Friday, March 5, 2010

Taxing savings

The importance of savings in a personal financial package seems to vary with whose interest it’s in to encourage personal savings.

Several years ago, the media was bemoaning the fact that private individuals were not saving. Now, after the economic meltdown, the same media are lamenting that individuals are saving too much.

What happened?

Several years ago, the financial institutions (mainly banks) wanted people to put more money into savings because this would provide them with funds to lend out at a profit. Now, the thought is that any money put into savings would be better used to strengthen our financial system by being used to purchase goods.

A complete U-turn with little or no notice from anyone.

You might note that a major purpose of taxes is to encourage or discourage certain activities by the general population. Why wasn’t a tax policy in place several years ago when the lack of savings was seen to be a problem with economic development? We’ve never had a government policy to encourage and reward savings by exempting interest payments from taxation.

Conversely, capital gains, losses and stock dividends are granted tax adjustments to encourage financial investing.

There’s no where to go with this as there is no lobby or interest to look out for the average citizen except when it will directly benefit some other prime special interest.

Let’s just keep in mind that most legislators aren’t looking out for us.

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