Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Estate Tax: Blanche Lincoln And Jon Kyl Attempt To Aid Billionaires Defeated


Because of his anti-choice mania and his Republican outlook on social issues in general, Nebraska douche bag Ben Nelson is invariably the worst Democrat in the Senate. But when it comes to bread and butter issues that effect the lives of ordinary working families, Nelson has some tough competition for last place: Arkansas corporate whore Blanche Lincoln. Lincoln teamed up with Republican Minority Whip Jon Kyl to tinker with the already far too generous estate tax.

First, let's remember how the estate tax works. If they estate is worth less than $3.5 million (or $7 million for a couple) there is no tax; period. That's already grotesquely unfair and if there are any changes at all, it should be to get rid of that, not to make the exemptions bigger, which is what the Republicans and Lincoln tried to do. On estates worth more than $3.5 or $7 million, the tax rate is 45% and Lincoln and Kyl were demanding it be lowered to 35%. So let's say some wealthy unmarried man dies and his estate is worth $10 million and right-wing loons still haven't figured out a way that allows him to take it with him. The first $3.5 million goes untaxed. In the end, his heirs get to keep $7,075,000 and the society that gave him the opportunity to amass so much wealth, gets $2,925,000.

Yesterday, in working out the differences between the House's version of the budget and the Senate's version, where Lincoln and Kyl got their tax break for multimillionaires inserted, it was agreed that the estate tax rules would not be changed. No doubt the Waltons will be disappointed by at least they know that their gal Blanche went to bat for them.

And great news for students who need college loans.
The fast-track rules also would apply to Obama's plan to eliminate lender subsidies on banks and other lenders presently participating in the federal student loan program. Direct lending by the government would replace the program, with the savings dedicated to boosting Pell Grants for lower-income college students.

While handing Obama a victory, there is still an extraordinary amount of work before Obama's vision of health care reform becomes a reality, including raising taxes and cutting spending to generate $1 trillion or more over the next decade to fund the health care initiative.

UPDATE: Bankruptcy Bill In Big Trouble

On Thursday, news may not be as good. The Senate votes on the House-passed bill that would allow bankruptcy judges to renegotiate mortgages for certain distressed homeowners. As Dick Durbin, the legislation's lead sponsor in the Senate said, even this watered-down version that some banksters are grudgingly agreeing to, may not pass. The Republicans oppose it and so do too many Democrats who would rather be on the side of the generous banksters than on the side of ordinary working families. Durbin says it's up in the air as to whether he has the votes to overcome the the Republican filibuster. He says it's "hard to imagine that today the mortgage bankers would have clout in this chamber but they do. They have a lot of friends still here. They're still big players on the American political scene and they have said to their friends, stay away from this legislation."
This amendment limits assistance in bankruptcy to situations where lenders are so intransigent that they are unwilling to cooperate with the foreclosure prevention efforts already underway-- Obama's homeowner assistance and stability plan and the Congressionally-created HOPE For Homeowners, which this bill will greatly improve."

If banks refuse to take part in either of those programs, which allow homeowners to renegotiate mortgages under certain conditions, then a bankruptcy judge would be able to reduce a homeowner's monthly payment.

Durbin sounds pretty pissed off; all Americans should be-- at the banksters and at the crooked political hacks on both sides of the aisle who take up their cause instead of the peoples' cause. "The groups that are leading the charge against me on this are familiar names on Capitol Hill. The Mortgage Bankers Association, the people who brought us this wonderful subprime mortgage crisis," said Durbin, adding, "the Financial Services Roundtable, the biggest names in financial services in this nation, the ones that have had their hands out for federal money, opposed this idea of helping people facing foreclosure. And the American Bankers Association. What a disappointment. What a disappointment that a great association like that, representing so many good banks, would not even sit down at the table to discuss this provision. It's a source of great disappointment to me because as a congressman and senator I work with them on so many issues." As I've explained before, the banksters have bribed Congress with over $2 billion dollars with direct payments since 1990. That's a lot of money and they are demanding they get their way. No senator, no matter which party he or-- in the case of Blanche Lincoln-- she belongs to, should be re-elected if they oppose this amendment on Thursday.

Yesterday evening almost the whole Senate agreed to shut off the filibuster and allow a straight up or down vote on a related matter, a "bill to improve enforcement of mortgage fraud, securities fraud, financial institution fraud, and other frauds related to federal assistance and relief programs, for the recovery of funds lost to these frauds." The cloture vote passed 84-4 (with 11 not voting). Only 4 of the worst obstructionists-- Coburn, DeMint, Inhofe and Kyl voting against it (their allies Bunning, Burr, Cornyn, Ensign, Vitter and Landrieu ducked the vote). And when the bill passed this morning, it was the same 4 shitheads who voted no-- against 92 yes votes!

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At 7:04 AM, Blogger Jack Jodell said...

Blanche Lincoln and Jon Kyl are typical of the insane Republican mindset today. They, like all the rest of their ilk, think that all taxes are bad and that the rich especially should pay no taxes. These same idiots love to point to the supposed evils of the poor relying on welfare, which they call an undeserved sense of entitlement. But it's apparently perfectly ok for the rich to use police and fire to protect their homes and businesses, the federally funded interstate highway system to transport their goods to make profit for them, and public schools to educate their workers and children, but they shouldn't have to pay for these services. Now THAT's an overblown sense of entitlement, if you ask me! The estate tax should not only be kept in place; it should be increasesd. Inheritance is unearned income, and since the rich have the lion's share of it, they should pay for it as they always have. I say, TAX THE RICH AND FEED THE POOR!

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Juan Liberale said...

Adam Smith thought that inheritances should be limited to an amount sufficient to support off spring and the remainder taxed.

Thomas Jefferson said the biggest danger to the fledgling democracy would be the birth of an aristocracy. Jefferson championed an inheritance tax of 100%.

Today we have an aristocracy and they should be killed. Not murdered, but taxed to death.

At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The top 5% of this country already pay 70% of the taxes. Just because they're not getting taxed as much as you want on inheritance, doesn't mean they're not getting taxed at all.

Why should the government be entitled to half of my estate when I die? What did it do to produce those millions of dollars? What did the "poor" do to deserve them?

Also, your assumption that the money is better off in the hands of the federal govt. is faulty. Govt. is an inefficient tool for correcting social wrongs. Just because some children who inherit lots of money would blow it doesn't mean that all will. Many put it to good use, providing jobs/income to others who desperately need them. Many give loads and loads of it to charity. What does the govt do with it? It could very well go to the war which I assume you oppose-Iraq.

Also, you're assuming that there's some limited pot of wealth out there, and that the rick are hording it all. That's not how wealth works. It's created. Any man in America can create money for himself through his own ingenuity, regardless of whether another rich person gets to keep his estate. Allowing the rich to keep their own money (and it is theirs) is not robbing the poor. If taking 45% of man's wealth isn't enough for the government to effectively "help" the needy, then what percentage would be?

At 6:17 AM, Anonymous Uncle Brice said...

Oh, my. I think you've nailed Lincoln as a Republican in Dem's clothing.


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