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

By Michael J. Graetz

ISBN-10: 0691127891

ISBN-13: 9780691127897

This fast moving ebook by means 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at the books always on account that 1916 and is paid via merely the wealthiest percentage of usa citizens, used to be repealed in 2001 with vast bipartisan help? The secret is the entire extra awesome as the repeal was once no longer performed at midnight, like a congressional pay bring up. It got here on the finish of a multiyear populist crusade introduced by way of a number of contributors, and was once heralded by means of its supporters as a sign fulfillment for americans who're dedicated to the paintings ethic and the yank Dream.

Graetz and Shapiro carried out wide-ranging interviews with the suitable avid gamers: individuals of congress, senators, staffers from the most important committees and the Bush White condo, civil servants, imagine tank and curiosity staff representatives, etc. the result's a distinct portrait of yankee politics as seen during the lens of the demise tax repeal saga. Graetz and Shapiro brilliantly remove darkness from the repeal campaign's many desirable and unforeseen turns--particularly the unusual outcome wherein the repeal is slated to self-destruct a decade after its passage. They exhibit that the stakes during this struggle are awfully 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 standard paintings of scholarship. but each web page is suffused through their intimate wisdom of the heritage of the tax code, the transformation of yankee conservatism during the last 3 many years, and the broader political implications of battles over tax policy.

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

Sample text

The George W. Bush administration considered her for several cabinet positions, including commerce secretary and secretary of labor, but avoided tapping her due to the expected difficulty of replacing her with someone as effective in Congress. Dunn cut her teeth on Ways and Means by fighting successfully to get the luxury car tax phased out. This battle provided good training for estate tax repeal. Cutting luxury taxes benefits the wealthy almost by definition, yet the pressure for action came from family-owned car dealerships—just the type of constituents who would become critical for death tax repeal.

But her immediate challenge was to give life to the idea of repeal in the House. Since mid-1993, Republican Congressman Christopher Cox of California had been introducing bills to repeal the estate tax. A fiscal conservative from Pat Soldano’s Orange County district, Cox managed to get 29 cosponsors for repeal in 1994 and 102 in 1996, yet he could not move the legislation. A Harvard Law School graduate who has been in the House since 1988, Cox is no lightweight. Yet the widespread perception among repeal advocates was that although his heart was in the right place, he was not good at coalition building.

Frank Blethen, Harold Apolinsky, and a few others had organized the event as a way to bring repeal advocates together and lobby members of Congress. The summit was held one block from the Capitol at the Capitol Hill Club, whose lobby is festooned with portraits of Republican leaders, including the first President Bush and Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House. While Blethen was able in 1999 to convince four Democratic members of the Washington State congressional delegation to make an appearance in this Republican haven, later summits would be even more inviting to the party associ- 40 CHAPTER 4 ated with defending the estate tax: the event moved the following year to the Democrat’s club and subsequently to neutral territory in various reception rooms in the Capitol itself or in House or Senate office buildings.

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


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