David Rubenstein wants to have it both ways. He’d like us to believe that he’s a reasonable fellow, ready to pay more tax if Congress would only change the law, according to a New York Times report:.
“If you change the law, we’ll pay the taxes,” Mr. Rubenstein said to scattered applause during a debate at Davos on the future of capitalism. He was referring to a provision of the United States tax code that allowed people in the private equity industry to treat their income as capital gains and pay a lower rate.
He conveniently forgets to mention his consistent opposition to just such a change in the tax law. The Carlyle Group has long been a vocal opponent of ending the “carried interest” treatment of partnership income.
A Carlyle executive, Bruce Rosenblum, testified against such legislation in 2007, as chairman of the industry’s chief lobbying group, the Private Equity Council (since renamed the Private Equity Growth Capital Council). The group continues to oppose efforts to change the tax, and recently urged the deficit-cutting Congressional Super-committee to leave the tax alone. (See the commentary on its website here.)
So if anyone gets a moment in Davos again with Mr. Rubenstein, perhaps he’ll be asked if he’s really ready to support new tax legislation, or at least drop his opposition, so that Congress can pass it.