It is the season for looking at tax statistics. 

In the year 2004 and 4,488,654 filers reported short term capital gains ("ST gain") and 5,506,046 reported short term capital losses ("ST loss"). The IRS has thoughtfully binned all filers into 19 income categories ranging from AGIs of zero to $10mm plus

Every bin showed more filers reporting an ST loss than an ST gain except the last two bins of $5mm-$10mm and $10mm plus. Every bin also showed the total dollar amount of ST losses suffered by filers exceeded same for ST gains, save for the last two bins.

If we take the total dollar amount of ST losses divided by the same for ST gains in each bin, naturally we get a ratio greater than one for all bins except the last two. If we then plot this, we get a nice slightly kinked line starting from an incredible high of 20 [AGI $5,000 to $10,000] to 7.76 [AGI $25,000 to $30,000] before rising again to 9.21 at [AGI $40,000 to $50,000] and falling gently thereafter to hit 1.25 at [AGI $2mm to $5mm], before going into sub-1 territory.

The aggregate ratio for all returns is 3.65, i.e., ST losses for all US filers were 3.65 times ST gains in 2004.





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