Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dem. Congress not Impressing Everyone with Estate Tax and Bank Losses

One of my favorite blogs, A Taxing Matter, recently posted a great entry on the new Congress’ dealings so far with estate taxes and bank losses. Below is a quote from the opinion piece, but be sure to check out the full text here.

First, the estate tax.

After eight years of Republicans' tax-cut-and-spend mentality, you'd think that the new Congress would step back, look at the economic mess that has resulted, and reconsider the Republican proposals that started with the 2001 Bush bills and continued on throughout the Bush administration. The Bush administration and Congress enacted tax cuts that paved the way for enormous inequality, as the wealthy became wealthier and the rest barely hung even or lost ground. Don't they get that it has got to be reversed, now? That is, after all, part of the change the American people voted for.

One person who obviously doesn't get it is Earl Pomeroy, Democrat (at least in name) from North Dakota. On Jan. 9, Mr. Pomeroy introduced H.R. 436, a bill that would fulfill Obama's campaign statements about the estate tax by keeping the tax at the ridiculously low levels enacted by the Republicans on their way to complete repeal--$3.5 million as the base exemption amount, at a 45% rate. (The bill currently has no co-sponsors--dare I hope that means that people know this is a foolhardy piece of legislation?) Read more in the Tax Justice Digest, Estate Tax Proposal Would Partially Extend One of Bush's Tax Cuts for the Wealthy, Jan. 16, 2009.

Remember that estate tax repeal is something that has been lobbied for extensively by the very wealthiest families in the country who happen to be the primary targets of the estate tax. See prior ataxingmatter postings about the coalition of 18 families put together by the Wal-Mart heirs to push estate tax repeal. They've resorted to the extensive propaganda tricks that have marred the Bush Administration--choosing representative families that are by no means representative, claiming that the estate tax causes families to lose their family farms (when, in fact, they have not been able to show that there is any such problem), misleading ordinary Americans to think that the estate tax threatens almost everybody's home and heirlooms--in order words, misrepresenting the facts to portray the estate tax as evil when in fact it is an unmitigated good. There is, in short, absolutely no tenable reason for reducing the estate tax to this bare minimum.

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