Joe Biden’s new tax-and-spend plan, which his administration deceivingly calls the “American Family Plan” would raise the top long-term capital gains tax rate from 23.8% to 39.6%. When you add on the net investment income tax, the highest rate would rise to 43.4%. Add on certain states’ own capital gains taxes and the most productive citizens of America will be paying over 50% in some cases on their capital gains. Garret Watson and Erica York of the Tax Foundation explain this terrible plan:
A high combined capital gains tax rate would influence when taxpayers decide to sell assets and realize the gain. If the effect is large enough, federal revenue from capital gains income would decline because taxpayers have decided to avoid realizing gains and the higher tax rate.
Most states levy their individual income tax rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends, though Hawaii levies lower tax rates. Nine states provide general exclusions or deductions for long-term capital gains. The average top tax rate on capital gains at the state level is about 5.2 percent, for a combined average rate of 29 percent under current law. If the top federal capital gains rate rises to 43.4 percent, this would raise the combined tax rate on long-term capital gains to 48.4 percent.
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia would have a top combined capital gains tax rate north of 50 percent. California, New York, and New Jersey would have combined rates of more than 54 percent. Top combined rates in some localities would go even higher. For example, New York City levies a local capital gains rate of 3.876 percent, which means an investor would pay an all-in rate of nearly 58.2 percent. Residents of Portland, Oregon would face a top capital gains rate of 57.3 percent.
Using the Tax Foundation General Equilibrium Model, we find that raising the top capital gains tax rate to 39.6 percent for those earning over $1 million would reduce long-run GDP by about 0.1 percent and reduce federal revenue by about $124 billion over 10 years.
Under Biden’s proposal for capital gains, the U.S. economy would be smaller, American incomes would be reduced, and federal revenue would also drop due to fewer capital gains realizations. Other proposals, such as partially repealing step-up in basis for capital gains, may help offset the realization effect and increase federal revenue, but it remains important to consider the combined tax rate on capital gains in the context of the President’s tax proposals.
It is not supposed to be the goal of the American president to make the economy smaller, give Americans lower incomes, or to reduce the ability of the federal government to pay its debts. Yet that is what Joe Biden’s plan would do. That’s why he’s the Ass of the Week.
If you’re willing to fight for Main Street America, click here to sign up for the Richardcyoung.com free weekly email.