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Carried interest is what venture capitalists, hedge fund managers and private-equity investors earn. But the 3 groups shouldn't all be treated the same.
By Suzanne McGee
It's only a matter of weeks now before the election campaign heats up even further and the debate over income that comes from "carried interest" moves back into the spotlight once more. It's a topic that may sound arcane, but given that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney pays an effective rate of only about 15 percent on the bulk of his earnings – less than half the rate that most potential voters pay on their conventionally earned income – it's going to be contentious. With the job market apparently on the verge of swooning once more, Romney can attack President Barack Obama on his handling of the economy. One of the ways Obama may retaliate is by pointing out Romney's wealth – his earnings, combined with that low tax rate, have put him not just in the 1 percent, but in the top 0.1 percent – and the tax advantages he has had.
Three important developments in recent weeks are likely to dramatically changed the narrative of the presidential campaign.
When the history of the 2012 presidential campaign is written, three events are likely to stand out in explaining the sudden, dramatic change in the race’s narrative.
President Obama was once the prohibitive favorite to win a second term, especially after former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was battered and belittled by Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and other Republican opponents during the GOP primaries.
The president is off to a bad start despite having had a 1-year jump on his campaign.
Amonth ago, the RNC officially named Mitt Romney its presumptive nominee and signed a partnership agreement to raise funds for the presidential election. The Barack Obama campaign responded by launching its own campaign against Romney. Team Obama and the DNC hit Romney on his track record at Bain Capital, rolled out its "Life of Julia" to attract support from women, especially single professionals, and both campaigns put their rapid-response teams on full alert.
Who won the first round? The latest ABC News/ Washington Post presidential poll shows Mitt Romney gaining strength, at least in terms of favorability, especially in two key demographics: independent voters and women. Romney's favorability among women increased by 13 points in the first month of the head-to-head campaign while Obama dropped seven points. ABC reports that most of those gains came from single women – the very demographic targeted by Obama with its "Life of Julia" campaign and the attacks on Romney over the supposed Republican "war on women."
Despite a clear desire to pay lower tax rates, corporate finance chiefs say they are more focused on resolving tax uncertainty issues that will ensue once the Bush-era tax cuts expire along with other business-critical tax provisions in 2013.
When it comes to taxes and economic growth, the most visible battle cry among businesses is to slash tax rates. Multiple business advocacy organizations and a string of Republican lawmakers say dropping the top federal U.S. corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent would boost U.S. companies to hire, invest, and compete globally.
For corporate finance chiefs, however, lowering rates is not top of the agenda. What worries them most is the whole slew of business-centric tax changes set to take effect in 2013 unless Congress steps in-- what economists have dubbed “Taxmageddon.”
The legislation stems from the investigation of Wall Street-funded health management companies suspected of overbilling, rendering needless treatments and breaking laws.
By Sydney P. Freedberg and Jason Kelly
The likes of Jeb Bush, William Frist, Tommy Thompson and Haley Barbour aren't typically heard from in the office of Thom Tillis, the speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives.
Yet the four Republican Party stalwarts, none of them Carolina residents, have contacted Tillis' office over a little-known bill to toughen state regulation of dental companies. They've been joined by Grover Norquist, the Tea Party favorite and anti-tax crusader who heads Americans for Tax Reform.
Their differences reflect the candidates' broader disputes over how much of the tax burden should rest on the nation's highest earners.
By Richard Rubin
President Barack Obama and Republican opponent Mitt Romney want to move the top capital gains tax rate in opposite directions, with a single number emphasizing their divisions on economic and fiscal policy.
Romney proposes keeping the current 15 percent capital gains rate for the estimated 2 percent of households making more than $200,000 a year and eliminating investment taxes for everyone else. Obama wants the rate to rise to 23.8 percent as scheduled in 2013.
We can still expect a misleading and overwhelmingly negative race, but the distortions will be mostly about the candidates' records and positions.
By Jonathan Alter
Strangely enough, the 2012 presidential campaign, expected to be the dirtiest in modern memory, may end up being relatively clean.
That's because both sides agree that the economy is the central issue and that sideshows like the Rev. Jeremiah Wright aren't persuasive for voters. Karl Rove and Larry McCarthy, the creator of the infamous Willie Horton ad, think harsh personal attacks against President Barack Obama will backfire, and they're offering more subtle messages of economic disappointment instead.
Even economic assaults can boomerang nowadays. Newark Mayor Cory Booker, an otherwise strong Obama supporter, dealt the Obama campaign a blow last weekend on NBC's "Meet the Press" when he said he was "nauseated" by an Obama ad lambasting Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital LLC. The president's defense of the ad, in which he said "there are folks who do good work" in private equity, was too complicated to be effective.
How about instead discussing Romney's governorship and what he would do as president?
By Ezra Klein
Why are we talking about Bain Capital again?
The answer, it seems, is that the two presidential campaigns want it that way. The Romney campaign wants us talking about Bain Capital LLC because Mitt Romney says his time leading the firm prepared him for the presidency.
"Having been in the private sector for 25 years gives me a perspective on how jobs are created that someone who's never spent a day in the private sector, like President Obama, simply doesn't understand," he told Time. This, the Romney campaign suggests, is the critical contrast between the two candidates. Their candidate learned about job creation at Bain. Barack Obama learned how to quote Saul Alinsky at open mic poetry jams in Chicago.
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Follow Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they battle for the White House. Explore how monetary and fiscal policies affect your finances. Get insightful analysis of the American political economy and the latest news on the 2012 election.
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[BRIEFING.COM] The major averages finished the Tuesday session near their lows with the Russell 2000 (-1.0%) leading the slide. The S&P 500 lost 0.5% with nine sectors ending in the red.
Equities indices started the day with modest gains and spent the first two hours of action in the neighborhood of their flat lines. Although the early trade lacked clear sector leadership, that could have been overlooked due to the strength among heavily-weighted sectors like health care (-0.3%), ... More
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