Monday, June 19, 2006


Are they insane, or just insanely greedy?

Congressional Republicans are still desparately trying to connive an inheritance tax cut after just barely failing to pass a full inheritance tax repeal in the Senate. Basically, the Dems had to filibuster to stop it, and the Republicans fell just three votes short of ending the filibuster.

If the point of the inheritance tax repeal is, as the rhetoric would have it, to prevent cash-strpped family farm heirs from having to sell the farm to pay taxes on the value of inherited land, you could create an inheritance tax exemption for that special case. But no, that's just a talking point to cut taxes for the rich people. Blah, blah, blah.

It's incredible to me that that tax cut argument has any traction at all. Reaping tax revenue by taking a modest cut from amassed fortunes before they go to trust fund babies who never lifted a finger to earn that money is an important source of federal revenue.

Let's review: federal revenue is important to pay for certain things provided by the federal government. Like, gee I dunno, the f*cking Iraq War. (Cost estimates: low end, $100-200 billion, but more like $1-2 trillion according to Nobel Laureate Joseph Stigletz).

Actually, the low end of the Iraq war cost estimates was basically zero: Iraqi oil revenues and extracting valuable trace elements from the flower petals showering the troops would pay for the whole shebang. Larry Lindsey got fired for saying it could cost as much as $100-200 billion.

There is a counter-Stiglitz literature that tries to put comaparably big price tags on continuation of the previous containment policies, but most of those do something or other terribly wrong (e.g., treating Iraq as the only reason why we'd have any military assets in the region).
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