Capital Games

“Inequity Fixed In Proposal for Capital Gains,” reads the headline in yesterday’s New York Times. Oh, really? You mean the inequity that top-bracket investors pay a lower tax rate than bottom-bracket wage earners? No, not at all: this week’s “historic” budget deal sweetens the special treatment of capital gains. But the farcically complicated new rules would have accidentally increased the tax on profits from assets sold after more than a year but less than 18 months. And, “after hearing Wall Street scream and moan” (as the Times put it), it took less than a day for Congress and the White House to correct this horrible unfairness. Advocates of a capital gains tax break ordinarily sneer at any talk of equity or fairness as “class warfare.” But apparently concerns about equity and fairness are OK when the oppressed class is people who sell assets after 17 months.