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Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Don't Tax You, Don't Tax Me

Tax the man behind the tree! Proving once again that the Democrats (and some Republicans) never met a tax they didn't like (and didn't want to hike), Max Baucus and Chuck Grassley are proposing a breathtaking tax increase on private equity buyout firms. Larry Kudlow has the details:

Up to now, Blackstone's authoring statement had envisioned some kind of two-tiered tax plan, where ordinary corporate compensation would be taxed at the 35% corporate rate while high-risk investment-fund profits would be taxed at the 15% capgains rate. And now, Senators Baucus of Montana and Grassley of Iowa want Blackstone to pay the much higher corporate tax on all its income.

We have traditionally had lower tax rates for longer-term, higher-risk investments because the country recognizes that this is the seed capital for America's future growth. That this is a highly targeted tax increase can be seen in the bill's opening statement:

Section 1. Exception from treatment of publicly traded partnerships as corporations not to apply to partnerships directly or indirectly deriving income from providing investment adviser and related asset management services.

What's behind it? Kudlow has a suggestion:

Class envy is behind all this. It's an envy that despises the investment clout of buyout firms, even though these buyouts create leaner, more-productive, more-efficient companies that are better able to compete in the era of globalization. These buyouts are a necessary capitalist churning, but many politicians would prefer the status quo. In particular, labor unions are pushing their Democratic allies to stop the buyout movement in order protect inefficient jobs and oversized benefits.
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