"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance"

--James Madison--

"The real division is not between conservatives and revolutionaries, but between authoritarians and libertarians"

--George Orwell--

Only Six Months Left To Kill Your Rich Uncle...

Republicans hate taxes.

I mean, really, nobody likes paying taxes, but some people can deal with it a little better than others.

Some people can even keep themselves from getting too tightly wound about a tax that they'll never even have to pay.

But not Republicans.

Back in 2001, Dubya and his brand new Republican majority wasted no time in trashing the tax code and slashing taxes to the bone, to be phased in over 10 years.  Income tax rates were to decrease year over year.  New, lower rates were introduced for investment income.  Because, you know, it was so unfair that investment income was being taxed the same as if you'd earned the money by working. I mean, really, working people contribute so little to the economy that everything would go to hell in a handbasket if not for the dedicated efforts of trust fund babies.

Along those lines of thinking, the tax bill, known in the biz as EGTRRA (Economic Growth Tax Relief and Reconciliation Act) also included a phaseout of the Estate Tax.  The dreaded "Death Tax" that always gets the Teabag folks' panties in a knot, even if they're really in no danger at all of ever actually having to pay it.  But this is America, and pretty much all conservatives believe that they will, in fact, make it into the top 1%.  At least they would, if not for all that damn tax...

So, a tax that affected less than 3% of all estates was phased out until it affected less than 0.5% of them.  Can't have that greedy hand of government robbing the graves of people who are barely even millionaires.

Due to a different tax law passed in 1993, all tax cuts either have to be paid for with spending cuts, or they expire in 10 years.  Well, it was pretty much a no-brainer that the Republicans never had any plans to cut spending.  No room in the budget for spending cuts when you have wars to wage and stuff.

So, a semi-ingenious plan was hatched.  The Estate Tax would gradually phase out from 2001-2009, and be repealed altogether for 2010.  Then, because they knew they'd never cut spending, the Estate Tax was to come back in 2011 at the old rates, but with the exemption raised to $1 million from the original $650,000.

This left an interesting "donut hole".  No Estate Tax for anyone who dies in 2010!  The perfect time to off your rich uncle!

The House has already passed a tax bill that would extend most of the 2001 tax cuts, but would also reinstate the Estate Tax for 2010.  So, of course, that same bill is stuck in committee in the Senate.  Seems that some unnamed Republican Senator has put a hold on the bill.

This not only leaves the Estate Tax out of the picture for 2010 ($30-$50 billion in revenues that might come in handy right about now), but it also means that, if no tax bill at all is passed, then EGTRRA will expire in its entirety.  All tax rates (and many, many other tax provisions) would roll back to what they were in 1998 (TRRA 1998 was the last tax bill that was paid for by spending cuts).  No more favored rates for investment income.  Plus, the Estate Tax comes back.

In other words, Senate Republicans, in their quest to make the US safe for millionaires, will be directly responsible for the biggest tax increase in over 40 years unless something gets done in the next few months.

So this is what I propose--tell everybody you know that the Republicans are about to raise their taxes.  Let every conservative teabagger in the land know that, by their inaction, Senate Republicans are about to grind them into dust beneath the cruel boot heel of the first world's lowest taxes.  Plus, they're even bringing back the DEATH TAX!

Make sure to tell your rich uncle about this.  Then kill him before the end of the year.