The Republican Congress is so opposed to raising the minimum wage, stuck at $5.15 for nine years, that the only way they will back a raise for the working poor is to couple it with legislation to raise the cap on the estate tax. Even as they were passing the bill, the Republican leadership acknowledged that its chances for passage were slim, but that's not the point. Elections are just around the corner, and Republicans think they can have their cake and eat it, too.
Representative Jim McGovern, Democrat of Massachusetts, said Republican leaders knew that the tax provisions would surely be killed in the Senate. He accused them of giving their moderate members a chance to go on record in favor of boosting the minimum wage without having to deliver results.We're covered the Paris Hilton tax cut before, and the reasons why it isn't just unfair and unprogressive, but a disastrous fiscal policy as well. Republicans have been rying unsuccessfully for years to eliminate the tax altogether, but they would settle for raising the cap high enough and lowering the tax rates to the point where it almost never applies. But just in case this legislation doesn't pass, the administration is preparing to try the back door and eliminate the auditors.
Meanwhile eighteen millionaire families and their Republican handmaidens think that a two-dollar-an-hour raise every decade for the lowest rung of the working class must be balanced by a $91 billion dollar inheritance tax cut for some of the wealthiest families on the planet, dynasties who already control $185 billion dollars in assets. Who are these families? The Blethens who own the Seattle Times, the Waltons of Wal-Mart fame, The Mars family of Mars, Inc., the Dorrances of Campbell Soup fame, the Gallos of E&J Gallo Winery, the Nordstroms, and a few other less familiar names.
Not every wealthy heir thinks more tax cuts on inheritance are a good idea.
.... Elizabeth Letzler, an investment manager from New York who will be subject to the estate tax and who spoke at the press conference, “The current estate tax structure should permit any wealthy household to pass on a legacy of financial security, education and family heirlooms to the next generations.” She challenged the families showcased in the report: “Do something spectacular during your life-time investing in the social welfare and well-being of the children and grandchildren at the bottom of the pyramid.” Her daughter Stephanie, also in attendance, said, “If keeping the estate tax means a step closer to a debt-free treasury, a step closer to improved health care, Social Security, education, and every other program that makes me proud to be an American, show me where to sign the check.”Warren Buffet, who doesn't believe in "dynastic wealth," set the bar for noblesse oblige when he decided to pass along the majority of his estate through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And a famous blue-eyed actor recently voiced these sentiments:
Paul Newman, actor and founder of Newman’s Own food company, agreed in a separate statement: “For those of us lucky enough to be born in this country and to have flourished here, the estate tax is a reasonable and appropriate way to return something to the common good. I’m proud to be among those supporting preservation of this tax, which is one of the fairest taxes we have.”So put back that Snickers bar and pass the Newman O's.