Wednesday, April 26, 2006

18 Super-Rich Families Have Spent $490.3 Million Dollars Lobbying for Estate Tax Repeal

Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy have released a report documenting how the super-rich have spent millions -- to safeguard their billions from the estate tax (The Paris Hilton tax, I should say).

Here's a link to the report, a PDF file:

Spending Millions to Save Billions
The Campaign of the Super Wealthy to Kill the Estate Tax

These are the 18 families:

Allyn-Soderberg (Allyn Family Real Estate Company)

Blethen Family (Seattle Times Co.)

Cox Family (Cox Enterprises Inc.)

DeVos Family (Alticor Inc., Amway)

Dorrance Family (Campbell Soup Co.)iony $429.4 million$1.7 billionx $663.4 million

Gallo Family (E&J Gallo Winery)

Harbert Family (Investments)

Johnson Family (BET, RLJ Development Co.)

Koch Family (Koch Industries)

Mars Family (Mars Inc.)

Mayer Family (Captiva Resources)

Nordstrom Family (Nordstrom Inc.)

Sobrato Family (Sobrato Development)

Stephens Family (Stephens Inc.)

Timken Family (The Timken Co.)

Walton Family (Wal-Mart)

Wegman Family (Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.)

Remember those names when you hear politicians talking about family farms. It's a public relations strategy by these super-rich families to make the issue about the mythical family farm. It's really the billionaire family bank account, and the billionaires huge portfolios of inherited stocks, bonds, and property, but you'll never see the CEO of Wal-Mart in any estate tax repeal ad.

Together these super-rich families stand to save $71.6 billion dollars from the estate tax repeal. No wonder they have been willing to contribute almost half a billion dollars in lobbying dollars. They've formed their own 501(c) corporations with innocuous sounding names like "Freedom Works" and the "Free Enterprise Fund" to lobby for these huge tax breaks.

And remember that most of the money in the hands of these super-rich people has never been taxed. Remember that when you're paying 25 or 30 or 35 percent of your earned income every year in taxes.

The reality is that the bulk of wealth in large taxable estates has never been taxed at all. This is wealth in the form of appreciated property, stocks, and bonds that have increased in value since they were acquired or inherited -- and have never been taxed. Without an estate tax, billions of dollars of untaxed capital gains would pass within wealthy families without any tax. (Report, page 41.)

I saw this at ThinkProgress:

18 Families Bankroll Estate Tax Repeal Campaign

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