Statement By 60 Plus Association President Jim Martin As Estate Tax Repeal Vote Is Postponed

Arlington, VA — I believe the Senate was wise to postpone a vote on repeal of the death tax.

But it’s a shame that the terrible Katrina tragedy is being used by the big-spending and big-taxing crowd as an excuse to avoid abolishing a tax harmful to small businesses — the so-called Death Tax — whose repeal would provide immediate and long-term relief to those impacted by this disaster.

Make no mistake, repeal of the death tax is not, I repeat, not a tax cut for the “wealthiest of the wealthy” as Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) describes it, or as her husband called it, a “windfall for the wealthy.” Both Clintons know their position is a con job of the first order. Both know the “wealthiest of the wealthy” don’t pay this confiscatory tax. Either that or they’re both stupid.

Instead, it’s small businesses — that provide over 80% of the jobs in America — and farmers that are hurt. The “wealthiest of the wealthy” set up trusts and foundations. Ever heard of the Hilton Foundation, Rockefeller, Gates, Heinz, Soros Foundations? I could go on but you get the picture.

Self-described “unrequited liberal” Edward McCaffery, a USC professor, calls the death tax a tax that liberals should oppose because of its negative impact, that it’s anti-business expansion and rebuilding businesses and starting new ones is what is seriously needed now in the aftermath of Katrina. To those who lose their jobs due to loss of a business, that’s a tax of 100% on the worker.

Since 1994 in the 103rd Congress, the 60 Plus Association and the National Tax Limitation Committee have delivered thousands of petitions urging Congress to kill the death tax.

It’s not a revenue raiser, it’s a revenue loser or at best, revenue neutral, due to collection and compliance costs. It’s anti-savings. To quote Milton Friedman, “because of the death tax, there’s little need to save, you might as well spend your money on wine, women and song as to save it.” Of course, he’s right. How terrible is it that the first in line when a loved one dies is Uncle Sam, not even a blood relative?

Since coming to the nation’s capital as a young reporter in 1962 when John F. Kennedy was in the White House, I’ve seen a lot of taxes come but not many go. Here’s a tax whose time to go has surely come. It’s been enacted, and repealed, three times. A fourth and final repeal is long overdue.