lundi, juin 05, 2006

The Case In Favor of the Death Tax

Ah, those nutty Republicans. Here’s how I got linked in. I donated money to my high-school debate partner’s judicial campaign down in Kansas. She’s a big time Republican, and somehow that got me on the list of OKRA (which stands for the Oklahoma Republican Assembly). That got me on the list for The Vanguard.

Once a week or so (I must applaud my conservative friends for keeping the spam count down) I get an email that usually tickles me quite a lot – can I really disagree with a group of people on every single solitary thing?


Anyway, here’s the latest effort. These “leaders” are writing to social conservatives asking them to take a break from their out and out hatred of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and those who are transgender, foreigners, birth-control, health education, education in general, Iraqi’s, people who want to die without useless suffering, the first amendment, privacy, people who oppose torture, and uteruses to…

…that’s right, repeal the death tax.

And I’m sure most of the people reading this email (below), if no action is taken, will get hit really hard by this tax that hits a very small percentage of the population.

In fact I know they will.

They will make up the lost revenue in the form of a tax increase somewhere else, increased fees, or an increased deficit.

Look, 89% of taxable estates held assets of $2.5 million or less. And I have a funny feeling that the bible belt and the deep south, where the Republicans obtain oodles of support is not thick with folks whose estates are valued at $2.5 million or more, or even $625,000.

But I know a lot of folks hate the tax because they hate taxes in general, and they death of any tax (pun intended) is a good thing.

My argument has always been (and will always be), if you’re going to give tax relief, don’t give tax relief to the super wealthy. Give tax relief to the middle class, the lower middle class, and the poor.

But social conservatives will line up to decry this thing.

Here’s how it works estates valued at $625,000 or more are taxed at 37%.
Estates valued at $3,000,000 or more are taxed at 55%.

[and trust me on this, most folks with an estate valued at more than $3,000,000 have an attorney, a financial advisor, generations of experience at beating the tax man, and ample estate planning – as a practical matter it’s all socked away in trusts and as tax exempt as your local mega-church]

But year after year, morons pay the tax because:

a) they failed to plan, or
b) they did do-it-yourself estate planning

Limiting estate tax liability is not that difficult to do.

The estate tax accounted for 1% of federal revenue, and when you repeal it, guess what? That one percent is going to come from somewhere (and my guess is that, at least initially, it will come in the form of a higher budget deficit – current budget deficit = $8,359,022,768,986.85 – or at least that’s what it was when I started typing it).

Before you read the letter, please consider a counter-attack. If one of your Senators is on the fence, please fax them to say, keep the estate tax.

And with no more rumpuses, here’s the letter (it starts “dear conservative friend,” so before I even read it they have three strikes, and they’re out):

Dear Conservative Friend,

As you know, last month, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist promised a final vote to abolish the abominable Death Tax by the end of May. For a variety of reasons, that hasn’t proved possible. But the man is as good as his word.THE FINAL DEATH TAX VOTE IS SCHEDULED FOR JUNE 8TH. AND WE’RE WITHIN TWO OR THREE VOTES OF VICTORY.

But there’s more to this story, and we have to act fast. As you know, the Senate is not like the House, where a straight-up vote is possible and 51% wins. Senate rules are much more complicated and have been since George Washington’s day; what’s more, since it takes 60 votes (out of 100) to stop a filibuster and force a vote, the hard-left Democrat minority can stymie most things our good guys try to do. That’s the biggest reason why we’ve had such a frustrating couple years.

Because of this, we have not one but THREE votes we have to win. The first is called an “Agreement to move forward”; the second is a “budget point of order”. Each of these must receive 60 votes before the final vote can be held.In short, this is going to be a busy week, and you and I have to get to work NOW.

1. Call and Fax the Fence-Sitters

Our petitions have been very successful, but with three votes to win in the next week, there’s not much time left for that. We need everyone to put maximum pressure on the fence-sitters, to let them know we mean business. At this late date, that means calls and faxes: if we ring their phones off the hook — especially in an election year — they’ll know what they need to do.

For a list of the eight Senators we have to work on — with their phone and fax numbers — click here:


Also, if you don’t have time to call or fax them yourself, we have set up a system through TheVanguard.Org to do it for you. It costs a little bit — $6.18 — so we can pay our bills, but that’s nothing compared to what’s at stake, and we’ll make sure everyone gets your message. All you have to do is fill out the form and pay.


But don’t stop there. There’s more:

2. Tell Your Friends

Don’t spam anybody of course, but we need you to tell your friends and get them involved.

Forward this email to as many of your friends as you think might help. With three votes to win in just one week, there’s not a moment to waste, and we need everybody now.

I know we've all been pretty bummed about the Republicans in Congress lately, but you should notice this: they came through on extending the tax cuts this month, and they’re coming through on the Death Tax too. When you see our list of fence-sitters, you’ll see they’re all Democrats. The only Republican we’re “working on” is perennial disappointment Mike DeWine (R-OH), and he’s probably with us on this. The truth is, after a rough year and a half, our guys are really coming through, in no small part because YOU came through first, uniting through TheVanguard.Org and other groups to “encourage” them. It shows what we can do when we pull together. It also shows how radically worse America would be with the Democrats in charge.

Now, let's go finish this. 2006 can still be a big year for America. Let's make it happen.

Thanks for all you do,- Rod, Sherri, Shawn and all TheVanguard.Org team

P.S. No kidding: the faxes are crucial. We won the tax cut fight by acting: we’ll win the Death Tax fight the same way. Pitch in with me, and tell your friends too.