Is Ben Nelson this Confused on Other Policy Issues?

'Can you tell me where I'm going?'

Connor Kenny, an editor at OpenCongress, put a great piece up on the Huffington Post yesterday. It was an analysis of the nonprofit's recent scorecard on how each senator has voted on extending unemployment benefits over the past two years. Along with discovering "a few head scratchers," the report finds "at least one irrefutable truth": "[Sen.] Ben Nelson [D-NE] has a whacked-out definition of 'fiscal responsibility.'"

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Commentary: The Case for a Strong Estate Tax

On Capitol Hill, there exists a debate about the future of the Bush tax cuts and the federal estate tax. While President Bush's 2001 tax policy eliminated the estate tax for 2010, it is set to return to pre-Bush tax cut levels in 2011 unless Congress intervenes. How Congress chooses to address the estate tax will have significant implications for the federal budget deficit and the fair distribution of the nation’s prosperity.

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Senators to Introduce Progressive-ish Estate Tax Measure

Rich People don't Keep their Money in Piggy Banks

The Budget Brigade has learned that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), along with Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) as co-sponsors, will soon introduce the "Responsible Estate Tax Act." While the bill would essentially reinstate the estate tax at 2009 levels – exempting the first $3.5 million of an individual's estate ($7 million for couples) – it has a more progressive tax rate structure that targets the wealthiest one quarter of one percent of the population, and protects small businesses and family farms.

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CTJ Shows Tax Proposals in Rep. Ryan's 'Roadmap' Lead to Disaster

Luckily, No One was Hurt...

In a report released yesterday, Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ) critically examine the tax policies proposed recently in Rep. Paul Ryan's (R-WI) budget alternative, conventionally titled, "A Roadmap for America's Future." Claims of the proposal "balancing the budget" and "reforming entitlements" have already been thoroughly debunked, but CTJ has contributed a valuable analysis of the young Republican's tax policies, which will actually cost the government "$2 trillion over a decade even while requiring 90 percent of taxpayers to pay more" than they already do in taxes.

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Americans for a Fair Estate Tax Announce Statement of Principles

Eat the Rich

On Tuesday, Americans for a Fair Estate Tax (AFET), a diverse coalition of public interest groups that OMB Watch is a part of and that champion a strong estate tax, adopted a new statement of principles on the tax. We argue that with both a dire need for the government to increase investment in basic public services and a credible long-term deficit problem looming, this is no time for Congress to grant further financial relief to the country's wealthiest citizens by reducing the estate tax.

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Sticking It to the Unemployed

Over a million families are hanging on by thread, and all Sen. Jon Kyl (R-$$) wants to do is cut taxes for heirs of multimillion dollar estates. In fact, he wants to give scions of the rich tax cuts so badly that he's blocking health insurance assistance and a badly needed Unemployment Insurance extension from getting through the Senate.

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Estate Tax Foes Attempt to Enlist Religious Conservatives

Christian Soldiers Unite

It seems old Dick Patten at the American Family Business Institute (AFBI) is up to his old tricks again, trying to scare people about the estate tax with lies and distortions in an attempt to gin up support to kill the tax in Congress. This time, though, he's adopted pious language to spread the gospel of the "evils" of the tax among religious conservatives.

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Senate Clears $1.9 Trillion Debt Ceiling Increase

Just Put It on the Card

Last Thursday, the Senate voted, 60-39, along partisan lines to pass legislation raising the nation's borrowing capacity to $14.3 trillion. During debate of the bill, senators rejected an amendment to establish a commission to make recommendations to reduce the deficit, but agreed to an amendment reinstituting statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules with some exemptions.

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Enemies of the Estate Tax Assemble

Pigs at the Trough

With the estate tax down and out for the time being, groups that for decades have sought to repeal the tax are gathering to make a push in Congress to keep the estate tax from coming back. In a recent online piece, John McKinnon of the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper whose editorial board never saw a tax repeal proposal that it didn’t like, wrote a short profile on the "small business group" the American Family Business Institute (AFBI), which McKinnon describes as currently waging an “all-out campaign for a permanent repeal.”

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How Temporary is the Estate Tax's Death?

The Estate Tax Will Rise Again

Just before senators departed for the Christmas holiday, they wrapped up most of their pressing business for the year, including health care reform and an extension of the debt ceiling, but they failed to address the expiring estate tax. Because of the Senate's inaction, the estate tax effectively died on Jan. 1 and will stay dead until Jan. 1, 2011. That is until senators return from their winter break and resurrect the tax, which top tax writers on Capitol Hill are promising to do before March.

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