[FoRK] How Barack didn't quite lose my vote

Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> on Thu Apr 17 12:42:48 PDT 2008

While I understand Jeff's ire, I would make two interjections. First, and
most important, Obama remains the only candidate who has promised criminal
investigations into the war crimes committed by the Bush administration:

http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/attytood/Barack_on_torture.html

This nation has taken a sharp and embarrassing detour from the ranks of 
civilized nations. The only quick correction to that requires criminal 
investigation of those responsible. Whether that happens is something that 
will be determined by the next president, his appointees, and his attitude 
toward these crimes.

Second, and in contrast, tax policy is determined by Congress. Obama's 
views on taxes will be moderated not only by legislative deliberations, but
by a far more reasonable understanding of how taxes interact with investment
than existed twenty or forty years ago. The problem with discussing capital
gains rate in isolation is that the effect of changes to that depend quite
a bit on a host of other changes, e.g., corporate tax rates, dividend
treatment, etc. Some people would happily take a bump in capital gains, 
if it were accompanied by an allowance for inflation. It's really pissing 
to pay a large "capital gain tax" on an asset held for years, whose entire
appreciation is nominal rather than real. Of course, an inflation allowance 
wouldn't much help those of us hoping to win some on the options game. Or
look at Megan McArdle's "Jane Galt" tax plan:

http://www.janegalt.net/blog/archives/001510.html

It raises the capital gains tax more than Obama proposes. I don't much blame 
Obama for raising the issue of fairness. That shouldn't be the sole or 
dispositive criterion in taxation. It is important. Warren Buffett made 
much the same plea, when he pointed out that he pays taxes at a lower rate 
than his secretary. Let's hope some of Obama's UoC economist friends get a 
stir or two of the final pot. 


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