Let’s Index Everything for Inflation!

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Andrew Stuttaford is unhappy about the state of the U.S. tax code:

And then there’s capital gains (due to rise, of course, courtesy of Mr. Obama), and still not adjusted for inflation, a deliberate anomaly that means the taxpayer pays real taxes on unreal “gains”. Even the amount of the best-known capital gains tax exemption (on the sale of a primary residence) of $500,000 for a couple, $250,000 for a single person, hasn’t been changed since 1997. That won’t matter for most, for now, but give inflation QE and time: The IRS is waiting.

That’s pretty sad. I wonder how he feels about indexing the minimum wage to inflation? In any case, speaking for myself, I’d be willing to level the playing field by adjusting capital gains taxes to inflation just as soon as we level the playing field by increasing the capital gains rate from its current 15% to the rate charged on ordinary income. Oddly, though, rich people seem uninterested in making such a bargain. Inflation and all, I guess they must think the current setup is a fairly sweet deal.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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