- A nonpartisan analysis of the current political environment
- The implication of the 2016 election and its impact on business/taxes
- The Affordable Care Act and how it affects business owners and retirees
- Tax reform status and its proposed changes
- The implications of the U.S. fiscal environment and how it impacts the future
The Washington Update: An Overview of the Political Environment, Prospective Legislation, and Strategies for Investment and Retirement Planning
The new Congress faces a number of deadlines as it begins deliberations in 2015. In March, the borrowing authority of the United States runs out; Congress will have to agree on an extension to avoid default on the national debt. In May, Congress must appropriate highway funds to permit states to undertake summer infrastructure repairs. And in September, Congress must fund government operations to avoid a shut down. Republicans are likely to demand that the cost of these initiatives be offset by spending cuts elsewhere; Democrats will seek to recoup the cost with new taxes on affluent families.
Also in January, large employers for the first time must offer health coverage to employees or pay a penalty for failing to do so. This new requirement – like the advent of the individual mandate in 2014 — is likely to cause confusion and consternation, leading to renewed Republican demands to curtail the scope of the Affordable Care Act.
Comprehensive tax reform will be on the table, as Congress seeks to simplify the tax code and stop the spate of corporations moving their headquarters overseas. Former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan is poised to assume the chairmanship of the House tax writing committee, and likely will be presenting new ideas to address the tax system and income inequality.
Overhanging all of these deliberations will be the ramp-up to the presidential election campaign, as various individuals announce (or renounce) their candidacies. To the extent candidates are current members of Congress, their desire for advancement will have an effect on Congressional deliberations.
Andy Friedman and Jeff Bush, experts in political and legislative affairs, will discuss these matters and their likely effect on investors and the markets. The ongoing budget battles and deadlines are likely to spark more market fluctuations. Tax reform could have a significant impact on investors, as it could alter current exemptions, deductions, and preferential rates for capital gains and dividend income on which investors rely. And corporate tax reform – aimed at stopping the exodus of companies overseas – could have an outsized effect on particular industries as well as the market in general. Andy and Jeff will provide strategies that investors and financial advisors can consider to take advantage of (or protect against) changes arising from the above initiatives, including specific strategies for investment, wealth transfer, and retirement planning.
2016, of course, will bring the election of a new president and a new Congress. There will be much to discuss in the year-long run-up to Election Day, including evaluation of the candidates, their economic views, and how their fiscal and regulatory policies are likely to affect the markets. Also important is whether a continuation of split government is in the offing, or whether the same party will control both branches (and if so what that party is likely to do once in power). Primaries, conventions, and candidate debates all have the potential to move the markets. And Congress still must deal with fiscal deadlines, such as funding the government, and address geopolitical issues. We will keep you informed of developments and their likely effect on investors each step of the way.