Top Ordinary Income Tax Rate Is Not the Same as Capital Gains Tax Rate, Sen. Menendez

November 5, 2008

On Monday, Sen. Bob Menendez was on Neil Cavuto's show discussing Sen. Obama's tax plan. Of course, like many campaign spokespersons, he was only able to recite the 50 words that the campaign staff taught him. It's rather entertaining yet frustrating at the same time to realize that a person this clueless is helping shape fiscal policy in the United States Senate. (He should ask Sen. Wyden to give him a 30-minute tutoring session on the basics of the tax code.)

Sen. Menendez didn't understand the basic difference between the top ordinary income tax rate (35 percent) and the capital gains tax rate (15 percent), nor how Sen. Obama's tax plan would change them. Yes, this is the same Sen. Menendez who supported Hillary Clinton during the primary and during the infamous gas tax holiday debate uttered "Thank God economists don't make policy."

My question is why in the world would the Obama campaign allow him to speak for them on tax policy given his performance during the primary on such issues? (Unless he was just asked on and not affiliated with campaign.) That being said, it is somewhat reassuring based upon what I heard in the campaign trail that Sen. Obama himself appears to understand the basic structure of the tax code (although he was deliberately misleading at times), even better than Sen. McCain in my judgement.

But what does the future of tax policy hold? According to Wiki, it's not looking good given that it says, "During his free time, Robert Menendez helps out the future leaders of America." I wonder if he knows that Africa is a continent?

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