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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Trump campaigned on a pledge to increase taxes on hedge fund and private equity fund managers, by closing the carried interest loophole. But there is no mention of carried interest in the tax plan released today by the White House. Instead, there is a plan to lower the tax rate on so-called "pass through" entities, which actually would reduce the tax burden on many of those same professional investors.

What are pass-through entities? Businesses that pay taxes at individual rates (up to nearly 40%), rather than at corporate rates (35%).

New plan: The White House wants pass-through entities to be taxed at corporate rates, which it hopes to slash down to 15%.

Result: Trump's argument is that many small businesses currently are taxed as pass-through entities, but that treatment also applies to a lot of hedge funds and real estate funds that are structured as things like limited liability companies. Moreover, funds structured as limited partnerships (almost all private equity and venture capital) likely would either restructure or figure out a way to qualify as pass-through entities for tax purposes. In short, such fund managers would now pay a flat 15% tax on all of their income, including annual management fees on which they currently pay individual rates.

This would effectively eliminate the question over changing the tax treatment of carried interest, since 15% is lower than either the current capital gains rate or the ordinary income rate.

Possible caveat: Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the following during a White House press briefing: "We will make sure that there are rules in place so that wealthy people can't create pass-throughs and use that as a mechanism to avoid paying the tax rate they should be on the personal side." He did not provide any additional specifics.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”