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Fattening the Rich at Our Expense

You're not getting a multimillion-dollar inheritance? Well tough luck, sucker, for Washington's relief package does nothing for you.
 
 
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In these tough economic times, when the wages of America's working families are not even keeping up with increases in the cost of living, I can't tell you how downright inspiring it is to see the White House and Congress taking bold action to provide relief.

Yes, thanks to our dedicated political leaders, the government will no longer deduct estate taxes from your multimillion-dollar inheritance, leaving you and all other rich heirs free to grab every dime left by your Daddy Bigbucks when he kicked the bucket. What? You don't have a Daddy Bigbucks? You're not getting a multimillion-dollar inheritance? Well tough luck, sucker, for Washington's relief package does nothing for you.

Fewer than one percent of people who died last year paid any estate tax at all. Indeed half of the revenue generated by this tax comes from estates valued at more than $10 million. This is why Washington's repeal of the tax has been dubbed the "Paris Hilton Benefit Act."

While the estate tax is paid only by the richest of the rich, those people have recently become fabulously wealthier, so the tax on their wealth produces lots of money for our public treasury. It's calculated that total repeal of the tax, as pushed by Bush and congressional leaders, will end up taking hundreds of billions of dollars out of our treasury.

Remember that Bush & Company are also wailing that Social Security faces a budget shortfall over the next 75 years. To deal with this shortage they want to raise grandma's retirement age and cut her monthly benefits, while also privatizing the Social Security system. Excuse me, but where is the morality in cutting back on granny's small retirement check while rushing to pad the huge inheritances of Paris Hilton and other elites who live on their parents' wealth?

The Powers That Be rely on your not seeing the connection between a Washington action that pampers the rich ... and another one that slaps the workaday majority. But there it is.

Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Let's Stop Beating Around the Bush, from Viking Press. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.