Ken AshfordCongressLeave a Comment

Well, the House Republicans have passed a bill — now on its way to the Senate — which eliminates the estate tax altogether.

Now, some of you are relieved.  "Phew!  Less taxes," you think. 

But I promise you something: you weren’t going to pay an estate tax when you die anyway.  The estate tax affects only the uber-wealthy.  It doesn’t affect millionaires; it affects billionaires (okay, and some ultra-multi-millionaires).   

In other words, it is a tax on HUGE inheritances.  It means that Paris Hilton will only receive $700 million in inheritance (for doing nothing) instead of $900 million (for doing nothing).  It doesn’t affect you, but cumulatively, that would translate to $300 billion over the next decade.

And with that, we could have actual prescription drug relief.  Or armor to protect our troops.  Or funding for No Child Left Behind. 

But no.  We must see that Paris Hilton has her FULL inheritance.

You know how conservatives are defending this?  This is their argument boiled to its essence: "Well, rich people are going to use tax loopholes anyway, so we might as well give them huge tax breaks."  Seriously!  That’s their argument, as put forth by the conservative Wall Street Journal:

"…what liberals call the aristocracy of wealth already exists, despite the current [death] tax, because super-rich families like the Hiltons have always found ways to avoid or mitigate it through offshore accounts, tax-sheltered foundations, and so on.”

Hey!  Here’s an idea.  Why doesn’t Congress simply close those tax loopholes??