Henry Waxman’s GRMO released a Fact Sheet under Administration Oversight today showing the savings of Bush and his Cabinet, if the repeal of the Estate Tax is made permanent. Here’s a few quips from the PDF… Outrageous!
President Bush’s 2001 tax cut bill (P.L. 107-16) instituted a structured phase-out of the estate tax, reducing it gradually until 2010, when the tax is completely repealed. There is, however, a sunset provision in the tax cut bill, which would cause the estate tax to be reinstated and reset at its 2001 levels on January 1, 2011. H.R. 8, which passed the House on April 13, 2005, would make repeal of the estate tax permanent by eliminating the sunset provision.1 According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, permanent repeal of the estate tax would cost the government $270 billion over the next 10 years.
The estate tax, the most progressive American tax, is paid only by the very wealthy. The top 5% of taxpayers pay almost 99% of estate taxes, and the top tenth of 1% of taxpayers pay more than 33%.3 The vast majority of Americans are already exempt from the estate tax. As a result, they will receive no benefit at all from making the repeal permanent.
Those with much to gain from the repeal include the President and his Cabinet. Based on estimates of the net worth of President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and each of the Cabinet members, the President, Vice President, and the Cabinet are estimated to receive a total tax benefit of between $91 million and $344 million if the estate tax repeal is made permanent. The President himself is estimated to save between $787,000 and $6.2 million, while Vice President Cheney is estimated to save between $12.6 million and $60.7 million.
Bill Frist’s office announced Friday that intend to push through the vote on the Estate Tax this week in the Senate.
Lawmakers and lobbyists working to permanently repeal the estate tax say the GOP doesn’t have enough votes to overcome potential objections.