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Biden: This is not 'sustainable' for hedge funds

The Obama administration hasn't been able to eliminate the "carried interest" tax break for hedge fund managers, but Vice President Joe Biden called it "not sustainable" and predicted the next president will succeed.

The tax break allows certain compensation for hedge fund managers, among others, to be taxed at lower capital gains rates rather than ordinary income. "There's no justification," Biden said in an interview with CNBC, and the White House has asked Congress to close the loophole.

Joe Biden speaks with CNBC's John Harwood.
Sophie Bearman | CNBC
Joe Biden speaks with CNBC's John Harwood.

The administration hasn't won on the issue, Biden said, because its crowded agenda has never permitted sustained focus on it.

"We haven't had the clear space to do nothing but talk about how unfair the tax system is as it relates to the tax expenditures, loopholes we want to eliminate," he said. "And consequently what happens is a lot of people can go home, if you're a Republican, and say, 'These Democrats are just going after business.' "

Indeed, when the administration first sought to close the loophole, one major Wall Street figure, Steve Schwarzman, likened its approach to business to Hitler's invasion of Poland. Schwarzman subsequently apologized.

Biden laughed off the comparison, saying, "I'd say it's like us liberating death camps."


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