What Capital Gains Tax Rate Does Obama Favor?

August 11, 2008

In its "Ask Dow Jones" column this week, the Wall Street Journal's Tom Sherman answers a reader question pertaining to whether Barack Obama would subject sales of homes to capital gains taxation. Most are currently exempt from taxation.

In the article, Sherman quotes Obama economic advisor Jason Furman, who rightly points out that such a falsehood has been spreading as part of a fallacious chain e-mail that is also being posted on message boards, forums, etc. on the web.

But the end of the article reads:

Mr. Furman says Sen. Obama wants to maintain the capital-gains tax-rate structure "for the 98% of households making up to $250,000" a year. For those earning more, Sen. Obama favors taxing capital gains at "about a 20% rate," Mr. Furman says.

Assuming Furman was quoted accurately, this raises the question: what is Obama's actual policy? It appears as if he has been all over the map on this question. When the Tax Policy Center ran Obama's tax plan, it assumed a 25 percent rate, which means that the deficit estimated by TPC for Obama's plan could be even higher. Obama had been quoted elsewhere (few months ago) as saying the rate would be no higher than 28 percent.

McCain has been quick to take shots at Obama's tax plans, many of which are untrue (and easy to verify as being false). So Obama should at least clarify his positions on various tax issues like this one if he wants to be able to properly refute further McCain ads that stretch the truth about Obama's tax plan.

(Obama's no saint either when it comes to misleading attacks, like the ad which says McCain wants more "tax breaks" for oil companies, when in reality McCain merely favors lowering the corporate income tax rate for ALL companies.)


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