June 05, 2006

NEW Estate Tax Information Available!

This week the US Senate may be voting to repeal or drastically reduce the estate tax. The tax is paid on the value of an estate when a person dies. Currently the tax is levied on estates valued over $2 million for singles and $4 million for couples. In any way changing the tax to protect the wealthiest of the wealthy is pretty poor policy for several reasons - most of which you can read about in any major newspaper. Here's a great take on why the estate tax is an important anti-wealth gap measure from the Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby. Also, this is a pretty compelling op-ed that ran in the Salt Lake Tribune.

Amidst all of the political debate there's some new numbers available which are quite significant. On Friday, the IRS quietly released new data showing estate tax payments by state for 2004. The data provide timely (but heretofore unnoticed) new evidence that in every state, the federal estate tax is all but irrelevant to residents of each state. Citizens for Tax Justice created easy to understand one-page fact sheets for all 50 states describing the new data, and showing the decline in estate tax payments in each state since 1998.

To view a document describing details from all the states click here.
To view a fact sheet about an individual state click here.

It's probably not very surprising based on rising exemption levels and creative accounting that the number of people who paid the estate tax actually declined over time - but it's a good point that is worth making again and again. By voting for repeal or a silly compromise Senators are saying that protecting the wealthiest of the wealthy is more important than the welfare of all Americans.

Hope these fact sheets are a helpful eye-opener!

Want your voice heard?
Tomorrow (June 6) is a national call-in day to support the estate tax.
Tell Your Senators to Oppose Repeal or Drastic Cuts in the Estate Tax
Call Toll-free, 800-459-1887.

The toll-free number is provided courtesy of the American Friends Service Committee which has launched a budget campaign, http://www.afsc.org/economic-justice/sos/


At 11:39 AM, Blogger josh narins said...

Even pro-Capitalists should be for repealing the Estate Tax, since it severely distorts the incentive system under Capitalism.

According to a working paper put out not so long ago by the Minneapolis Fed, there are estimates that intergenerational wealth transfers amount to between 25 and 80% of all wealth.

The paper then goes on to describe how one of the main engines of capitalist growth is entrepreneurship, and that the decision to become an entrepreneur is dependent upon many factors, an important one being having the investments in the first place (putting up collateral, savings, inherited wealth).

Hereditary Plutocracy sucks, although I can see why George Walker Bush would think it is a great thing.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger josh narins said...

Here is a link to the Minn. Fed Board publication.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Kelly said...

Hey Everybody!
I just called my Senators for today's national call in day!

Have you?

The phone number is on this post.


At 8:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm impressed with your site, very nice graphics!


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