Subsidizing the Idle Rich While Poor Kids Go Hungry

To hear some politicians tell it, America’s welfare system is facing a grave crisis: Millions of poor people, they say, are idling away their time eating lobster and relaxing on cruises.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, for example, recently signed welfare reform rules banning people receiving public assistance from using their $100 a week in benefits to buy steak or seafood, go to swimming pools, or take cruises.

Meanwhile, some members of Congress are taking aim at food aid for hungry Americans. They want us to associate “hungry” with “too lazy to work.”

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House Gives $334 Billion Tax Break to 25 Richest Americans

The House of Representatives gave 25 of the nation’s billionaires a $334 billion tax break on April 16 when it voted 240-179 to repeal the estate tax. The nearly 100-year old tax raises $27 billion a year for the U.S. government. Of the 2,662,000 Americans who died in 2013, just 3,700 of their estates paid any estate tax – one out of every 700 estates.

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Inequality and the Estate Tax: What You Need to Know

Beginning this evening, the House is expected to vote to repeal the estate tax – one of our nation’s key checks on tremendous accumulations of wealth by a handful of the richest Americans.

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Estate Tax Gutted by Loopholes

In 2012, the nation’s estate tax collected just $8.5 billion – a fraction of one percent of the $1.2 trillion of accumulated wealth that passed to heirs. A dozen years earlier, in 2000, the estate tax recycled nearly five times more money back into society ($40 billion – after adjusting for inflation).  

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Fiscal Standoff?

With two weeks left before the end of the year, Congress and President Obama still appear far apart on a possible agreement to avert a pending "fiscal cliff" of tax increases and across-the-board spending cuts that will begin to phase in starting in January if no agreement is reached. Despite the hype, the sky will not fall if no agreement is reached by Jan. 1. The administration has significant authority to delay the effects of both the spending cuts and tax increases for several weeks if necessary. The administration has significant authority to delay the effects of both the spending cuts and tax increases for several weeks if necessary.

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OMB Watch Criticizes House Vote on Estate Tax Amendment

WASHINGTON, Dec. 17, 2010—OMB Watch today criticized the House's Dec. 16 failure to adopt Rep. Earl Pomeroy's (D-ND) estate tax amendment to the Bush tax cut compromise reached by President Obama and congressional Republicans. The vote against the Pomeroy amendment indicates that the nation's fiscal priorities have been cast aside in favor of the estate planning needs of the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans.

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Tell Congress: Don't Gut the Estate Tax!

As you could probably tell from our post on Tuesday, we think the recent compromise unnecessarily harms the estate tax, helping millionaires and making the tax code even more regressive.  But we need your help to convince Congress that gutting the estate tax is bad policy.  Below is a copy of an action alert we just sent out; if you didn't get it, please take a second to read through it and call your senators and representatives.  Tell them to fight for a strong estate tax!

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Obama Tax Cut Compromise Capitulates on Estate Tax

President Obama's tax cut deal with congressional Republicans, if enacted by Congress, will achieve what President George W. Bush could not get done: create a path to effectively kill the estate tax.

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Colbert Reminds Us What the Estate Tax is Really About

Stephen Colbert

On The Colbert Report yesterday, host Stephen Colbert mocked conservative pundits and politicians ginning up fear over the return of the estate tax in 2011. Recently, conservatives have been bemoaning the potential impacts of a returning estate tax on the decision-making processes of families with wealthy relatives near death. Colbert empathized with "all those innocent, God-fearing people who are willing to kill Nana for the extra cash."

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Has the Estate Tax Become an Issue on the Campaign Trail?

Kneel before the Aqua Buddha!

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription), it has. Despite not hearing much about the estate tax in debates or town hall meetings this fall, it seems the American Family Business Institute, deemed an "advocacy group" in the Journal piece, is circulating a pledge among congressional candidates calling for elimination of the tax. This seems to be enough for the Rupert Murdoch-owned daily banking pamphlet to announce that the estate tax is a midterm election issue.

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