The New York Times rounds up deep Democratic unhappiness with the estate tax giveaway — a windfall of immense proportion for billionaires — embedded in the Obama-Republican tax deal. Outgoing Sen. Blanche Lincoln gets a nod and a deserved brush-off:
Ms. Lincoln, who had previously pressed for a lower estate tax, issued a statement this week praising the agreement, claiming it would aid farmers and small-business owners. “Uncertainty in the estate tax law has caused incredible difficulties for Arkansas’s farmers, ranchers and small businesses,” she said. “For the next two years, these individuals will be assured of a reasonable rate and exemption that will allow them to invest.”
Tax analysts say there are very few farmers or small-business owners who would benefit from an exemption above the 2009 level of $3.5 million. But as the senator from Arkansas, Ms. Lincoln counts among her constituents members of the Walton family, which founded Wal-Mart and became very wealthy.
The Times should also have mentioned timber millionaire John Ed Anthony’s long and aggressive campaign to end the estate tax. (And if you think the rich will stop at a 35 percent tax rate, keep dreaming.)