ESTATE TAX REPEAL….I see that the Republican Trust Fund Baby Act of 2005 is all set to get passed today in the House. That’s the modern GOP for you: it’s the party of responsibility! If you earn your money, it should be taxed away, but if it just falls on you from the sky, you should get to keep every last cent.
The political story behind the estate tax repeal is genuinely fascinating, as is the continuing public support for it. Democrats have consistently offered up pretty extreme counterproposals, including Earl Pomeroy’s latest gambit, which would provide a $7 million (!) exemption for couples and thus constrain the estate tax to the tippy top .3% of the population. No farms would be lost, no family businesses would be lost, nobody who wasn’t fabulously wealthy would even be touched. But of course it’s a no-go. It would touch the super-billionaire class, and that’s who this is aimed at.
I actually understand the gut appeal of estate tax repeal. After all, when you die don’t you want to decide who gets your money? And yet, Democrats’ inability to make the counterargument stick is telling. The only thing being taxed is estates of robber baron size; the only people being taxed are the pampered children of the robber barons; and the cost of repeal is on the order of $1 trillion per decade. Apply that to Social Security and the system would still be solvent when Captain Kirk retired.
So a few thousand indolent kids like Paris Hilton get to pay for their Roman bacchanalias tax free while a couple hundred million ordinary working folks get the shaft. That’s the party of moral values for you.