The year was 2001. The top marginal federal income tax bracket was 39.6%, and the tax rate that applied to most long-term capital gains was 20%. Then came the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, followed two years later by the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. By mid-2003, the top marginal tax rate was 35%, and the 20% capital gains rate had dropped to 15%. But this tax relief was designed to be temporary–the provisions that established lower rates were crafted to self-expire after a period of time. And now, in 2010, we’re only months away from seeing those provisions expire.