alternet logo

Tough Times

Demand honest news. Help support AlterNet and our mission to keep you informed during this crisis.

Fattening the Rich at Our Expense

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.


Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

Close