Obama-GOP Tax Deal 'Shameful' - House Dems Urged to Fight for Better Deal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 13, 2010

Contact:
Mazher Ali - 617-423-2148 x101, mali@faireconomy.org
Tim Sullivan - 617-423-2148 x127, tsullivan@faireconomy.org

UFE Calls Obama-GOP Tax Package Shameful – Urges House Democrats to
Fight for a Better Deal and a Stronger Estate Tax

Boston, MA – “The Senate’s decision to approve the ill-conceived tax package negotiated between Obama and GOP leaders is shameful,” stated Brian Miller, executive director of United for a Fair Economy (UFE), after the Obama-GOP tax compromise cleared its first procedural hurdle in the Senate today. “Fortunately, the buck does not stop in the Senate. We are calling on the House to fight back and win a better deal for the sake of middle and working class Americans – those who will be saddled with massive new debt to pay for wasteful tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.”

Since the Obama-GOP deal was unveiled last week, President Obama has been fighting an uphill battle to sell the deal to his own party, including a defiant House and the Congressional Black Caucus. A growing chorus of organizations has joined the fight to oppose the plan in its current form, including powerful unions, citizen groups, and others affiliated with Americans for a Fair Estate Tax. Much of the outrage over this proposal has been directed at President Obama’s dramatic concession to the Republicans allowing for the weakening the federal estate tax.

Miller added, “Republicans have ruthlessly allowed the livelihoods of millions of out-of-work Americans to hang in the balance by refusing to extend unemployment benefits – unless they get extended income tax breaks for the top 3 percent and a smashing of the estate tax to an 80-year low. They inexplicably refuse to have America's most financially enriched contribute to the rebuilding our economy.”

UFE has long stood in support of a strong estate tax, along with a generally more progressive tax system, as foundational to preserving the kind of economy that merits hard work. “After decades of failed trickle-down policies, inequality in the U.S. has reached its highest level since 1928, just before the Great Depression. Despite this disturbing trend, Congressional Republicans seem to believe the problem with our economy is that rich people don’t have enough money. That’s a complete misread of the challenge we’re facing. It’s time we put the middle class first and stop bankrupting our nation to give wasteful and expensive tax cuts to the extremely wealthy.”

At the 2009 estate tax levels, a wealthy parent could pass down up to $3.5 million tax-free to their heirs ($7 million for a married couple). Additional breaks and exclusions ensure even more generous exemptions for small businesses and farms. In a press conference organized last month by UFE, Dave Eiffert, co-founder of the Snoqualmie Falls Brewery outside of Seattle, stated, “I don’t know any small business owners who are worried about paying the estate tax. Opposition to the estate tax is largely pushed by families who have enormous estates. They pay huge sums to spread misinformation and use small business people as their poster children.”

“Thankfully, we’re seeing some of the gumption we’ve been craving in a rejection of the tax deal by House Democrats with the support of the Congressional Black Caucus,” added Miller. “Angry people from across this country are calling on these House members to stay strong in their opposition, and to fight for meaningful revisions before this so-called compromise becomes law.”

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