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... they have never taken away a benefit that has already been bestowed on anyone.

This puts a (too) nice spin on taxes, I think. People who "sold" stocks--in a virtual way, the paid the tax on capital gains, and then "rebought"--again in a virtual way--so that they they could then qualify for extra low long-term capital gains rates were left high and dry as the rates fell anyway. Maybe in a technical sense "they" (= the government, or perhaps the IRS) didn't take away a benefit, but in another technical sense I think they screwed them.

Certainly, the IRS is capable of future screwing.

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