published Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Congress's richest would benefit under Chuck Fleischmann bill

by Chris Carroll

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann's proposal to eliminate capital gains taxes for two years would benefit 46 percent of Congress, including its 15 wealthiest members, a bipartisan group with a combined net worth of at least $1.26 billion.

Using a conservative think tank's study to back up his words, the Chattanooga Republican has said his proposal would create jobs and unleash savings for ordinary Americans.

"It's a policy that might benefit many of their constituents, many of their top donors and many of themselves personally," said Michael Beckel, a spokesman for the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that tracks money and influence in Washington. "When you're talking about Congress, you're talking about a rich group of people."

Jordan Powell, a spokesman for Fleischmann, said "this bill is aimed at helping Americans from all walks of life."

"Having run a business for 24 years, he understands the benefits of being able to have more of your own capital available to put back into the economy or grow a business," Powell said. Fleisch-mann is an attorney in private practice.

Luxuriating in capital gains is not exclusive to either party.

The second-richest House member, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., reported between $65 million and $175 million of income that included capital gains last year. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., listed between $1 million and $5 million in straight capital gains. Federal law requires U.S. representatives and senators to disclose their financial holdings, but only in wide ranges. The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call compiled the list of the richest members.

Members of Congress reported capital gains on all sorts of transactions, ranging from Apple stock to cattle to Civil War collectibles. Of 142 Republicans and 107 Democrats who reported capital gains income this year, potential beneficiaries include Tennessee Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, the former Chattanooga mayor and 14th-richest member of Congress.

In a statement to the Times Free Press, Corker did not endorse Fleischmann's bill.

"I haven't seen the proposal, but in talking with deficit committee members I'm not aware of any discussions that single out a specific tax provision," he said.

Nine Republicans, including presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann and Congressman Allen West of Florida, are co-sponsoring the bill, Powell said.

The proposal is currently with the House Ways and Means Committee. A bill passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama last year calls for an increase in capital gains taxes starting in 2013.

Tennessee figures

Republican Rep. Diane Black led Tennessee's House delegation with between $5 million and $51 million in income that included capital gains. Including Black, five of Tennessee's nine representatives reported capital gains income, ranging from a few hundred to a few million dollars. Fleischmann himself reported an investment portfolio valued between $500,001 and $1 million that included capital gains income.

Fleischmann has said he's "never thought of my own financial situation one time" in Congress. His office cited a study by the National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank, showing more than half of all tax filers with capital gains had incomes of less than $50,000 in 2005.

Capital gains are commonly realized through the sale of stocks, bonds and property. Fleischmann's idea isn't new -- President George W. Bush persuaded Congress to lower capital gains tax rates in 2005, and GOP presidential candidates Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have suggested complete elimination.

Fleischmann made capital gains the central issue of his seven-point job creation plan, but his "Growing Jobs Through Capital Act of 2011" lacks a requirement to spend potential savings on jobs.

"Chuck will not include a provision to force people to spend their own money in a certain way," Powell said. "The entire point of his [jobs plan] is to get the government out of the way and let Americans use more of their own resources."

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obviousman said...

This article is a near repeat of a previous Chris Carroll article, that ran about 7 to 10 weeks ago. So either Carrol is lazy and his editor has a short memory or they both have an agenda.

November 23, 2011 at 12:51 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Average people just don't appreciate how stressful the lives of poor rich people can be. They live in constant fear of making bad investments. Their families expect them to spend as much as even richer people. Their kids are often indolent and unfocused.

By eliminating capital gains taxes, rich people could tip more, take more elaborate vacations that support workers in the tourism industry, and just let all that extra money trickle down to the have-nots. And don't forget charity...they would give away much more to good causes.

Rep Fleischmann should be our oligarch-in-chief!

November 23, 2011 at 1 a.m.
fairmon said...

Some of us depend on dividend income to supplement our income. I paid 35% taxes plus social security on money earned that is invested in dividend paying stocks. The company pays 32% taxes on profits before paying a dividend. I then pay 15% taxes on dividend income. That is double taxation totaling 47% of each dollar. This goes up when the Bush rates expire. The stock invested in has gained an average of around 2% per year which is less than inflation but the principle is taxed again as capital gains if the stock is sold. The tax system is like a casino that averages keeping 15% of each dollar played until they have all the players money.

Abolish the current system entirely and adopt the fair tax proposal H.R. 25 which the mega wealthy and congress fears and hates. Tax each retail sale at 25% and return $1000 per month as a health care voucher to every citizen which essentially means the first $50,000 dollars is not taxed. Charley Rangle as ways and means chair said he didn't like it because it takes away congress ability to manipulate things when they felt it to be necessary.

