Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited by Michael J. Graetz

By Michael J. Graetz

This fast paced publication by way of Yale professors Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro unravels the subsequent secret: How is it that the property tax, which has been at the books constantly due to the fact 1916 and is paid by way of in simple terms the wealthiest percentage of american citizens, was once repealed in 2001 with extensive bipartisan aid? The secret is all of the extra awesome as the repeal used to be now not performed at midnight, like a congressional pay bring up. It got here on the finish of a multiyear populist crusade introduced by means of a number of contributors, and was once heralded through its supporters as a sign success for american citizens who're devoted to the paintings ethic and the yank Dream.

Graetz and Shapiro carried out wide-ranging interviews with the proper gamers: participants of congress, senators, staffers from the major committees and the Bush White condominium, civil servants, imagine tank and curiosity team representatives, and so on. the result's a different portrait of yankee politics as seen in the course of the lens of the dying tax repeal saga. Graetz and Shapiro brilliantly remove darkness from the repeal campaign's many desirable and unforeseen turns--particularly the abnormal outcome wherein the repeal is slated to self-destruct a decade after its passage. They express that the stakes during this struggle are tremendously excessive; the very survival of the lengthy status American consensus on innovative taxation is being threatened.

Graetz and Shapiro's wealthy narrative reads extra like a political drama than a traditional paintings of scholarship. but each web page is suffused by means of their intimate wisdom of the heritage of the tax code, the transformation of yank conservatism during the last 3 many years, and the broader political implications of battles over tax policy.

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Extra info for Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth

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Washington insiders convinced those who preferred pushing for repeal that this step was the only realistic alternative and that it would move in the right direction. Repeal proponents had little enthusiasm for the effort, but they went along. In 1993 and 1994, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, represented by Richard Belas, a former staffer for Senator Robert Dole, laid the groundwork. Northwestern lumber interests joined in, as did the NFIB, the American Farm Bureau, and other small-business trade associations.

In May of 1999, Dunn wrote an editorial for Insight magazine. In it she argued that the estate tax “has become less of a tax on wealth . . ” A subtle distinction, you might think, but with it she had found the sweet spot for estate tax repeal in American politics. ” She claimed that it is the working rich and, more importantly, the would-be working rich, who must live in fear of the tax. In short, the estate tax is at war with the American dream. She is clear that she regards the stakes as high.

Bill Frenzel remarks that the Democrats continue to behave as if the basic questions of distributive politics in America were settled 70 years ago, while the Republicans who took over in 1994 have been determined to put the questions back on the agenda and resolve them differently. ” Listening to Norquist makes you realize why some political observers 30 CHAPTER 3 now distinguish Republicans from Democrats by suggesting that Democrats want to be right, while Republicans want to win. It is not that Norquist doubts he is right.

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