I don't get to do it all for free.  Someone like a Rmoney might, because he can afford to have people figure out how to game the system in his favor, but I just object to your categorizing capital gains as free, unearned money.  I don't believe anyone short of those at the very top are investing without risking their own money.  

    In this I even include those who are making all their money through investing.  They're not getting their hands dirty, but they are investing money based upon their research on a given company.  They're trying to invest in a company that will grow their money, give them dividends or whatever, but they're trying to make money.  Public companies need funds from the public to conduct business, so those are partnerships.  Are corporation board members looting their companies now more than they used to, by paying outrageous salaries to the top people (who often will then turn around and reward those same board members in an incestuous fashion)?  Yes, and it's up to shareholders to vote in annual meetings or by selling bad companies and investing in good companies to try and change that behavior.  It's also up to us to get politicians in office who will make laws to help force companies to not loot themselves by things like selling themselves to Bain Capital like companies which will reward the board and destroy the company's value by loading it up with debt and firing the workers.  Those are generally the leeches and parasites of business, and those are the ones who have profited far too much over the last thirty years.

    Where your argument might have merit is in the transaction tax where each and every purchase and sale is taxed.  Those, with computers, have dramatically changed the equation in the stock market so that computers now control buying and selling decisions and not the health of the underlying company.  There are sometimes millions of transactions occurring in a second based upon a rumor or news item and then millions more as the next series of decisions are kicked off because of the reactions the second before to that piece of news.  If every one of those transactions had a miniscule tax attached to it, suddenly there would be a lot fewer of them because to make money, there would have to be a lot more to be gained by making that transaction before the fee became worth it.  It's been said by people far smarter than me that the computer programs contributed to driving the country over the cliff in the Great Recession because there weren't proper brakes on stupid decisions, plus they made decisions faster than people could analyze them.  

    We have, imo, far too many of those and we could generate a lot of money to repay the amount spent to bail out Wall Street if we taxed the transactions.  However, many Wall Street firms are currently set up to make fees from those transactions whether the stocks go up or down so in essence, they're incentivized to transact rather than to make smart decisions.  We need to change that incentive.

    •  You are not "loaning" money to firms (28+ / 0-)

      When you invest in the stock market, you are gambling. Nothing more.

      There is no "loan" to the firm, so you lose if you make that claim (as you did). You are not helping the firm to build anything unless you are buying shares directly from the firm at IPO or a secondary offering. All other purchases and sales of stocks are on the secondary market, which is between individuals who hold the stock and those who want to buy it. None of that money goes to the firm!

      The fact is that labor is taxed at a max rate of around 42% (income + payroll), while capital is taxed at a max rate of 15% after a one-year holding period. If tax rates are creating incentives, then our tax policy is trying to de-incentivize hard work and instead incentivize moving money around and gambling.

      •  the secondary market has some (5+ / 0-)

        indirect benefits, in the form of establishing liquidity for the company stock and it boosts the value of treasury stock.  Setting the cap gains tax too high might provide a disincentive to sell stock, but the rates probably could rise.

        In terms of DIVIDENDS, they should be taxed as ordinary income, however, and I do think hedge funds and private equity who are "actively managing" funds should pay a higher rate than other investors.  

        Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

        by Loge on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:09:41 PM PST

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      •  Well, what I'm trying to say (and may be totally (3+ / 0-)

        wrong in my belief) is that when I buy a share of stock I'm buying a piece of the company - even if it's a infinitesimally small piece.  The money doesn't go to the company directly, but it does mean that I'm supporting the value of the company at a given price, so the company has worth (collateral) when it goes to take out loans to operate the business. I'm not paying them money to directly make the widget, but I'm saying I believe the stock is worth the $10 or more/share (or whatever) and the company can then go to the bank (or whomever) and say our value for our company is 50 billion dollars, our debt is only 10 billion and we want to borrow money to make more widgets.

        I don't disagree that the tax rates should be adjusted.  I just disagree that there's no work involved in the investment of money into a stock.  Maybe (probably) the tax rates for investment income need to be higher.

      •  the stock market is GAMBLING (0+ / 0-)

        period

        i learned that as a young age and no one has ever said anything to move me from it

        Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
        Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

        by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 06:02:03 PM PST

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    •  Further, to build on what Opinion Guy said above (9+ / 0-)

      (with which I agree) it is ludicrous that gain over one year should be considered "long term gain", most especially as it greatly distorts corporate executive incentives and decisions (top execs with stock options are often leaving money on the table if they don't go for short term gain at long term cost).

      Further, I don't believe any distinction is made in the tax code between investment in foreign firms or multinationals expanding abroad (at worst fostering foreign competition and at best doing little for us compared to the benefits of higher tax revenue) and investment in domestic firms that not only directly provide jobs but also buy domestic products and services. Nor is a distinction made between vampire investments that suck value out of the economy (e.g., Bain) or the environment and other sorts of investments that actually build the economy.

      The idea of lower rates on some types of long term capital gains is completely not without merit, if these lower rates were contingent on truly long term investments and investments that help, rather than hurt our nation's economy. But implementing differential rates in that way would mean serious lack of unearned profit by the people in the top 1%. Can't have that, I guess.

      My country, right or wrong; if right, to be kept right; and if wrong, to be set right.
      --Carl Schurz, remarks in the Senate, February 29, 1872

      by leftist vegetarian patriot on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 02:43:59 PM PST

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    •  Completely agree with you on transaction taxes... (11+ / 0-)

      but I disagree with you on capital gains being worthy of special low tax rates.

      We have a problem in this country where we visualize one thing and reality is another.  When we think of small businesses, we think of mom and pop shops with a few homemade crafts and some groceries but what the government includes as a small business is oil companies with a 1000 employees and parking garages in big cities with $3 million a year revenues and ammunition manufacturers with 1500 employees... and these can be broken into pieces so one person owns ten oil companies with a 1000 employees each or outsource their labor to a temp agency and have 2500 people working there.  It isn't what we normally think of.

      When we think of investors, we think of realy intelligent, highly educated, book worm people who study the market and have this special insight into how it works.  They see that there is going to be this great market need for laser guided widgets and the invest and when the market explodes a few weeks later, they are heralded as market gods.  That's not how it works.  These mega banking and investment firms have billion dollar, super fast computer systems that buy and sell stock in microseconds based on algorythms that notice minute shifts in the market.  They have a pecking order that says they buy and sell their investments first, their preferred customers second, their normal customers third and the long term investors fourth (401Ks).  Now before someone calls me on it, I know that it is illegal for a company to buy stock before their customers but thanks to the speed of their super computers, they can place the customers orders on their regular old fast computers and THEN place their rders and their orders still get their first.  Keep in mind, this is all done almost autmatically once the perameters are set in the computers at a thousand times a second.  These "Investments" are nothing more than a rigged roulette wheel.  This is what we are giving special tax rates for.

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 03:54:57 PM PST

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      •  "Small Business" Scam (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim

        Absolutely right about the abuse of the small business term.

        Yet so often people accept without question the line that small business create the majority of jobs.

        The fact is that real small businesses also destroy vast number of jobs, because of their huge failure rate.

        Fake small business doesn't deserve special consideration and tax benefits that just increase flow of wealth to the top.

        Senator (Cruz), you're no Wendy Davis.

        by VA Gal on Sat Jan 04, 2014 at 05:54:55 AM PST

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