Obama Fundraiser Criticizes Candidate's Tax Proposals

     Conservatives are certainly opposed to tax increases proposed by Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama. But even some of his supporters are calling for revisions to his plans.

     “[I]’d have the capital gains as they are,” Don Peebles, Chairman and CEO of the Peebles Corporation, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” August 25. “I think that what we need – and I think that Sen. Obama’s been clear about this – is that it’s a question also of who pays capital gains and what income is treated a capital gains income.”

     Peebles, a major fundraiser for Obama, was referring to his candidate’s proposal to raise the tax rate on capital gains, currently taxed at 15 percent. Obama originally proposed raising the rate to between 20 percent and 28 percent, but revised his proposal to set the highest tax rate at 20 percent.

     After suggesting he would like to see capital gains rates stay where they are – at 15 percent – Peebles predicted Obama would further lower his proposed tax rate. “And I think what we’re going to see as this process goes further,” he sad. “I think we’ll see some revisions on the tax policies here.”

     Peebles and his wife, Katrina, have given a total of $9,200 to Obama’s campaign for the presidency. The successful real estate developer has also organized fundraisers for Obama, with one bringing in $300,000, according to various reports. He is listed among Obama’s “bundlers,” having raised between $200,000 and $500,000.

     Financial media outlets, like Barron’s, have criticized Obama’s proposed tax hikes. “It’s almost as if Obama wants to repeat the mistakes of Herbert Hoover,” Barron’s August 25 issue reported.

      “During the Great Depression, Hoover raised the top marginal rate to 63% from 25% and hike corporate taxes, too, says Michael Aronstein, chief investment strategist at Oscar Gruss & Son in New York” Barron’s reported. “The moves siphoned needed investment capital out of the markets and into the hands of bureaucrats, delaying the turnaround.”

     The broadcast networks – ABC, CBS and NBC – have offered scant coverage of specific tax-related issues. Through the first six months of 2008, broadcast news programs mentioned the “capital gains” tax only 24 times. Most of the mentions came from candidates or their representatives as journalists conducting interviews stuck to broad topics.

     When they approached capital gains, reporters didn’t favor cutting the tax.

     “Rudy Giuliani proposed lowering corporate tax rates and capital gains taxes, costing trillions,” Andrea Mitchell said on the January 12 “Saturday Today” show on NBC.

     Talking about an exisiting “loophole” in the capital gains tax on the January 17 “Today” show, co-host Ann Curry exclaimed, “My goodness” at the thought of not having to pay capital gains tax on profits from the sale of a home after a spouse’s death.