Keenan: The Art of the Deal on Taxes

Speaker of the House John Boehner and President Barack OBama During 2011 Budget Negotiations (AP)

The Republican Party failed miserably in getting richer and older Americans to the polls last Tuesday, but when it comes to selling appreciated assets like stocks and art, the race is on, and turnout is big.

It began even before Ohio was called late Tuesday night. That’s because if all things stay constant between now and New Year’s Day, President Obama’s victory ensures the biggest tax increase on capital gains in modern times, even bigger than the 8 percent increase that so unnerved investors back in the volatile year of 1987.

Forget about the fiscal cliff, what’s motivating investors to head for the exits is Tax Mountain, as Forbes refers to it.

How big is it? Well, for wealthy investors earning $200,000 a year or $250,000 as a couple — it’s pretty steep. With the sunset of the Bush tax cuts on Jan. 1, the capital gains rate for that group will go from 15 percent up to 20 percent. And that’s before an additional 3.8 percent tax is slapped on to help pay for ObamaCare.

But the pain wasn’t felt only on Wall Street (with a 300-point selloff on Wednesday); at the uptown auction houses of Christie’s and Sotheby’s demand was tepid and the gavel was quiet for large chunks of their marquee auctions, as eager sellers flooded the market with some mediocre works before the tax increases kick in…

 

Read the rest of Terry Keenan’s column at NYpost.com