Even the Projo agrees: repealing the estate tax would not only be foolish economically. It also flies in the face of the American ideals of fairness and opportunity:
Yet more to the point is the damage that repeal of the tax would do to our civic culture. As it is, Americans with inherited wealth have a huge and growing advantage over others, in a society in which fancy educations and influential social contacts almost guarantee lifetime success.
Great inherited wealth can also ensure socio-economic and political power through a family’s generations. Such nepotism — on the rise in both politics and other American arenas — undermines the stabilizing effect of public faith in our system’s fairness and in America’s position as the “Land of Opportunity.” Indeed, today there is more socio-economic mobility in much of Europe than here.
In short, if our representative democracy and civil society are dominated by a hereditary plutocracy, they are bound to decline.
The estate tax may be more symbolism than anything else, but such symbolism matters much in a country with the stated values of America. Most Americans quite rationally consider the estate tax the fairest one we have. It is unlikely that the drive to eliminate it would have gotten so far if it were not for the fact that such an action would richly benefit big campaign contributors.
From Rhode Islanders for Social and Economic Justice:
Already, less than one percent of American estatesâ€”one in 370! Must pay this tax. But the Kyl proposal would exempt many multimillionaire estates from the tax, and would result in either more major cuts to vital programs and services, or in a larger share of taxes paid by lower- and middle-income families.
Where does Senator Chafee stand?
Thankfully, Senator Chafee voted against the full estate tax repeal last time it came up. But he has yet to take a public position on the dangerous Kyl proposal, stating only that he continues to oppose full repeal.
You can make a difference on this issue by calling Lincoln Chafee at 453-5294 and urging him to oppose the estate tax repeal or any compromise reduction in the estate tax.