Ten Senate Democrats have joined with Republicans in opposing President Obama’s plan to reinstate the estate tax, set by the Bush team to expire next year, on amounts over $3.5 million. Michael Kinsley, writing in the Washington Post, has one question: “Why in the world?” Currently, rich couples can leave $7 million to their kids without paying a cent, but the senators want to make it $10 million and lower the tax rate from 45% to 35%.. “This is amazing,” writes an astonished Kinsley.
“To save these very few, very wealthy people a small fraction of their estates, these senators are willing to hand their party’s president an embarrassing defeat.” This ought to be a bigger outrage than the AIG bonuses; we’re talking about billions here, he says. Normally Republicans argue that lowering taxes encourages people to work harder. But dropping the estate tax “can’t possibly motivate those kids to inherit harder.”