Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Investors: Read Before You Vote for Obama

Unless you want to impoverish yourself, consider voting for someone besides Barack Obama.

I'm not going to get too political on this blog (yet), but I felt that there was one bit of information that deserved to be made known at this point:

Obama plans to hike capital gains taxes.

Due to his tax-break initiatives, which aim at lowering taxes for lower-income, middle-income, and elderly taxpayers (which I do not necessarily impose), he plans to raise the capital gains tax to pay for the decreases elsewhere.

How much? It's not clear yet. I can't find an official stated policy on his website, but here are some excerpts I've picked up from other press sources.

The USA Today reports:

"When Obama announced his health care plan in May, his campaign said he could pay for it by rolling back several Bush tax cuts that benefit the wealthy. That included restoring the top rate on investments to pre-Bush levels: 20% for capital gains and 39.6% for dividends.

...However, they could not say how much that would raise or exactly how high Obama would raise them except that the top rate for both would be between 20% and 28% — the rate President Reagan set in 1986.


The New York Times reports:

"While Mr. Obama said he had not settled on how high to raise the capital gains rates, he added that he would “adjust the top dividends and capital gains rate to something closer to — but no greater than — the rates Ronald Reagan set in 1986.” Later, aides said the top rates would be 20 percent to 28 percent. Most people now pay 15 percent on capital gains, with lower-income people eligible for a 5 percent rate."


So it's not clear exactly how high Obama plans to raise capital gains taxes, but it does seem likely that they will be increased. From what I can tell, based on articles and his website, he does not specify if taxes will be raised for every taxpayer, or if only "wealthy" investors will have an increased burden.

This tax increase will be a terrible blow to the stock market and the fiscal health of America. First, if Barack is elected, the stock market will likely tank, if investors think that a tax increase is probable or imminent. A hike just to 20% represents a 33% increase - a HUGE number - while a raise to the highest stated possibility, 28%, is a 90% increase.

The markets sell off on news lesof their value os scary than that. How eager to would you be to hold onto gains that would lose up to a quarter overnight?

Plus, at a time when most Americans have little net worth, why does it make sense to make it less desirable to save money? The government should be doing everything it can to promote investing and savings; instead of sending rebate checks this summer, they could be sending everyone some stock certificates with C, MBI, ABK, CFC, or BAC printed on them. (That wasn't a wholly serious statement, but it would be much better for the stock market and the American economy for families to spend their $1,000 checks on stocks instead of iPhones.)

Of course, many people aren't in a position to have the capital gains tax really effect their lifestyle; to them, the tax cuts Obama proposes would probably put more money into their checking account. However, everyone from the 50-year-old couple saving for retirement to multi-million-dollar investors should be wary of this possible disaster.

Obama enjoys romanticizing people with words like hope, change, and believe... I think that his focus on lofty ideas has removed him from reality.

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