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Friday, June 02, 2006

Estate Tax Repeal An Unfair Act - by Richard Rockefeller

Published on Thursday, June 1, 2006 by the Portland Press Herald (Maine)
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Once again the question of repealing the estate tax has come before the U.S. Senate. The House has already approved a permanent repeal, and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has promised a vote in June in the upper house.
 
Approval would abolish our nation's only tax on great accumulations of wealth.
 
The timing of this vote couldn't be more bizarre. Our nation is at war and faces a multitrillion-dollar national debt for decades to come. We are rebuilding our Gulf Coast after one of the worst natural disasters in modern memory. At the same time, our country is experiencing unprecedented levels of wealth inequality.
 
In this context, it is particularly unseemly and wrong to abolish the estate tax.
 
As a member of a family that has been associated with generations of wealth, I feel obligated to speak out against the repeal of the estate tax. While our family would benefit financially from the elimination of the tax, I believe its abolition would steer our country in the wrong direction.
 
The estate tax raises substantial revenue from those most able to pay, including my immediate and extended families. It provides a tremendous incentive for wealthy individuals to give to charity, including many of the foundations that serve our communities in Maine.
 
Finally, the estate tax encourages dispersion, rather than a build-up, of concentrated wealth and power. Such accumulations of wealth pose a basic threat to our democratic traditions.

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