Big surprise, Bush lied.
The Congressional Budget Office has tried to find these poor folks and has basically come up empty handed.
The number of farms on which estate tax is owed when the owners die has fallen by 82 percent since 2000, to just 300 farms, as Congress has more than doubled the threshold at which the tax applies, the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released last week.And for those who haven't figured it out, here is why we should all care,
All but 27 farmers left enough liquid assets to pay taxes owed, the budget office found, although it hinted that the actual number might be zero. The study examined how much in cash, stocks and bonds these farmers left to pay estate taxes, but the report noted that no data existed on how much life insurance the farmers had put into trusts. Virtually all wealthy farmers own life insurance in trusts, say estate tax lawyers who specialize in working with farmers.
.... Neil E. Harl, an economics professor at Iowa State University whose expertise in estate tax planning for farmers has made him a household name in the grain belt, said many Americans had a false impression that the estate tax was destroying family farming.
He said the Congressional study "adds to the weight of the evidence that this is a myth that has been well spun."
"Farms, in particular," Mr. Harl said, "are not in jeopardy because of estate taxes."
The estate tax raised an estimated $23.4 billion last year. Repeal would shift part of the burden of taxes off the fortunes left by the richest 1 percent of Americans, some of whose fortunes were never taxed, onto the general population. The lost revenue could be made up in three ways: through higher income taxes; reduced government services; or more borrowing, which would pass the burden of current government spending to future generations.But this part is my favorite,
Michael J. Graetz, a professor at Yale Law School who was a tax policy official in the administration of President George Bush, said repeal was primarily a benefit to people with large estates held in stocks and other securities, not to farmers.The GOP are masters at screwing the middle class into the ground repeatedly while simultaneously convincing them that they are helping.
Professor Graetz is a co-author of "Death by a Thousand Cuts," a study of how estate tax repeal became a political issue. He said that rather than repeal the tax, Congress should raise the threshold to as much as $5 million, double that for married couples, and keep rates at or near current levels.
Because of details in the repeal bill, it would also force a large majority of farms and small businesses to pay larger tax bills in the future, said John Buckley, the chief tax lawyer for Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Buckley criticized farm and small-business groups as not explaining to their members that the repeal as written would cost them money while primarily benefiting those with vast fortunes.