United for a Fair Economy Remembers Senator Kennedy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, August 28, 2009

United for a Fair Economy Remembers Senator Ted Kennedy as a Strong Supporter of Progressive Taxation

Boston, MA - United for a Fair Economy (UFE) joins the nation in mourning the loss of Senator Ted Kennedy.  Although he was born into a wealthy family, Senator Kennedy fought for economic justice and greater opportunities for lower-income and working families.  Concerned about growing economic inequality, Senator Kennedy worked for progressive taxation, advocating that people of wealth, such as his own family, pay their fair share of taxes to support the common good.

In doing so, Senator Kennedy championed the continuation of the estate tax, America’s only tax on inherited wealth, stating, “The estate tax is the most progressive of all federal taxes. At a time when the income gap between the wealthy few and the middle class has grown disturbingly wide – wider than it has been in decades, why would we want to transfer more of the tax burden from the rich onto the shoulders of middle class families? Make no mistake, the trillion dollars that would be lost should the estate tax be repealed will have to be made up by increasing other federal taxes, taxes paid mostly by the middle class. That is the injustice of repealing the estate tax.”

Senator Kennedy further championed the cause of working families in opposing repeal of the estate tax in 2006, stating, “The real beneficiaries of repeal would be the heirs of the richest men and women in America.  If we eliminate the estate tax on the largest concentrations of wealth in our society, we will be permitting the very few who inherit huge amounts of money to receive their millions tax free while working Americans have to pay substantial taxes on their wages. It would be terribly unfair to tax work while giving inherited wealth a free ride.”  He noted, “Those who have benefited most from the opportunities America offers have a special obligation to contribute something back to their country.”

Demonstrating his commitment to the end, one of Senator Kennedy’s last votes, in April 2009, was in opposition to a budget amendment reducing the estate tax (S Con Res 13).

In addition to advocating for preservation of the estate tax, Senator Kennedy supported other progressive tax policies.  He voted for increasing the income tax on people who earned more than $1 million a year, against reducing the capital gains and dividend taxes, and against repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax.

Brian Miller, executive director of UFE, adds, "United for a Fair Economy salutes Senator Kennedy’s fight for economic justice and progressive taxation. His vision and aspirations live on in grassroots efforts across the country. We, along with others, pledge to carry on the fight for tax fairness at the national and state level to foster a strong middle class and a more broadly shared prosperity."

Contact: Brian Miller, 617-423-2148 x111 (office) or 781-392-4564 or at bmiller@faireconomy.org


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