Republicans have a hard job ahead of them. Massive tax overhauls have passed both the House and the Senate. Both of these bills were rushed through, leading many to complain that they didn’t know what they were voting for. Now they have to be blended into one cohesive bill to present to the President.
The controversy surrounding the passage of these bills kept many journalists occupied in the last few weeks. Comments like those from Sen. Chuck Grassley, a member of the Finance Committee in the Senate. Grassley has fought to eliminate the estate tax, which many Republicans call the “death tax.”
“The federal estate tax may force family members to liquidate to pay the death tax,” Grassley said in a statement outlining his intentions for tax reform. “It’s harder than ever for families to pass down the family-run farm or business from one generation to the next. The death tax creates financial hardship for family businesses to survive and thrive.”
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
This is how Grassley sees the middle class, a mass of humanity boozing it up with their women and going to the movies.
Regardless, the estate tax looks to be a thing of the past. Currently, estates with values assessed at more than $5.5 million are taxed at 40%. Both the House and the Senate versions raise that amount to $11 million. The House version would eliminate the tax entirely in 2024.
Rep. Steve King, a Republican from Iowa was a bit more eloquent in his defense of eliminating the estate tax. The 40% rate “often falls hardest on family-owned farms and small businesses,” he said.
It also hits affluent families hard. The estate tax was implemented to fund government, obviously, but also to prevent the establishment of an American aristocracy built on inherited wealth.
Just where any of the measures passed in these two bill will end is still conjecture. The committee tasked with rectifying both will have some interesting work ahead of them. They’ll also have to decipher hand written comments on the Senate version, comments that Democrats claimed they couldn’t read.