Hillary Clinton this week called for another increase in the capital gains tax. Clinton proposed limiting the use of “like-kind exchanges,” a provision allowing investors to pay taxes on certain types of capital gains only when they cash out — not if they choose to reinvest earnings into another asset.
The capital gains tax hits income that has already been subjected to income taxes and has been reinvested to help create jobs, grow wages, and increase economic growth. This income should not be taxed and studies have shown that even supposedly modest increases would have strong adverse economic effects.
For instance, repeal of like-kind exchanges would cost the U.S. economy as much as $13.1 billion in lost GDP in the long term, according to a study by Ernst and Young.
The left always derides the capital gains tax as a “loophole” by big government that ought to be repealed. Going after provisions such as like-kind exchanges is another step toward the long term goal of taxing all capital gains as ordinary income.
Hillary has already called for several capital gains tax increases. First, she would create the most byzantine capital gains tax with six brackets for those whose total taxable income puts them in the 39.6 percent bracket. This proposal is supposed to fix the problem of short-term investment, even though investors make decisions based on value, not length of time. Her campaign has not said how much this will increase taxes.
Clinton has also proposed raising taxes on “carried interest” capital gains earned by investment partnerships. Carried interest capital gains are indistinguishable from any other type of capital gain because individuals that derive income from carried interest pay the same capital gains taxes rates as everyone else, as they should. It is not a loophole in any way.
In all, Hillary has proposed at least $1 trillion in new taxes based on the campaign’s own figures. The true Clinton net tax hike figure is likely much higher because her campaign has failed to release specific details for many of her proposals.
She has called for an income tax increase, a business tax increase, a death tax increase, a tax on stock trading, an “Exit Tax” and even a “fairness” tax. In addition, she has refused to rule out a carbon tax and a top advisor has suggested there is no need to lower the corporate rate, even though the U.S. has the highest rate in the developed world.