Here’s a simple question for Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2): What have you done for us lately? And, please don’t try to tell me your vote to repeal the estate tax for the top income earners in the country is “doing something” for the remainder of working America. Nevada representatives Amodei, Heck, and Hardy were pleased to vote for H.R. 1105, which is essentially a $269 Billion handout to the richest families in these United States.
First, if the country has $269 billion – with a B – to give up in revenue, then I’d really not like to hear any more from any of the three GOP representatives about “cutting the deficit,” or “balancing the budget,” because cutting revenue has the same effect as increasing the spending – it’s the arithmetic of the matter.
Secondly, labels are essentially useless. Calling the estate tax a “death tax” may do well in focus groups but if we’re serious about fiscal matters, and we ought to be, then we’re not taxing a person – we’re taxing the value of the estate left to the very select few. The Paris Hilton Legacy Protection Act would be a far more enlightening label.
Is your “estate” worth more than $5.43 million? Because that’s the size of the legacy which under the current system which is liable for taxation purposes. And, spare me the “small business” and “family farm” arguments. Please. As of the moment only 0.2% of Americans would owe any estate tax, meaning of course that the remaining 99.8% of Americans who may own family farms or small businesses are NOT liable for this tax.
“Only roughly 20 small business and small farm estates nationwide owed any estate tax in 2013, according to TPC. TPC’s analysis defined a small-business or small farm estate as one with more than half its value in a farm or business and with the farm or business assets valued at less than $5 million. Furthermore, TPC estimates those roughly 20 estates owed just 4.9 percent of their value in tax, on average.
These findings are consistent with a 2005 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study finding that of the few farm and family business estates that would owe any estate tax under the rules scheduled for 2009, the overwhelming majority would have sufficient liquid assets (such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, and insurance) in the estate to pay the tax without having to touch the farm or business. The current estate tax rules are even more generous.” [CBPP]
And then there’s the “taxed twice” argument, which doesn’t make any more sense in the real world than protecting those 20 business and farm estates nationwide – here’s the trick – most of the biggest estates consist of “unrealized capital gains” which have NEVER BEEN TAXED in the first place. [CBPP]
From this point forward, Representatives Hardy, Amodei, and Heck have no room to speak of the “income inequality gap” in the country. They’ve just voted to increase the beast. Again, it’s not even mathematics, it’s arithmetic. If the GOP wants to increase spending for its Pentagon projects then someone has to pay for that. At present discretionary spending in the federal budget amounts to about 29% of the total, and of that 29% some 65% is related to the U.S. military. [NPorg] Thus, the increases sought for Defense Department spending, and the hole created by losing another $2.69 billion in revenue – to protect the 0.2% – has to be made up by the remaining 99.8%.
So, what have Representatives Heck, Hardy, and Amodei done for us (the 99.8%) lately? Not to put too fine a point to it – they’ve just told us it’s up to us to make up that $269 billion handout to the ultra-rich, and accept that we “can’t afford” to feed children, the disabled, and the elderly, to promote agricultural development, to help provide housing for the nation, to guarantee student loans for middle income families, to promote and encourage industrial and manufacturing technologies….. And, all to protect the precious 0.2%.