News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch's puzzling Twitter feed of spontaneous crank missives turned out this surprising political position this afternoon: "Carried interest tax racket. Billions over many years. Why and where has Obama been?" If we're translating this correctly, he's calling the controversial carried interest tax loophole, which is in the news thanks to Mitt Romney's comical tax history, a "racket" that his cost the Treasury billions of dollars in revenue over the years, and he's wondering why Obama hasn't pushed to eliminate it. Will the tycoon allow us the honor of correcting him?
Many news articles that appeared in many news outlets for many weeks over last summer during the biggest political fight of 2011 — the debt ceiling raise — reported on versions of the deficit-reduction deals that President Obama was offering to House Republicans, most of which included hundreds of billions of dollars in additional tax revenue that would come from closing egregious long-standing loopholes to go along with much larger spending cuts. Among the prominent loopholes up for elimination was:
Obama has proposed raising $18 billion by taxing the carried interest, or profits-based compensation, of private equity managers, real estate investors and venture capitalists as ordinary income, instead of more lightly taxed capital gains.
Such deals were uniformly and repeatedly rejected by the House Republican conference, however, and the pushback slogan of "class warfare" came into existence as a talking point response. If it weren't for the media properties owned by Rupert Murdoch and their aggressive support and promotion of the "class warfare" line, just enough House Republicans might have buckled under the pressure of their flimsy excuses and voted for a deficit-reduction package that eliminated the carried interest tax loophole, current scourge of the populist Rupert Murdoch Twitter feed. Why and where has Murdoch been?
[Image via Getty]