Back in the fall, President Barack Obama wanted to partially pay for his American Jobs Act with one of the most wrong-headed tax hike ideas you’ll ever hear about. See, when an entrepreneur sells his business or takes it public, any profit on the transaction is traditionally taxed as a capital gain, currently subject to a 15 percent rate. This has been true whether the business is a private equity manager, an oil partnership, or a comic book store…

In other words, a special tax just for financial entrepreneurs. (An earlier version was somewhat broader.) The Private Equity Growth Capital Council had a solid point when it said that such a tax hike “violates basic tax fairness policy and seems to single out the private equity, venture capital, and real estate industries in a punitive fashion.” But for the White House, those are features not bugs. It hoped the move would both boost the chances of getting Congress to pass a tax hike as well as embarrass those Republicans who opposed. (The Occupy movement was cresting right around this time.)…

But this is about more than just raising a bit of revenue for Uncle Sam. The EVT, likely to arise again as a way to pay for a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut, gives Obama another cudgel to pound the financial industry as part of his neo-populist presidential campaign. And imagine if his Republican opponent is Mitt Romney, a veteran of both private equity and venture capital when he ran Bain Capital. Obama would surely use Romney’s likely opposition to an EVT as more evidence that Romney and his fellow Republican only serve the needs of the wealthy.