Tell Chafee to Keep our Taxes Fair

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 estates—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.

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4 responses

  1. Kiersten, The wisdom of this reduction is built on a myth that it protects small business owners and farmers.

    It’s my industry and I can comfortably tell you that few – very few folks will pay taxes if their estate is valued below $4 million. Let that sink in…. If invested wisely, that’s $300,000+ annually income with no erosion to the principal.

    This issue impacts only the VERY wealthy and translates to over $30 billion annually.

    The real culprit to cuts in infrastructure from schools to libraries to social services, parks and roads are the 2001 and later wealth income tax reductions. These are huge figures that make the estate tax cuts pale in comparison.

    The real losers are the middle class who shoulder the shifted burden especially at the local/property tax level and why most are seeing their expendable income erode. Add a war and war-profiteers and energy greed to the mix and you’re talking wholesale screwing to the US population. That’s Bush’s patriotism?

    What busts my chops is we almost exclusively put those into office who receive most of their contributions from other wealthy folks and then wonder why our lives seem to be in a state of economic purgatory.

    The travesty is enormous and is comparable to the underfunded state and local pensions and health accounts with the piper having to be paid by both our generation and the next for decades to come.

    It’s comparable to transfering ever increasing credit card balances to keep up the payments, but eventually there’s fewer funds to tap into unless more are created.

    In this case we’re talking about the need for real economic stimulus at both the local and national levels and more fairness as to from where taxes are collected and allocated.

    That’s not partisan. It’s pragmatic.

  2. OK, I’ll call. But what do you want to bet Chafee thoughtfully refuses to express an opinion on Kyl until the balance is tipped one way or another, at which point he’ll anounce his intended vote and it won’t make a lick of difference. Doesn’t seem like LC likes to take a stand until he knows it will be an impotent one.

  3. OK, I’ll call. But what do you want to bet Chafee thoughtfully refuses to express an opinion on Kyl until the balance is tipped one way or another, at which point he’ll anounce his intended vote and it won’t make a lick of difference. Doesn’t seem like LC likes to take a stand until he knows it will be an impotent one.

  4. Very true, Henry’s Mom. Poor Linc does not seem capable of sticking his neck out lately. Last time, it seems, was the initial vote on the Iraq war.

    But it’s good to call. Remind him that we the people would like to be able to keep what semblance of fairness and opportunity is left for the average American.

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