ATR Urges All Members of Congress to Co-Sponsor Bill to Kill Death Tax
It's rare that a bill introduced in the House of Representatives attracts a majority of the chamber as co-sponsors. Yet we're on the verge of that happening with regard to H.R. 2429, the "Death Tax Repeal Act of 2013," sponsored by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.).
The bill currently has 217 co-sponsors, one short of a majority of the whole House. Every Member of Congress--especially those who want to be on the side of taxpayers--should become a co-sponsor of this bill.
The death tax's time, if it ever had one, is over. It collects less than one-half of one percent of all federal revenues. It's given rise to a death tax avoidance industry army of accountants, lawyers, estate planners, actuaries, and others who profit from its existence. It's a double- or even triple-tax on savings and investment. It's time to end the death tax immediately.
Furthermore, the House has not voted on death tax repeal since 2005. That's a full decade since the last time Members of Congress have had to go on record opposing or supporting the death tax. Getting a majority of the House behind repeal is a powerful argument that it's high time for that vote to take place again.
All Members of Congress should co-sponsor H.R. 2429 today. Kill the death tax.
More from Americans for Tax Reform
Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every
Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail
that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property.
Jefferson cited Adam Smith, the hero of free market capitalists everywhere, as
the source of his conviction that (as Smith wrote, and Jefferson closely echoed
in his own words), "A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly
absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the
preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of
property is quite unnatural." Smith said: "There is no point more
difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of
their goods after death.
The states left no doubt that in taking this step they were
giving expression to a basic and widely shared philosophical belief that
equality of citizenship was impossible in a nation where inequality of wealth
remained the rule. North Carolina's 1784 statute explained that by keeping
large estates together for succeeding generations, the old system had served
"only to raise the wealth and importance of particular families and
individuals, giving them an unequal and undue influence in a republic" and
promoting "contention and injustice." Abolishing aristocratic forms
of inheritance would by contrast "tend to promote that equality of
property which is of the spirit and principle of a genuine republic.
Others wanted to go much further; Thomas Paine, like Smith and
Jefferson, made much of the idea that landed property itself was an affront to
the natural right of each generation to the usufruct of the earth, and proposed
a "ground rent" — in fact an inheritance tax — on property at the
time it is conveyed at death, with the money so collected to be distributed to
all citizens at age 21, "as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or
her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property.
Even stalwart members of the latter-day Republican Party, the
representatives of business and inherited wealth, often emphatically embraced
these tenets of economic equality in a democracy. I've mentioned Herbert
Hoover's disdain for the "idle rich" and his strong support
for breaking up large fortunes. Theodore Roosevelt, who was the first president
to propose a steeply graduated tax on inheritances, was another: he declared
that the transmission of large wealth to young men "does not do them any
real service and is of great and genuine detriment to the community at large.