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  • Friday, July 29, 2005


    Profiting from Tax Cuts

    Sometimes the obvious reaches up and smacks me upside the head. Then I have to pay attention.

    Now it should be no surprise to you, dear reader, that the upper levels of the Bush Administration is full of millionaires. Lest you think me prejudiced, I do not think rich people are inherently evil. However the accumulation of great wealth in our society is rarely done in a manner without certain, shall we say, moral and ethical accommodations.

    Now, when you put rich people in charge of the government (I'm also including Congress here; there's a goodly percentage of millionaires seated there as well), they may choose the course of enlightened public servant. They may attempt to create policies and legislation to benefit a large portion of the population, particularly including those at the lower ends of the economic scale.

    Then there's naked and blatant self-interest. It should have been completely obvious to me that rich people would have an interest in cutting taxes for the rich. And it has been obvious. Yet how could I miss the personal profit to be made by cutting your own taxes? And this is where the following info comes in.

    Over on the slacktivist is some info and analysis of exactly how much Bush and his cabinet stand to make if a permanent estate tax repeal takes effect. Slacktivist got the info from a report by Henry Waxman (D-CA). How much can the President, Vice President, and 11 cabinet members save? Perhaps as much as $344 million dollars total. Admittedly, this is after the death of the person but these are family values: the surviving family reaps the rewards.

    For a current example, consider this fact sheet prepared by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., of the House Committee on Government Reform. It examines the personal benefits for the president and his cabinet if the estate tax is permanently repealed. Waxman notes that "it is impossible to know exactly how a person will structure his or her estate" or to know "exactly what assets a person will have at their death," so he provides a range of estimates. Here's a taste of what Waxman found:

    George W. Bush: $787,193 - $6.2 million

    Dick Cheney: $12.6 million - $60.7 million

    Donald Rumsfeld: $31.8 million - $101.3 million

    John Snow: $22.9 million - $69.8 million.

    Let's just take the low end estimates there.

    President Bush supports the abolition of the estate tax. This policy would cost the Treasury trillions of dollars over the coming years. It will cost the nonprofit sector billions of dollars a year, causing charities to shrink and cut back. President Bush offers no credible argument in support of this policy. If it becomes law, he will personally receive more than $787,000. [Wordlackey sez: As I said above, the surviving family will receive it, not Pres. Bush, but it's still a substantial influence on policy I think.]

    That's one hell of a bribe. $787,000 dollars. Yet we're supposed to believe that the prospect of reaping this huge sum of money has absolutely zero influence on George W. Bush's enthusiasm for this otherwise inexplicable piece of legislation.

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