It will likely be around for a while, so get used to the phrase, “carried interest.” The Romney campaign, for its part, is trying to do it as fast as they can — with notable bumps along the way.The Wall Street Journal reports that yesterday, as questions surrounding the Romney tax return dominated conversation, spokespeople from the campaign wavered on their candidates stance on the 15% tax rate on carried interest earnings.
First, Romney policy director Lanhee Chin told reporters that the candidate may be willing to “reconsider a tax break known as ‘carried interest’ as part of a comprehensive tax overhaul”…
There are “a number of exemptions, deductions, credits, administrative treatment of income…that would be addressed in tax reform,” Mr. Chen said.
Later in the day, the Journal says the Romney camp was on damage control duty, reassuring voters that the candidate had no intention of raising taxes on anyone.
Expect this to happen again for one simple reason: The criticism of this part of tax policy is coming from all sides.
Of course, you expect it from President Obama and the Democrats. Here it was in last night’s State of the Union address:
“…we need to change our tax code so that people like me, and an awful lot of Members of Congress, pay our fair share of taxes. Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 per cent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions.”
There it is… the bipartisan support, called out in the speech. Then there was the Republican response, given by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (via WonkBlog):
(We need to) “stop sending the wealthy benefits they do not need, and stop providing them so many tax preferences that distort our economy.”