Several weeks ago I wrote a post about Congress' attempts to get rid of the inheritance tax. In the post I pointed out that the new limits of $5 million per individual and $10 million per family would be more than adequate to save farms and small family businesses. It is really about the plutocracy wanting to be able to pass on more future taxes and deficits to everyone else's grandchildren.
I wrote at the time,
They had in fact wanted to eliminate the tax entirely, but were prevented from doing it last year because the vote was to be taken just as the Katrina images were coming out of New Orleans and Americans would have been outraged by a tax cut for dead rich people when the bodies of dead poor people were being collected on sidewalks. And this year, there is an election coming and the Republicans are reading the poll numbers. So, there is only one year there will be no estate taxes at all-- in 2010 due to old legislation passed during the earlier rounds of Bush tax cuts. But it will still be back in 2011 (Wonder, in the event that they don't get a permanent repeal passed, whether in December of 2010 we will see a bunch of billionaires move to Oregon and get themselves declared terminally ill and get lethal injections?) and that is a good thing. With the new limits, any further estate tax cut would be clearly a tax cut aimed at plutocrats (which there are many of in Congress, and many more in Congress who have been wined, dined and given airplane rides by plutocrats). The case can be made that this cut was as well, but luckily it stopped short of going all the way.
And they are still pushing at it. Having failed to get it through on a straight up or down vote, Congressional Republicans attached it to the minimum wage bill going through the house. Now, I'd have no real problem conceptually if they, for example, wanted to give small businesses a tax break in order to prevent them from laying off any workers (although the list of jobs in America that are worth $5.15 an hour but no worth $7.25 an hour is a very short list indeed), but that isn't what this is about at all. It's a way to try and sneak their inheritance tax cut through on an unrelated bill.
And the Senate should stop this turkey cold. It may be necessary to raise the minimum wage on a state by state basis (possibly by referendum) and this may not be a bad thing-- although the current minimum wage is too low in every state, an argument could plausibly be made that a living wage in, say, Connecticut is significantly different from a living wage in Arkansas. However, getting rid of estate taxes is a bad idea, a tax cut for the super-rich that Americans as a whole realize that we will all have to pay for in the future, foolish in the face of enormous deficits, and the Senate should vote to defeat this bill, whatever else it may or may not have in it.