OK, not me -- but even I would be more deserving than the people being singled out by the Bushites and Congress to receive a trillion dollars in new tax relief over a 10-year span. Who? The very richest people in America.
By "rich," I don't mean affluent or comfortable. I mean wallowing-in-wealth multibillionaires -- the richest one-quarter of one percent of American families. These are the heirs to the founders of such giants as Wal-Mart, Gallo wines, Campbell soup and M & amp; M candies.
In a new report, two watchdog groups have documented a decade-long, stealth campaign by 18 of these super-rich families to eliminate the federal estate tax. These 18 families -- averaging more than $10 billion each in personal wealth -- would net a windfall of $71.7 billion if this deal passes.
Since it's hard to generate much public enthusiasm for a "Save the Billionaires" campaign, the families have kept their selfish effort anonymous, by funding front groups to do their dirty work. They've also spent about $500 million on lobbying firms and some $27 million in campaign funds for key politicians, including George W.
The worst part of their effort is its fraud. With their money, these unimaginably rich heirs have convinced politicians and the media to portray the estate tax as a crushing burden on the middle class, small business and family farmers -- when, in fact, 99.75 percent of Americans pay zero in estate taxes. Indeed, when asked to find even one family forced to sell its farm because of this tax, the rich man's front group could not produce a single example.
To get the report and help fight for tax fairness, call Public Citizen at (202) 588-1000.
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