There was electric excitement in Washington, DC, during the UFE co-sponsored Estate Tax Lobby Day, where participants inspired each other and advocated for their belief in a strong estate tax. One participant said, "Speaking with other thoughtful advocates made me feel both powerful and knowledgeable. It made me feel like an effective citizen." He and others intend to continue advocating for the estate tax.
On the first day, March 18, 2008 participants gathered for a talk featuring Bill Gates, Sr. and author Barbara Ehrenreich, moderated by UFE-founder Chuck Collins, who is currently a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). The talk, entitled Challenging the Second Gilded Age, was part of the Take Back America conference. The talk was followed by an in-depth training for people planning to meet with Congressional staff.
Early on March 19, 35 estate tax supporters assembled in the Dirksen Senate Office Building for more training. They were grouped into teams of 4-5 people, and each team held between 4 and 7 meetings with staff in the offices of Senators and Representatives to press for preserving and strengthening the estate tax. These teams were often composed of business owners, inheritors, young people and senior citizens, and included many UFE and Responsible Wealth members. They came from as far as Washington state and California, and included at least one Republican. In all, the teams visited 23 Senate and 18 Representatives' offices during the day.
After meeting with staff and talking about the future of the estate tax, most participants were inspired to continue similar advocacy. One participant noted that, "all day long, we heard from staffers of supportive legislators that they were very very happy to see us," because they rarely meet estate tax supporters.
Thanks to all who participated, including co-sponsors Fair Economy Action Fund and IPS, and to all who support our work to keep the estate tax!