Friday, September 9, 2011

Everything You Should Know About the American Jobs Act

Ever needy for material to blog about, I eagerly awaited President Obama's address to a Joint Session of Congress where he would introduce his American Jobs Act (AJA). I listened carefully.

I did hear about cuts in FICA taxes. I did hear about small business tax credits. I really didn't hear much, though, that is relevant to what we discuss here.

So, I searched the internet. Google couldn't find text of AJA. Bing couldn't find AJA. Yahoo couldn't find AJA. Only Steely Dan could find AJA (if you get that one, you must either be old like me or old at heart).

We are supposed to learn in a week and a half how it is that the President plans to pay for this stimulus (my word, not his). Here are some things to look for (and everything on this list is 100% speculation on my part):

  • Reduction in the defined contribution 415 limit to $20,000. That is, workers who can afford to make large 401(k) deferrals will not be able to get much in the way of company contributions.
  • Limits on corporate tax deductions for so-called Cadillac health plans for non-union workers. That is, if your employer gives you "too" rich a health benefit, they can't get a tax deduction for all of it.
  • Further erosion of the $1 million limit on deductible compensation under Code Section 162(m). As the President seems to believe that "CEOs and CFOs" make too much money, and he can't stop companies from paying that much money, he will seek to limit the tax deductions that they get. My feeling is that if you limit the deduction much more, most companies will just ignore the deductibility issue and pay their executives however they like.
  • Means testing of Social Security (and perhaps Medicare) benefits so that those who are better financially prepared for retirement will not receive the full benefits to which they thought they were entitled.
  • Some sort of restriction on the tax deductibility of equity compensation.
Ultimately, if the first bullet [above] becomes reality, it may result in joblock. That is, employees currently in the workforce will have difficulty being able to retire and thus will not open up jobs to those not in the workforce. Of course, it's possible that all of my thoughts are incorrect and misguided.

Perhaps Donald Fagan and Walter Becker know.

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