Sunday, April 30, 2006

Wealthy Families Campaign to Repeal Estate Tax is Big Con Job

From Public Citizen
We are here today to expose one of the biggest con jobs in recent history: the campaign by a handful of the country’s wealthiest individuals to persuade Congress to repeal the estate tax. The long-running, secretive campaign of 18 extraordinarily wealthy families worth $185.5 billion has relied on deception to bamboozle the public and Congress not only about who must pay the estate tax, but about how repealing it will affect the country. In fact, more families could be involved in the effort – it’s hard to tell because it’s so easy for the backers of this campaign to hide their identities, which is allowable under current lobbying rules.

As outlined in the report released today by Public Citizen and United for a Fair Economy, these families, which alone stand to save $71.6 billion if they succeed, have masterminded a fraud on the American public. They claim that the estate tax will harm small businesses and small farms, when in fact it will not. They claim that the estate tax is a second tax on income, when in fact, it often is the first – 70 percent of wealthy families’ assets are in the form of unrealized capital gains that have never been taxed. And remember, these are people who already received a big tax break because of President Bush’s recent tax cuts.

We’re talking about enormously powerful and wealthy people – billionaires and mega-millionaires. They include the makers of Gallo wine and Campbell’s soup; the founders of world’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, and the family behind the giant candymaker, Mars.

Contrary to the claims of these individuals and the lobbyists they hire, only about one-fourth of one percent of all estates will pay the estate tax this year.
Bill Gates Sr. says that the estate tax allows very rich families to repay the country for all the wonderful things the country has made possible for them.

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