Monday, November 19, 2012

Capital Gains: A Great Unlocking

Fifty years ago, when The Merrill Anderson Company created this ad, federal income tax on long-term capital gain was levied at the rate of 25 percent. Coaxing investors to sell was difficult.

This year could be the last for paying tax on stock profits at 15 percent. (That's 15 percent at the Mitt-Romney income level. Lesser mortals have paid much more.) As a result, The New York Times reports, we're experiencing a Great Unlocking – a stampede to take profits that's reminiscent of the Reagan years:
[S]ome experts expect a substantial bump in tax collections in the short term as investors take a multitude of steps now that they would have taken in future years. After the top tax rate on capital gains rose to 28 percent from 20 percent at the end of 1986, federal receipts from such gains doubled to $52.9 billion in 1987, as sales surged at the end of the previous tax year.
Maybe our much-maligned U.S. Congress deserves a little respect for cutting the deficit by cliff-hanging.

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