Epiphanyblog

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Unemployment extensions halted to get deal for lower estate taxes

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According to E.J. Dionne in Real Clear Politics, the unemployment benefits extension was halted because two senators wanted estate taxes for a few very wealthy individuals reduced.

let’s examine the Senate debate over whether to extend unemployment insurance coverage. The matter is rather urgent for jobless workers because 1.1 million of them are scheduled to lose their benefits this month, and 2.7 million are slated to lose them by April.

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., has put a hold on the extension bill, but one of the key reasons the measure is blocked is the effort of Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., to use it as a way of forcing a cut in the estate tax. Kyl is essentially leveraging the unemployed to get a deal on estate tax relief that would cost $138 billion over the next decade, according to estimates by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The estate tax has already been cut sharply, so the reduction Kyl is pushing along with Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., would affect the estates of fewer than three out of every 1,000 people who die, according to the Tax Policy Center.

The proposal helps estates worth more than $7 million in the case of couples. I guess struggling millionaires deserve the same empathy we feel for those without a job.

And notice this: Especially in the Senate, what passes for “bipartisanship” too often involves a Democrat such as Lincoln allying with a Republican on behalf of the wealthiest interests in the country. And we’re supposed to cheer this?

The U.S. is running the largest deficits in history, trillions in debt, can’t get reasonably priced health insurance, home prices underwater, nearly record foreclosures, and 9.5% unemployment…and these Senators think that getting another tax break for the extremely wealthy is a priority. Where is their sense of propriety?

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Written by Valerie Curl

March 1, 2010 at 9:10 AM

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