As I understand it, the President's tax plan, if enacted, would *not* exempt REIT dividends from tax at the shareholder level (because the income was not taxed at the corporate level). All other things being equal (which admittedly they never are), this would appear to make REITs marginally less attractive to an income oriented investor as he could sell the REIT and shift into a "regular" corporation's shares and enjoy taxfree dividends.
Perhaps this is one (of many) factors in the recent decline of ARI and other REITs.
buy reits as a proxy for the underlying real estate; their tax effects are at least as good as direct ownership, and in many instances much better.
don't look at reits as a substitute for investments in operating companies (other than to a certain extent the hotel industry)
reits should not be in competition in a portfolio with IBM or GE; they should be an alternative to direct or syndicated ownership of real estate with far lower transaction costs and much greater liquidity