Obama Attacks Carried Interest Again to Shrugs in U.S. Congress

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May 12 — One of the Democratic Party's favorite applause lines is getting another turn in the spotlight: hit hedge-fund millionaires with the same taxes as the working class.

It still works on the stump even though it has fallen short in the Capitol. Lower tax rates on carried interest have fewer defenders now, even among Republicans. Democrats haven't been able to muster the votes to change the rules, despite almost a decade of trying.

The politics are hard, but the math is simple. The top rate for wage earners is 43.4 percent. Many investment managers pay taxes at a 23.8 percent top rate, because their gains are counted differently in the tax code.