Katrina Vanden Heuvel: It's Time to Fix the Estate Tax!

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"It’s been said that only death and taxes are certain. But the 'death tax' is anything but certain now. There’s no estate tax this year -- costing the Treasury billions -- because Congress allowed it to expire.

With less than a fortnight before Congress’s August recess, United for a Fair Economy held a press conference call with a wonderfully eclectic mix of participants – including former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, heiress and filmmaker Abigail Disney and hedge fund pioneer Julian Robertsonall urging reinstatement of 'the most progressive tax in the code and the only national tax on wealth.'

They are facing some stiff opposition. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was on the Senate floor this week talking about heirs being forced to sell their property and how reinstatement of the estate tax would cost 1.5 million jobs as well as the collapse of many family farms and small businesses.

In fact, the American Farm Bureau was unable to find a single example of a farm having to be sold to pay the estate tax, as Lee Farris, UFE’s tax policy coordinator, pointed out. And the Senate and House bills supported by UFE – introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash) -- would be paid by only one-quarter of one percent of estates, or seven-tenths of one percent of estates, respectively. [...]"

Read the full column by Katrina Vanden Heuvel on WashingtonPost.com


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