H.R. 1105 - A Big Tax Break for Billionaires

For the first time in ten years, the U.S. House of Representatives this week will vote on a bill to kill the death tax once and for all. H.R. 1105, the “Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015″ is sponsored by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Tex.) and notably features the co-sponsorship of Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Earlier iterations of this bill have enjoyed the co-sponsorship of a majority of the chamber, so passage is not in doubt. Maybe that’s why 81 business and citizen grassroots organizations have signed a joint letter under the auspices of the Family Business Coalition urging Congress to kill the death tax.

With the fate of the bill a sure thing, let’s reflect on the top ten reasons the death tax deserves to die:

1. The death tax is not fair. At a basic level, Americans know that the death tax is not fair. It’s not fair that you earn income all your life and pay heavy taxes on it. It’s not fair that you save your hard-earned money and pay taxes on what you make. It’s not fair that you build a small business and face exorbitantly high tax rates. But all of these unfairness taxes pale in comparison to the death tax. The death tax is a tax you pay on savings you have already paid taxes on at least once, and potentially more than once. It results in the liquidation of first and second generation farms and businesses just to pay the tax. Why should a business have to pay taxes again just because an owner has died?

2. The death tax is not popular with the American people. In a 2009 Tax Foundation poll, the death tax was considered the “least fair” by the American people, even more unfair than the income tax. In poll after poll for decades now, the death tax has consistently been opposed by 60 to 70 percent of adults, registered voters, and likely voters. The results are in, and the intense opposition to the death tax is unquestionable.

A report revealed Wednesday that famed MSNBC host Harris-Perry and her husband owe nearly $70,000 in delinquent taxes. April 15th, or pay your tribute to the Federal Reserve Day, is now upon us – that is unless your one of the following Fortune 500 companies that aren’t paying any taxes.

According to a report in the Daily Mail entitled, “The Fortune 500 Companies That Didn’t Pay a PENNY in 2014 Income Tax Despite Being Worth Billions,” multiple companies including CBS, Mattel, Prudential Time Warner, Owens Cornin, Jet Blue, Xerox, Priceline.com and perennial Bombmaker General Electic, enjoy paying zero income tax while Americans are buried.

Some of these companies even received rebates. Thanks goodness we have Hillary Clinton going after the 1 %.

Ronald Reagan’s Grace Commission report found that one-third of all income taxes are consumed by waste and inefficiency in the federal government, and 100 percent of what is collected is absorbed solely by interest on the federal debt. In the context of the financial crisis, and the government’s ever expanding fiscal deficit, it is perhaps no surprise that the issue of taxation has become one of the most hotly debated topics in the United Kingdom’s upcoming election.

Nor is it surprising that the establishment has successfully avoided any discussion of what makes dealing with the deficit so imperative, namely, the taxpayer bailout of the banking system.

One person who recently ran afoul of this populist fervor is the ex-chairman of HSBC Stephen Green, who presided over the bank at a time when its private banking arm helped wealthy clients (including a number of celebrities) avoid taxes by squirreling their assets away in non-declared Swiss accounts.

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