Monday, June 05, 2006

Will Congress Give Paris Hilton A Tax Break?

Congress poised to give her millions

Our economy is in a tailspin, the Iraq war is pouring money into the hands of private contractors and draining the treasury. What do Republicans want? Give the mega-rich another tax cut! Only makes sense if you are rich -- like the Bush Administration members who stand to save millions.

Paul Krugman, NYTimes: Shameless in the Senate

The Senate almost voted to repeal the estate tax last fall, but Republican leaders postponed the vote after Hurricane Katrina. It's easy to see why: the public might have made the connection between scenes of Americans abandoned in the Superdome and scenes of well-heeled senators voting huge tax breaks for their even wealthier campaign contributors.

But memories of Katrina have faded, and they're about to try again. The Senate will probably vote this week. So it's important to realize that there's still a clear connection between tax breaks for the rich and failure to help Americans in need.

Any senator who votes to repeal the estate tax, or votes for a "compromise" that goes most of the way toward repeal, is in effect saying that increasing the wealth of people who are already in line to inherit millions or tens of millions is more important than taking care of fellow citizens who need a helping hand.


Who would benefit from this largess? The estate tax is overwhelmingly a tax on the very, very wealthy; only about one estate in 200 pays any tax at all. The campaign for estate tax repeal has largely been financed by just 18 powerful business dynasties, including the family that owns Wal-Mart.


In the interest of stiffening those spines, let me remind senators that this isn't just a fiscal issue, it's also a moral issue. Congress has already declared that the budget deficit is serious enough to warrant depriving children of health care; how can it now say that it's worth enlarging the deficit to give Paris Hilton a tax break?

Full article: Ed Strong.

Sebastian Mallaby, WaPo: Reward for the Hereditary Elite . . .

It doesn't matter if you are liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. There is no possible excuse for doing what Congress is poised to do this week: Abolish the estate tax.

The federal government faces a future of expanding deficits. Thanks to the baby bust and medical inflation, spending is projected to rise by nearly 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, a growth equivalent to the doubling of today's Medicare program. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Take a source of revenue and abolish it outright.

fuzzy and blue: EstateTaxRepeal: GOP prays at lucre alter

[] Estate tax repeal would save the estate of Cheney between $13 to $61 million, according to the publicly available data on his net worth. It would save the estate of Rumsfeld between $32 to $101 million. The estate of retired Exxon Mobil chairman Lee Raymond would pocket a cozy $164 million. As for the late Sam Walton's kids, whose company already makes taxpayers foot the bill for the medical expenses of 1000s of its employees, the cost to the govt for not taxing their estates would run into the multiple billions. []

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