Congressional "heir heads
" today have sent our nation into a chasm of debt and fiscal insolvency while elevating an elite class of nobility at the expense of working people and the middle class.
By a 272-172 vote this afternoon, the Republican Congress has permanently repealed the estate tax following a decade-long disinformation campaign to further enrich the richest 1% of Americans even as those same Republicans assured a Social Security crisis in the next decade and heaved a greater tax burden on middle-class Americans already saddled with billions of debt to pay for the so-called "War on Terror."
If the proposal
is not remedied by the U.S. Senate, neocon defenders of the uber-wealthy will have succeeded in pulling off one of the greatest hoaxes
perpetrated by a government on its citizens.
Just one House GOP member joined the 160 Democrats in opposition to the Republican "heir heads
" who are advancing the agenda of the "mega-upper class," shifting their tax burden on working Joes and Janes.
The lone GOP Congressman supporting sound fiscal policy was Jim Leach of Iowa
, who represents a state with thousands of family farms. Leach knows, as do countless others, that the vote today was not about protecting family farms. It was to protect Paris Hilton's manicure
from scuffs and chips that could occur if she or her heirs ever had to do an honest day's work.
Indeed, "The Simple Life" has perfectly demonstrated what we all already knew -- that the Hilton heiresses and family farmers have nothing in common
, including the fact that Nikki and Paris who inherited $50 million without lifting a finger would pay estate taxes upon their death (can Paris' come too soon?) and married family farmers worth less than a combined $7 million
would never pay the tax under Congressional Democrats' plan.
Even those with a net worth of more than $7 million would be eligible for some exemptions. So few farmers would be affected that the Brookings Institution predicted that, if the tax were imposed in 2011 on estates under the Democratic plan, only 50 farms nationwide would pay the tax.
The proposal to instigate a floor vote on the estate tax repeal was HR 202
, sponsored by Republican Congressman Doc Hastings of the Tri-Cities, a man who wasn't even endorsed by the Seattle Times
, despite that conservative editorial board's position demanding the repeal of the estate tax.
The Seattle Times editorialists rightfully warned us then that Hastings was more interested in protecting his party's interests than in looking out for the well-being of his constituents.
Want more evidence? See Seattle Times columnist Floyd McKay's piece today
about the "stench" that lingers on Hastings because of his Beltway buddy, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.
If the House Republicans' estate tax repeal plans continue unabated, those who need it least
are about to be exempted from paying their fair share of taxes while millions of working families will get the shaft.
The undoing of the estate tax is almost certainly assured as a movement mounted by the uber-rich is about to pay perhaps trillions in dividends to those who never had to work a honest day in their lives.
Instead of investigating Enron, Halliburton, AIG, or any of numerous scandals perpetrated by robber barons, the Republican House zeroed in on zeroing out the estate tax for the 30,627 wealthiest Americans who paid the tax in 2004.
Any political observers should know that repealing the estate tax is a horrible idea, except that constantly proposing it results in big war chest by Republican candidates sworn to protect robber barons who contribute to their PACs.
But what may be most offensive in this debate is the utter lack of honesty by those so eager to stick the working class with the tax bill of billionaires.
Backers of this plan have never been honest -- even four years ago when the plan first passed -- about the tremendous costs of an estate tax repeal. ONE TRILLION DOLLARS in the first decade after the repeal.
What we get from Republican sponsors, instead, is a whitewash, as Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne reports in his Monday piece
“Under a wacky provision of the 2001 tax cut designed to disguise the law's full cost, Congress voted to make the estate tax go away in 2010, but come back in full force in 2011.”
Even the title of the original 2001 plan to repeal the estate tax was euphemized to the point of being unrecognizable -- the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act
. These four years later -- if voters are to take Republicans at their word -- the economy is growing yet there is a crisis in Social Security, so making the estate tax repeal permanent by moving trillions in revenues out of the U.S. economy is worst possible scenario
to ensure a fiscally sound United States of America because more small businesses and individuals will bear an increased burden in capital gains and other taxes.
Republican floor speeches today disingenuously exalted "family farms and small businesses," but neglected to mention that exemptions are provided exactly for farms and businesses, but Congressional Democrats proposed substitute legislation
to ensure that 99.7% of Americans would NOT PAY ANY estate tax. It was shot down easily.
Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott of Seattle spoke during the floor debate calling the plan a "bad bill, bad policy, and bad ethics."
He also quoted very popular Republican
president, Teddy Roosevelt, saying, "The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government."
Other Democratic Congressmen, including one who initially supported reforming the estate tax in 2001, said the country is on the course to "financial Armageddon" due to the fiscal irresponsibility of the current Republican leadership and blasted the "Republican assault on Social Security and on fiscal sanity."
Democrats aren't alone in hopes that the federal estate tax would be mended instead of ended. Even leading Christian Republicans don’t like the repeal plan as it's written. Folks like Bush-appointee David Kuo, the former deputy director at the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, who criticized the plan to repeal the estate tax
because it dries up the financial lifeline of thousands of charities.
That analysis is backed up by the Congressional Budget Office
, which reported that "permanently repealing the estate tax would cause a larger decline in charitable giving--of 6 percent to 12 percent."
Some of the nation's richest
, all the while, are entirely against the repeal plan, including Bill Gates, Sr.
, father of the richest working man in the world. Even the stauchly conservative magazine National Review features a column in 2001
-- the year that the estate tax draw down first passed -- on the malevolent nature of the emboldened Republican Congress.
For the sad fact is that the GOP seems to have got itself into a very perverse social predicament.