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White House brushes off Thursday market drop after reports of Biden push for capital gains tax hike


Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, speaks during a news conference in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, April 23, 2021.

Jim Lo Scalzo | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden’s reported plan to hike capital gains taxes on millionaires may have spooked Wall Street, but Thursday’s sudden stock slide didn’t seem to shake the White House.

Press secretary Jen Psaki on Friday brushed aside a question about whether the Biden administration was concerned by investors’ apparent lack of support for the proposal to raises taxes on the rich.

“I’ve been doing this long enough not to comment on movements in the stock market,” Psaki said during a press briefing.

“But I did see data, factually, that it went back up this morning,” she added before moving on.

The plan, which seeks to increase the levy on capital gains to 39.6% from 20% for Americans earning more than $1 million, was reported by outlets including Bloomberg News and The New York Times.

U.S. stocks on Thursday reversed their gains and turned sharply lower after the reports. Stock indexes closed out Thursday’s trading session down about 1%.

But by Friday afternoon stocks appeared poised to recover their losses, as analysts predicted that any such taxes hikes would likely be pared down before passing through Congress.

“We expect Congress will pass a scaled back version of this tax increase,” Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a note. “We expect Congress will settle on a more modest increase, potentially around 28%.”

The reported tax hike plan would be in keeping with Biden‘s 2020 presidential campaign platform, in which he vowed to raise duties on corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The president has repeatedly promised that people making less than $400,000 a year will not see their taxes go up.

The White House’s nonchalant reaction to the latest stock fluctuations starkly contrasts with the posture of former President Donald Trump, who often touted market gains as an indicator of his administration’s success.

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