November 23, 2011 at 4:10 a.m.
tcscpa said...

harp3339; You need a new CPA

November 23, 2011 at 6:48 a.m.
stuartfjames said...

Congress wonders why its approval rating are the lowest in history, it is all about perception. This article shows there may be two worlds, the Congressional world and the real world. Moreover, there is no proof that the bill proposed by Congressman Fleischmann will stimulate the economy, create jobs or help working people. The bill is subject to criticism by conservatives.

Fleischmann should support abolishing the current tax code and passing a entirely new tax system. Why patchwork the current broken system, trash it...

November 23, 2011 at 8:22 a.m.
jimfromthebay said...

tea partiers must be very pleased with rep. fleischmann .

November 23, 2011 at 8:38 a.m.
Facts said...

It's not lazy to expose politicians stuffing their own coffers. I am a conservative, but know that any type of legislation of this nature sponsored by this man is intended for one purpose: to benefit himself. If voters only knew the absolute manipulation about this man that every single thing is calculated, handled, and poll-driven. I only learned too late that I was supporting a man and his team of political predators who had one purpose-make themselves a lifetime federal job with plush benefits. Period. There will never be a day that passes that I won't regret what I participated in during the 2010 primary and how I assisted in electing a lying man. 3rd District, I am deeply sorry.

November 23, 2011 at 8:41 a.m.
acerigger said...

You only need to read Chuck's ad in the Yellow Pages, "Debt Collection,Personal Injury", in order to get an idea of his agenda. Good job Tea-party,shame on Democrats who sat on their collective butts and let this snake get in office.

November 23, 2011 at 9:02 a.m.
fairmon said...

I agree with the take on Fleischmann and chose not to vote since the democrats didn't offer an alternative worth a crap. It was a damned if you do damned if you don't situation.

November 23, 2011 at 9:56 a.m.
Facts said...

Acerigger, the Democrats did not sit on their butts. They were part of Team Chuck's victory in crossing over to vote in the GOP primary. In buying into the hateful message Chuck & his team used against Mrs. Smith, it was Democrats and trial lawyers who are to thank, along with useful idiots like me, for Chuck being elected in the first place.

November 23, 2011 at 9:57 a.m.
fairmon said...

tcscpa said...

harp3339; You need a new CPA

A CPA can't help when filing single without adequate deductions to justify itemizing. I think I understand the tax system and have had two CPAs review. Do you have any other tips?

November 23, 2011 at 10:04 a.m.
ibshame said...

Why would anyone be surprised at Chuckie's latest proposal? However, I do blame the Dems in this part of the state for whimpering in the corner instead of placing a strong, plausible candidate who would REALLY challenge this joker. He got away with being elected the last time on commercials he made portraying himself as some type of small business owner. That was a joke. As long as the voters in this part of the state are willing to vote for him simply because he has an R beside his name on the ballot then the voters are the ones that the joke is on.

November 23, 2011 at 10:15 a.m.
mymy said...

Obama did't fool me and neither did Chucky. We need more conserative women.

November 23, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.

Wow what a shock a Republican trying his best to make the rich, richer.

November 23, 2011 at 12:25 p.m.
chet123 said...

This is the bible belt....local churches are heavily republican.....for that reason local democrats have no fight....most of democrats are member of conservative republican churches who Pastors have twisted the mind of the congregate in thinking GOD is republican....

This is why the Natiional Democrats have wrten off most southern states.....personally i beleive this approach is deeply flawed....I know a lot of southern democrats who are good, fair hard working people

Chuck Fleischmann should be thrown out of office....this area have one of the lowest Family income in the Nation. I would endorse WAMP jr. first.....

November 23, 2011 at 1:36 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Jordan Powell, a spokesman for Fleischmann, said "this bill is aimed at helping Americans from all walks of life. Having run a business for 24 years, he understands the benefits of being able to have more of your own capital available to put back into the economy or grow a business."

What a crock. This is nothing but the same ol' same ol' - trickle down. It's been tried and tested for over 30 friggin' years and it does not work, has never worked, and will never work. How much longer do these dimwits want to keep pitching that lame theory and expect people to buy it? Unfotunately there are too many likeminded dimwits who do still buy it. The rich don't create jobs from their investment earnings, they don't even buy stuff with their investment earnings, they just go reinvest and make more money on top of their money. It benefits nobody but themselves and now they want to be able to keep their investment racket going completely tax-free.

And he has the audacity to say that this bill "is aimed at helping Americans from all walks of life?" Good one, Chuckie spokesman. You mendacious self-serving twit. That goes for Chuckie, too.

November 23, 2011 at 1:45 p.m.
EaTn said...

Who the h#ll voted this guy in office? Talk about a 1%'er suck-up.

November 23, 2011 at 3:10 p.m.
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