“When you first hear about it, it seems like, ‘Yes, this looks like an appealing way to generate a lot of revenue,’ but when you study it more it seems like there are some serious unintended consequences,” said Rep. Brian Baird of Washington, a member of a coalition of centrist Democrats who often play a deciding role on business and tax bills.
That’s from a front-page story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal and it refers to the union-driven plan to increase taxes on hedge funds. I didn’t want the day to end without noting it, because it’s an important reminder that a lot of propositions put forth by people at the very top of labor unions don’t always help the people at the bottom.
What do I mean? The Journal notes that, “Among other things, lawmakers say they worry a tax boost could take a bite out of public pensions’ investment returns” — and “Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell fears it could reduce returns for her state’s public-employee pension plan, which has reaped benefits from private-equity investments. Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says he would prefer to focus on more-comprehensive tax reform.”
Now may be a good time to recall just who has been driving the rhetoric to attack hedge funds and private equity groups — it was the honchos at the Service Employees International Union. SEIU, by the way, is the second-largest public services unions (“serving” the people whose pensions would reportedly be hurt by this move.)
A consequence not intended? Maybe. Slam to union members, pushed by union leaders? Absolutely.