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Tax expert warns Obama : proposed tax hike hurts retirement income

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A Heritage Foundation tax analyst argues President Obama’s recently proposed tax hike on stock dividends and capital gains would hit older Americans “particularly hard.”

Curtis Dubay, a senior tax analyst at the Thomas A Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies for the Heritage Foundation, says the higher rate would depress the value of stocks held in many types of retirement savings plans they rely on for income to supplement their Social Security benefits. These plans include 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, and self-directed state, local, and federal government employee retirement funds.

Dubay, in a column written for the foundation, said Monday:

“The tax hike would cause stock prices to drop almost $93 billion. As the percentage of all stocks held in retirement savings plans is approximately 30 percent, nearly one-third of the decline in stock prices would fall on stocks owned through these plans. This works out to $27 billion of lost value for current and future retirees unnecessarily redistributed to Congress. That works out to $434 of lost retirement savings for each family.”

Dubay says the $27 billion of lost wealth would lower the incomes of seniors dependent on retirement savings plans.

“Seniors have already paid a steep price in their retirement income during this recession,” Dubay writes. “Rather than causing further damage, Congress and the President should leave the tax rate on dividends and capital gains at current levels.”