Class Warfare: 18 Families Financed Estate Tax Repeal Campaign

Public Citizen has released a report(warning pdf file) detailing how "18 families worth a total of $185.5 billion have financed and coordinated a 10-year effort to repeal the estate tax, a move that would collectively net them a windfall of $71.6 billion." 

I note that the Anne Cox Chambers daughter of the 1920 Democratic Presidential nominee, James Cox and  owner of the Atlanta Journal Constitution is part of this cabal along with the Waltons (WalMart), the owners of the Seattle Times, the Nordstroms (owners of the department store) , Ernest and Joseph Gallo (E & J Gallo Winery), the owners of Campbell Soup Co., The Mars family (candy) and Kock Industries to name a few of the miscreants.  George Bush's sister is married to an heir of the Koch family per PaulVA at DailyKos

I really can't add much to this, so I am just going to choose some select quotes from Public Citizen's press release:

The report profiles the families and their businesses, which include the families behind Wal-Mart, Gallo wine, Campbell's soup, and Mars Inc., maker of M&Ms. Collectively, the list includes the first- and third-largest privately held companies in the United States, the richest family in Alabama and the world's largest retailer...

In a massive public relations campaign, the families have also misled the country by giving the mistaken impression that the estate tax affects most Americans. In particular, they have used small businesses and family farms as poster children for repeal, saying that the estate tax destroys both of these groups. But just more than one-fourth of one percent of all estates will owe any estate taxes in 2006. And the American Farm Bureau, a member of the anti-estate tax coalition, was unable when asked by The New York Times to cite a single example of a family being forced to sell its farm because of estate tax liability.
"This report exposes one of the biggest con jobs in recent history," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen. "This long-running, secretive campaign funded by some of the country's wealthiest families has relied on deception to bamboozle the public not only about who must pay the estate tax, but about how repealing it will affect the country."...
While they extol the hard work of individual farmers and small businesses, most of the 18 families have been wealthy for generations; only five still include the people who first earned the family fortune. Members of the families are far less likely than most Americans to have paid taxes on their wealth; to a large extent, that wealth lies in assets that have appreciated but, unlike paychecks, have never been taxed. While they extol the hard work of individual farmers and small businesses, most of the 18 families have been wealthy for generations; only five still include the people who first earned the family fortune. Members of the families are far less likely than most Americans to have paid taxes on their wealth; to a large extent, that wealth lies in assets that have appreciated but, unlike paychecks, have never been taxed.
These super-rich families have spent millions in personal wealth and used their companies' resources and lobbying power in repeated attempts to influence members of Congress to repeal the tax. They have financed groups who have launched multimillion-dollar attack ads against Republican and Democratic senators alike, including former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Olympia Snow (R-Maine), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Lincoln Chaffee (R-R.I.) and Kent Conrad (D-N.D.).

Teddy Roosevelt is rolling over in his grave.

Tags: Blanche Lincoln, Class Warfare, Death Tax Repeal Permanency Act, Estate Tax, HR 8, Walmart (all tags)

Comments

2 Comments

State taxes

Ironically, many more families are liable to pay state estate taxes than federal estate taxes.  The estate of one of my aunts, for example, with a modest estate of IIRC about $200,000, was liable for a state estate tax about 10 years ago.  Such stories made everyday folk even in states with no state estate tax fearful of being hit.

Want a story of a family held business that had to sell to pay its estate tax?  IIRC, the Wrigleys kept their interest in the chewing gum company but did sell the Chicago Cubs to pay their estate tax.  That must have been 20 years ago.  And the family estate was worth well over $100 million at the time.

A far better case could be made for expanding the real estate sale limit (tax free profits of $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for couples now)or paring the reach of the alternate minimum tax if the GOPers wanted to help the well-to-do and some of the middle class rather than eliminating the estate tax.

This is the Walton family loophole not the Paris Hilton loophole (nearly half of the savings for these 18 families went to one: the Waltons).          

by David Kowalski 2006-04-25 07:32PM | 0 recs
Excellent report - now let's stop cloture!

This report is the best effort I've seen on one of the conveyor belt of reverse-Robin Hood bills we've seen head towards Bush's desk.

Lifting the curtain, names, dates, amounts - all that jazz.

Definitely on my reading list.

(I noted in skimming it that Flower of the Confederacy Blanche Lincoln, who

is viewed as an important swing vote in the estate tax repeal debate, ranks No. 3 among all members of Congress in contributions from members of the super-wealthy families and their companies PACs. She has received $111,600 since 1999, trailing only  Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas.) Of Lincoln's contributions from  the super-wealthy families and their companies' PACs, 72 percent came from Arkansas-based  Wal-Mart and the Walton family. Others came from the Koch family (13 percent), the Stephens family (12 percent) and the Cox family (2 percent.)

Mind you, magnolia doesn't come cheap...

I've no idea where were are either on a date for floor action on HR 8 or on the hard count on cloture.

But - where in Sam Hill is the constituency pressure on moderate Dems to make a gift to a handful of mega-rich?

How many billionaires in NE, Ben? How many in LA, Mary?

by skeptic06 2006-04-26 06:42AM | 0 recs

Diaries

Advertise Blogads