Monday, June 05, 2006

Time to take action

NETWORK, the Catholic social justice lobby, writes:
This week the Senate is expected to vote on repeal or reform of the estate tax. NETWORK believes that this tax is beneficial to our society as a whole, and therefore we oppose changes to its current form. Tell your senators to vote NO on repeal of, or change to, the estate tax.

Call your senators Tuesday toll-free: 1-800-459-1887.

Tell them we believe tax and spending decisions are fundamental statements of what we value as a nation. Elimination of, or reductions to the estate tax will benefit a small percentage of wealthy people while damaging human services which are needed by many Americans.

Another source tells us, here:
It doesn't matter if you are liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican. There is no possible excuse for doing what Congress is poised to do this week: Abolish the estate tax.

The federal government faces a future of expanding deficits. Thanks to the baby bust and medical inflation, spending is projected to rise by nearly 3 percent of gross domestic product by 2030, a growth equivalent to the doubling of today's Medicare program. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Take a source of revenue and abolish it outright.
. . .
The nation faces rising inequality. Since 1980 the gap between the earnings of the top fifth and the bottom fifth has jumped by almost 50 percent. The United States is by some measures the most unequal society in the rich world and the most unequal that it's been since the 1920s. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Identify the most progressive federal tax and repeal it.
. . .
For most of the past century, the case for the estate tax was regarded as self-evident. People understood that government has to be paid for, and that it makes sense to raise part of the money from a tax on "fortunes swollen beyond all healthy limits," as Theodore Roosevelt put it. The United States is supposed to be a country that values individuals for their inherent worth, not for their inherited worth. The estate tax, like a cigarette tax or a carbon tax, is a tool for reducing a socially damaging phenomenon -- the emergence of a hereditary upper class -- as well as a way of raising money.