Estate Taxes & Political Calculations

The President’s deal with the GOP scales back the estate tax. House Dems are saying “too far, too much.” The GOP says “must have.”

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Dec. 13, 2010, before going to vote on the tax cut legislation. (AP)

The tax debate rages on in Washington, even as President Obama’s tax deal with Republicans rolls on. 

The Senate is lining up to pass the deal today. Republican leadership is saying, “Pass it, or else.” House Democrats are drawing their new line in the sand at the estate tax. 

The GOP-White House deal would be a sweet deal for America’s richest families: mountains of wealth to pass on, with a light tax touch. Too light, say Democrats, at a time of huge American inequality and huge federal deficits. 

We hear the debate on fairness, the future, great fortunes, and the estate tax.

-Tom Ashbrook


Bob Cusack, managing editor of The Hill.

Ray Madoff, professor at Boston College Law School, expert on the estate tax. She’s author of “Immortality and the Law: The Rising Power of the American Dead.”

Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum, a think tank. He’s former director of the Congressional Budget Office, from 2003-2005, and served as chief economist to John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Michael Burgess, Republican congressman for Texas’ 26th district.

Jim McDermott, Democratic congressman for Washington State’s 7th district.

Read Teddy Roosevelt’s statement a century ago about inherited wealth and estate taxes.

(AP Photo)

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