Today, Rep. Jim McDermott released the Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011, and United for a Fair Economy, Responsible Wealth and our allies have his back. The bill is an effort to raise taxes on the top one percent to benefit the 99 percent... literally.
The main thrust of bill H.R. 3467 is to restore pre-Bush era estate tax rates and levels, with a maximum marginal rate of 55 percent and a $1 million exemption. Of course, tax rates and exemption levels are only part of what was compromised by President Bush's hatchet job. Rep. McDermott's estate tax bill would also address various loopholes that have enabled the extremely rich to avoid taxation and amass even more wealth.
The estate tax, while not a be all, end all solution to our fiscal crisis, is of vital importance to the U.S. economy. It represents the principle of meritocracy — that hard work, not the reproductive lotto, should be the basis for upward mobility.
Our country has become one of the most economically unequal and socially unjust industrialized nations. So, the estate tax also represents a fundamental change that needs to take place—the reduced concentration of wealth, and thus, political power in the U.S.
As flawed as our political system may be — as much as I sometimes wish we could replace it all together — it's still important to elevate truly progressive policies that arise in that system. Too often, such policies don't ever see the light of day. For those of you who think our economy is in disrepair and want to support a concrete solution, this is one of 'em.
Become a pro-estate tax advocate, and speak out as constantly and publicly as you're able. Talk about it to your friends, families and colleagues. Share this link on your social networks, and write your local media. Hammer your senators and representative with a message that you want the wealthiest among us to pay more to protect the common good of our country. Tell them you support a strong estate tax.