Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Top 7 Reasons Why Estate-Tax Reform Could Die

7. Postponing the $5-million exemption leaves repeal-minded Republicans little but reduced rates of tax to salve their wounds.

6. Everybody realizes that the tax code will be further tinkered with before the $5-million exemption ever takes effect, so what's the point?

5. Reports like today's Washington Post story that bogus tax shelters "saved billionaires a bundle" make it harder for fence-sitting Democratic Senators to vote for reducing the tax on affluent folks’ estates.

4. The bill the Senate will be asked to pass, probably Friday, is the work of "evildoers," according to a New York Times editorial:
Elected officials presume that voters will judge them by their voting records, not on the behind-the-scenes dealing that actually creates legislation. But lately in Congress things have become so unhinged and outrageous that attention must be paid.

At the center of recent evildoing was a conference committee in which House and Senate negotiators were supposed to create a final version of their differing pension reform bills. But by the time the House left for summer break last week, there was no final version, and the process was in a shambles.
3. Senator Frist has lost his marbles. Or as The Wall Street Journal puts it:"Mr. Frist has presidential ambitions and is courting conservative supporters."

2. Republican tactics have p.o.'d Max Baucus, senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee and an early proponent of estate-tax reform. "The process stinks. It's a bad idea. Not good at all," said Baucus.

1. Friday is the day Senators leave for summer vacation. Getting 60 Senators to show up may be tough. Getting the 60 votes needed to pass the gucked-up legislation? Lots of luck!

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