Monday, August 22, 2011

Jobs, jobs, jobs - "Size, Speed & Smarts" are the essentials for an effective jobs strategy

Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic:
President Obama’s plan to give a major economic speech after Labor Day means that, finally, Washington is going to have a serious conversation about creating jobs. And it can't come a moment too soon…

Of course, whether that conversation on jobs leads to action on jobs is more a question of politics than policy. Republicans want no part of anything with Obama’s name on it and, until that changes, very little can pass Congress.

Still, the best policy conversations start with what we should do, not with what we can (or can’t) do...

The case for taxing capital gains like any other income

James Stewart at The New York Times:

The notion that low capital gains tax rates are a good thing because they promote investment, lead to job creation, encourage people to sell assets without fear of tax consequences and actually raise total tax revenue is so entrenched in both parties that the idea of equalizing capital gains and ordinary income rates is barely mentioned or, when it is, is quickly denounced. It’s become a third rail of tax policy and electoral politics. “It’s now so woven into standard thinking that it’s become a cultural norm,” a prominent hedge fund official told me this week...

It does seem intuitive that lower taxes and thus potentially greater rewards would encourage risk-taking and investment, and surely at some rate high taxes can discourage any endeavor. But even some hedge fund and private equity officials concede that the argument for lower capital gains rates rests more on faith than science. “I’ve seen study after study that says lower capital gains rates have no impact on behavior,” the hedge fund official told me.