Estate Tax Statement from Anna Burger

Estate Tax Statement from Anna Burger, SEIU Secretary/Treasurer

The following statement was delivered on UFE's 12/15/09 Estate Tax Teleconference.

Anna Burger"Just yesterday, President Obama met with CEOs of the nation’s biggest financial institutions. His message to them, one I think we can all agree with, was: we need an economy that works for everyone, not just for Wall Street and the wealthiest Americans.

I don’t need to tell all of you how dire the situation is for most working families right now: the unemployment rate is at 10 percent. Twenty-seven million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. One in seven mortgages are delinquent or in foreclosure.

And yet, while average Americans are worrying simply about whether or not they can keep their home, estate tax legislation right now in Congress would lavish $230 billion in tax cuts on a few extremely wealthy families who have already inherited millions of dollars.
Why? Because a few extremely wealthy families and George W. Bush—yes, that guy—said so.
This year, only 3 out of every 1000 estates will be large enough to be subject to any estate tax. The remaining 997 out of a thousand of us get nothing from this tax cut bonanza.
Want to know how the legislation works? Consider a wealthy family with two children. Each child could inherit $3.5 million, tax-free. That means each child would receive more, tax-free, than the average worker would earn in two lifetimes. And the worker would be paying taxes on their earnings.
Each of these children would receive more, tax-free than 240 minimum wage workers would receive in a year.
So who’s behind this unfair legislation?
United for a Fair Economy has documented that 18 families that stand to gain $70 billion if the estate tax is repealed have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying to weaken or repeal the estate tax.
During the Bush years, the richest one percent of Americans received $550 billion in tax cuts. The richest 1 percent in the U.S. hold more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.  
Yet here we are considering how we can continue to extend Bush-era policies that favor a few rich families at a time of record deficits, and while millions of Americans struggle to keep a roof over their head and put food on the table.
It’s fiscally and morally irresponsible.
We need Congress to say no to the demands of 18 wealthy families, and to stand up for the other 305 million of us."


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