Senate Republicans: No Aid for Unemployed Unless Millionaires Get Break on Estate Tax, an article published on Tax Articles International Article Directory (2/27/2010), addresses items raised in two of my earlier posts.
First, as its title indicates, this article discusses how Senate Republicans "blocked action" on extending unemployment benefits:
Senate Republicans blocked action on aid for millions of unemployed Americans this week, and threatened to continue to do so unless Congress acts on a completely unrelated matter: the federal tax on the estates of millionaires. . . .
Senate Republicans denied the unanimous consent request to pass an extension of UI and COBRA. The objection was raised by Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) over the source of funding. But the measure is apparently also being held hostage by Senators wanting to give multi-millionaires a break on the estate tax.
For more on this issue, see my post, The debate over the federal estate tax might be a key reason why unemployment benefits start expiring today.
Second, the article concludes by reviewing the efforts of Americans for a Fair Estate Tax:
Congress needs to move in a different direction on the estate tax. Americans for a Fair Estate Tax, a coalition of organizations including Citizens for Tax Justice, has issued a call for an estate tax that exempts no more than $2 million in assets per spouse, and taxes the taxable portion of estates at a rate of at least 45 percent, with an additional 10 percent on assets in excess of $10 million. Only about 0.7 percent of deaths resulted in estate tax liability in recent years when the per-spouse exemption was set at $2 million.
Cutting the estate tax any more than this — particularly when Congress seems to have so much trouble helping the Americans who are struggling the most — would prove that Congress really does have its priorities completely backwards.
For more more about the proposal by AFET, see my previous blog entry, AFET adopts a new statement arguing for the federal estate tax (2/27/10), and see Americans for a Fair Estate Tax, by Derek Jensen (Derek’s Tax Blog 2/26/10).