Millions of Americans will be filing their taxes this week. House Republican leaders are planning to mark the occasion by scheduling a vote to give a lavish tax break to the wealthiest 0.2 percent by repealing the federal estate tax.
Estates worth up to $5.4 million for an individual ($10.9 million for a couple) are already completely exempt from the estate tax, so repealing the estate tax would only benefit the very largest estates—about 5,400 nationwide this year. They’ll get an average tax break of over $3 million. And the uber-rich—those with estates worth over $50 million—do even better, with tax breaks averaging than $20 million each.
Cost of this giveaway to the heirs of the richest 0.2 percent? $269 billion [PDF] over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.
Yet just last month, a majority of the House voted for a disastrous budget that would slash programs that help low- and moderate-income Americans make ends meet and get ahead and effectively raise taxes on 50 million Americans by ending improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit. These tax credit improvements are especially important to women and their families, who receive about two-thirds of the benefits. Under the House budget, a mom with two kids who earns $14,500 working full-time in a minimum wage job would lose her $1,750 Child Tax Credit entirely. Overall, ending these tax credit improvements would push 16 million people, including 8 million children, into or deeper into poverty.
How much would it cost to make permanent the improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit? $118 billion [PDF] over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. In short, a vote to repeal the estate is a vote to spend more than twice as much to give tax breaks to the richest 5,400 as it would cost to protect tax credits for 50 million low- and moderate-income Americans.
With 61 percent of Americans bothered a lot that the wealthy are not paying their fair share of taxes, another tax giveaway to the superrich is an outrage—especially on Tax Day.