Obama Wants to Revive 'Death Tax'

Estate levy set to expire in 2010; Dems want richest 2% to pay up
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2009 10:52 AM CST
Obama Wants to Revive 'Death Tax'
Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett testifies in Washington, Nov. 14, 2007, at a hearing on the federal estate tax.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – With the estate tax—a levy on inheritances dubbed the “death tax” by opponents—set to expire in 2010 as a last gasp of President Bush’s 2001 tax cuts, Barack Obama and fellow Democrats are looking to keep America’s richest paying up, the Wall Street Journal reports. Estates up to $3.5 million would be exempt under Obama’s plan; those above would be taxed at 45%.

Small businesses and farms, in addition to rich families, fought for the repeal, and are now urging Obama to raise the threshold to $10 million. Democrats say America’s wealthy have already benefited handsomely from Bush-era tax cuts—and fear allowing the estate tax to disappear as scheduled will make it harder to bring it back if necessary. (Read more estate tax stories.)

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