Economics Explored

Tax rules benefiting tech titans and hedge fund managers in the US

Episode Summary

Controversial US tax rules related to the taxation of capital gains (e.g. carried interest, step up in basis) mean that tech billionaires and hedge fund managers can avoid paying a lot of tax. US tax expert Steve Rosenthal discusses these tax rules with show host Gene Tunny. Steve also talks about former President Trump's tax affairs.

Episode Notes

Controversial US tax rules (e.g. carried interest, step up in basis) mean that billionaire tech titans and hedge fund managers pay arguably relatively low amounts of tax, as Steve Rosenthal, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute, explains to show host Gene Tunny in Economics Explored episode 114. Steve also talks about former President Trump's tax affairs.

About this episode’s guest - Steven M. Rosenthal

Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center at the Urban Institute, researches, speaks, and writes on a range of federal income tax issues, with a particular focus on business taxes. In 2013, he was the staff director of the DC Tax Revision Commission.

Before joining Urban, Rosenthal practiced tax law in Washington, DC, for over 25 years, most recently as a partner at Ropes and Gray. He was a legislation counsel with the Joint Committee on Taxation, where he helped draft tax rules for financial institutions, financial products, capital gains, and related areas. He is the former chair of the Taxation Section of the District of Columbia Bar Association.

Rosenthal holds an AB and JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MPP from Harvard University.

Links relevant to the conversation

Tax Fairness: President Donald Trump, a Case Study (Steve’s testimony before the U.S. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee)

Buy, borrow, die: How rich Americans live off their paper wealth (WSJ article)

Thanks to the show’s audio engineer Josh Crotts for his assistance in producing the episode. 

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