Can annuity gains be offset against other ordinary capital losses if I want to get out of a variable annuity-since you recommend against them?

The short answer is no. All gains inside an annuity, including capital gains, are taxed as if they were ordinary income. (This is one of the reasons we don’t favor annuities.) Therefore, you won’t have those gains available to offset capital losses.   The article “Fixed Indexed Annuities: Perfect product or a rip-off?” provides some additional insight into the world of annuities.