Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Presidential contender Hillary Clinton’s proposed plan to overhaul capital gains taxes aims to foster long-term growth by taxing some short-term investments at higher rates, an aide for her campaign said on Monday.

Although details of the plan have yet to be finalized, it would create a sliding rate scale based on the length of an investment, an aide with the Democratic candidate’s campaign said.

Under her proposal, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, the maximum capital gains tax rate on investments held at least a year, currently 23.8 percent, would rise to at least the 28 percent proposed by President Barack Obama, the aide said.

The campaign has not ruled out raising it as high as the regular income tax rate, which can be as high as 39.6 percent for top earners, the Journal reported.

Details of the plan will be outlined in a speech later this week, the WSJ said.

Investments held for less than a year would still be taxed at regular income tax rates as they are now, the WSJ said. The proposal will also include other rate changes, with the lowest rates given for investments held the longest, it reported.

Clinton’s proposal comes as part of her plan to fight an excessive focus on quick profits in capital markets, including capital gains, which are the profits made on selling capital assets such as shares or real estate.

In a speech last week in New York, the Democratic front-runner blasted Wall Street and took aim at financial institutions, vowing tougher oversight in her first major economic speech of the 2016 election campaign.

Clinton’s plan to revamp such rates appears to be a shift from her position in 2008, when she last sought the party’s nomination and vowed not to raise capital gains tax rates above 20 percent, if at all.

In 1997, her husband, President Bill Clinton, lowered the maximum taxation rate on capital gains from 28 percent to 20 percent. In 2003, it fell to 15 percent under President George W. Bush.

In 2012, the top capital gains taxation rate rose to 20 percent for the highest earners. In the 1970s, the maximum taxation rate for long-term capital gains reached nearly 40 percent.

Although Clinton, who along with her husband have deep ties to Wall Street, is the party’s leading presidential candidate, she still faces some pressure from liberal Democrats, such as fellow candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who want tougher regulations on the financial industry.

(This version of the story corrects paragraph three to remove erroneous statement that tax rate for “shortest-held” investments would be at least 28 percent)

(Additional reporting by Amanda Becker; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Photo: Hillary Clinton speaks during the Arkansas Democrats’ Jefferson-Jackson Dinner 2015 in Little Rock, Arkansas July 18, 2015. (REUTERS/Jacob Slaton)

Trump speaking at Londonderry, NH rally

Screenshot from YouTube

Donald Trump once again baselessly claimed on Sunday that the COVID-19 pandemic was "going to be over" soon, just hours after his chief of staff suggested the administration was unable to get it under control.

"Now we have the best tests, and we are coming around, we're rounding the turn," Trump said at a campaign rally in Manchester, New Hampshire. "We have the vaccines, we have everything. We're rounding the turn. Even without the vaccines, we're rounding the turn, it's going to be over."

Trump has made similar claims on repeated occasions in the past, stating early on in the pandemic that the coronavirus would go away on its own, then with the return of warmer weather.

That has not happened: Over the past several weeks, multiple states have seen a surge in cases of COVID-19, with some places, including Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin, setting up overflow hospital units to accommodate the rapidly growing number of patients.

Hours earlier on Sunday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows appeared to contradict Trump, telling CNN that there was no point in trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus because it was, for all intents and purposes, out of their control.

"We are not going to control the pandemic. We are going to control the fact that we get vaccines, therapeutics and other mitigation areas," he said. "Because it is a contagious virus, just like the flu."

Meadows doubled own on Monday, telling reporters, "We're going to defeat the virus; we're not going to control it."

"We will try to contain it as best we can, but if you look at the full context of what I was talking about, we need to make sure that we have therapeutics and vaccines, we may need to make sure that when people get sick, that, that they have the kind of therapies that the president of the United States had," he added.Public health experts, including those in Trump's own administration, have made it clear that there are two major things that could curb the pandemic's spread: mask wearing and social distancing.

But Trump has repeatedly undermined both, expressing doubt about the efficacy of masks and repeatedly ignoring social distancing and other safety rules — even when doing so violated local and state laws.

Trump, who recently recovered from COVID-19 himself, openly mocked a reporter on Friday for wearing a mask at the White House — which continues to be a hotspot for the virus and which was the location of a superspreader event late last month that led to dozens of cases. "He's got a mask on that's the largest mask I think I've ever seen. So I don't know if you can hear him," Trump said as his maskless staff laughed alongside him.

At the Manchester rally on Sunday, Trump also bragged of "unbelievable" crowd sizes at his mass campaign events. "There are thousands of people there," he claimed, before bashing former Vice President Joe Biden for holding socially distant campaign events that followed COVID safety protocols.

"They had 42 people," he said of a recent Biden campaign event featuring former President Barack Obama. "He drew flies, did you ever hear the expression?"

Last Monday, Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL) endorsed Biden's approach to the pandemic as better than Trump's, without "any doubt."

"The more we go down the road resisting masks and distance and tracing and the things that the scientists are telling us, I think the more concerned I get about our management of the COVID situation," he told CNN.

In his final debate against Biden last Thursday, Trump was asked what his plan was to end the pandemic. His answer made it clear that, aside from waiting for a vaccine, he does not have one.

"There is a spike, there was a spike in Florida and it's now gone. There was a very big spike in Texas — it's now gone. There was a spike in Arizona, it is now gone. There are spikes and surges in other places — they will soon be gone," he boasted. "We have a vaccine that is ready and it will be announced within weeks and it's going to be delivered. We have Operation Warp Speed, which is the military is going to distribute the vaccine."

Experts have said a safe vaccine will likely not be ready until the end of the year at the earliest, and that most people will not be able to be vaccinated until next year.

Trump also bragged Sunday that he had been "congratulated by the heads of many countries on what we have been able to do," without laying out any other strategy for going forward.

Nationally, new cases set a single-day record this weekend, with roughly 84,000 people testing positive each day. More than 8.5 million Americans have now contracted the virus and about 225,000 have died.

Trump, by contrast, tweeted on Monday that he has "made tremendous progress" with the virus, while suggesting that it should be illegal for the media to report on it before the election.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.