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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Congress Works to Keep Death Tax Alive

While there’s much political chatter about the need to create jobs, Congress is pushing along an effort to keep the job-killing, anti-investment, anti-small business death tax alive.

Go figure.

Reuters, for example, reported on December 1:

U.S. House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer said the chamber would vote this week to permanently extend the estate tax rates scheduled to expire at the end of 2009, but the road will be tougher in the Senate. The House will take up a bill introduced last week by Democrat Earl Pomeroy to extend the current policy of taxing estates over a $3.5 million threshold at a rate of 45 percent.

The death tax currently is scheduled to expire in 2010. However, it then comes back in 2011, with a top tax rate 55% (60% for some estates) and a $1 million exclusion.

The death tax, however, serves no economic purpose. In fact, it discourages investment and job creation; diverts resources away from productive undertakings and to tax planning/avoidance efforts; stands as a major threat to asset-intensive small businesses; and raises no net revenues for the government once all of the costs are factored into the equation.

If our elected officials were serious about wanting to see more jobs created, then permanently killing off the death tax would make sense.

Keeping the death tax alive is not about serious economic or fiscal policies. Instead, it’s just politics rooted in envy and populist pandering.

Raymond J. Keating
Chief Economist
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council

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