Capital gains are profits from the increase in value between the purchase price and the sale price of assets such as real estate, stocks or bonds. The Supreme Court has ruled that capital gains are not to be considered as income. Consequently, they have their own tax rates. The current federal tax rate for capital gains for assets held less than one year (Short Term) is 28%. For assets held more than one year (Long Term) the federal tax rate is 15%.
The current tax rate is too low!
Main Reference: Dean Baker; The American Prospect
  • The evidence that decreasing capital tax rates increases total tax revenues is dubious since investors will time their sales to coincide with lower rates.
  • Low capital tax rates increases the incentive to "game" the system such that they can be taxed at a lower rate if they can make such items as wages, interest or dividend income look like capital gains.
  • Low capital gain taxes are mainly a way for the rich to avoid paying their fair share.
  • A large fraction of capital wealth is in the form of land. Investing in land is not true investing in that no wealth is created.
  • Most of what we call capital gains is not from true capital investments but instead gains from speculative investments in a stock's value that had no role in creating new capital for the company.
  • It diverts intellectual talent into investing activities that are parasitic rather than rather than into activities that creates real value.

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Capital gains are taxed too much.
Main References:
  • Increasing the Capital Gains tax would encourage companies to pay dividends on profits rather than reinvesting their profits in factories, equipment and technologies that are the lifeblood of our economy.
  • Capital gains may not be true gains. The gains may all be due to the change in value due to inflation. How fair is that.
  • A high capital gains tax has the effect of slowing economic activity. Owners of assets will have a tendency to hold on rather than sell due to the large tax consequences of selling.
  • Taxing the increase in value of capital is a double tax because the value is based on the future earnings that are expected to generate.
  • Taxpayers are not allowed to deduct losses when they sell their stocks. A taxpayer may owe taxes even when there are more total losses than gains.
  • Past experiences where capital gain tax rates were reduced actually increased realized tax revenue rather than decrease it.

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