Action: YAY for the “DEATH TAX”, our most progressive tax! Tell your legislators to support bills that raise estate taxes to the 2009 level or higher.
Two GOP attacks on the poor and sick this week… Senator Rand Paul stated that “Any new spending (est. $10.2 billion for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund bill) should be offset by cutting spending that’s less valuable”…like Medicaid. Meanwhile, millionaire Agriculture Sec. Sonny Perdue is proposing eligibility rules that would remove 3 million people barely above poverty level from the food stamp program, with an average annual “savings” of $2.5 billion. You can discuss that with him here.
It’s been such an exciting race to the bottom, we may have missed just how much money has been removed from our coffers by the deficit-inducing 2017 TaxScam, including the bloating of the estate tax exemption from $5.5 million to $11 million ($22 million per couple). Returning to the pre-2017 rate would pay off Rand and Perdue’s demands, with a lot left over – see our easy “explainer” below. We need to let our legislators know that restoring a rational estate tax isn’t just some arcane issue, but a critically important step towards safeguarding democracy. That there are at least SIX GOP bills (listed below) to kill what’s left of it is a great tip-off as to how important this is to people like our president, who stated…
“The point is that you can’t be too greedy.”
Here are some bills we need our legislators to support NOW!
- H.R.3922/S.2231 – the “American Opportunity Accounts Act,” which would use the increased revenues to mitigate our wealth gap by creating savings accounts for every American child
- S.1950 – “Strengthen Social Security by Taxing Dynastic Wealth Act“, which concentrates on strengthening Social Security and expanding benefits.
- S.309 – “For the 99.8%” is a multi-tiered expansion that taxes the rich according to their degree of wealth. Bernie Sanders’ team estimates that it would raise around $2.2 trillion from 588 billionaires within 10 years.
- Not posted yet – Senator Kamala Harris proposes to return the estate tax rate to $5.5 million, close tax loopholes, and give the new funds directly to teachers, who, unlike heirs to multi-million dollar fortunes, may be working second jobs.
Minimal script for reps: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Rep. [___] to cosponsor ALL bills that raise the estate tax to pre-2017 TaxScam level, and preferably to the 2009 level, including H.R.3922– “American Opportunity Accounts Act“.
Rep-check for H.R. 3922 here. Reps. Brownley and Carbajal are not yet cosponsors.
Minimal script for senators: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Sen. [___] to cosponsor ALL bills that raise the estate tax to pre- 2017 TaxScam level, and preferably to the 2009 level, including: S.2231 – “American Opportunity Accounts Act“, S.1950 – “Strengthen Social Security by Taxing Dynastic Wealth Act“, and S.309 – “For the 99.8%.“
- Sen-check for S.2231 here. Senators Feinstein and Harris are not yet cosponsors.
- Sen-check for S.1950 here. Senators Feinstein and Harris are not yet cosponsors.
- Sen-check for S.309 here.
Rep. Julia Brownley: email, (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: email. (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Senator Feinstein: email, DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: email, DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Who is my representative/senator?: hq-salsa.wiredforchange.com
Estate Tax Explainer: So, how much money are we talking about here?
“Hey, is this a math test, or worse, a math WORD PROBLEM?” No.
No, really, this is easy. The hard work was done by the people who made this chart. The rest can be figured out by a 3rd grader.
This chart, from the Tax Policy Center, shows the difference between estate exemptions of the 2017 TaxScam ($11 million/$22 million per couple) and the earlier exemption of $5.5 million/$11 million per couple). Revenues described in the bills based on the 2009 standard would be higher.
“Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline. A progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy.“ Warren Buffett, speaking to the US Senate Finance Committee (14 November 2007)“If we completely repealed the estate tax, it would provide an estimated $32 billion tax break for the Walton family – the founders of Wal-Mart.“ – Bernie Sanders
What could we do with this money? Here are some great lists to think about…
- Nine things to buy with $5 billion instead of a border wall (nationalprioritiesproject)
- 15 things the US could do with $15 billion that are not building a wall (global citizen)
- 10 things we could buy with $25 billion (other than a wall) (dailykos)
- 11 things $25 billion could pay for other than a wall (buzzfeed)
- What does $60 billion buy? (NYTimes)
“If you’re going to give money to your children, you should be taxes at a very high rate for passing that on so that a lot of it goes to the government and some goes to your kids.“ – Melinda Gates“What would we rather Bill Gates do with his wealth? Go out and buy a bunch of yachts or houses or continue to save and grow his money? The rest of us should want that money saved and the estate tax works against that.” – Chris Edwards, Cato Institute.
“You can go a long ways raising the estate tax, raising the capital gains tax and collecting more resources for the equity things we want government to be able to do.” – Bill Gates.
“Me and my dad are the biggest promoters of an estate tax in the US. It’s not a popular position.” – Bill Gates
Taking back estate taxes is just the beginning…Next we’re going to need an effective wealth tax.
“You all just got a lot richer.” – Trump to friends at Mar-a-Lago
If these are your insatiably greedy legislators, call them out!
- H.R.25 — Fair Tax Act of 2019 – Rep. Woodall (R-GA7)
- H.R.521 — Permanently Repeal the Estate Tax Act of 2019 – Rep. Latta (R-OH-5)
- S.176 — Estate Tax Rate Reduction Act – Rep. Cotton (R-AR)
- H.R.222 — Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019Sponsor: Rep. Thornberry [R-TX-13] Cosponsors: Reps. Newhouse (R-WA-4) and Hill (R-AR-1)
- H.R.218 — Death Tax Repeal Act – Rep. Smith [R-MO-8] Search the list of (113) cosponsors here.
- S.215 — Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019 – Sen. Thune [R-SD] Search the list of (33) cosponsors here.
- Ten facts you should know about the Federal Estate Tax (cbpp.org)
- No, the estate tax isn’t killing farms (money.cnn.com)
- The cost of Trump’s tax cuts (thebalance)
- Will Trump administration tax cuts, spending hikes blow up deficit and doom economy? (USA today)
- ‘I support higher taxes’ The billionaire behind the National Debt Clock has had it with Trump (wapo)
- The tax cuts and jobs act of 2017 has not paid for itself (pacific standard)
- As deficit skyrockets, author of GOP tax bill admits cuts may not pay for themselves (salon)
- It’s official: The Trump Tax Cuts didn’t pay for themselves in Year One (NYTimes)
- A year after the middle class tax cut, the rich are winning (bloomberg)
- Final tax bill includes huge estate tax win for the rich? the 22.4 million exemption (forbes.com)
- Most billionaire support tax on wealth above 50 million. (cnbc)
- The Federal estate tax: An important progressive revenue source (itep)
- Policy Basics: The Federal Estate Tax.The federal estate tax is a tax on very large inheritances received by a small group of wealthy heirs. Because it only affects the heirs of the wealthiest Americans — fewer than 1 in 1,000 estates — the estate tax is the most progressive part of the tax code. (cbpp.org)
- T17-0308 – Estate Tax Returns and Liability under current law and the House and Senate versions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, 2018 – 2017 (taxpolicycenter)