Greg Palast sheds light on the plight of our millionaires and billionaires:
Anthony Marshall, the tabloids tell us, wouldn't buy his elderly mother her prescribed medicine, locked her poodles in the pantry and refused to buy her hair dye or her favorite make-up. His mom is Brooke Astor, the ultra-rich socialite, now frail, helpless and dependent on her son.In times like these, either we're with our millionaires and billionaires or we're against them.
While others merely gossiped about this tragedy of dogs and cosmetics, George Bush acted. In a deft maneuver at the end of last week, Bush rammed through Congress a massive reduction in the inheritance tax. As a result of the tax change engineered by the White House, Marshall stands to save $9 million on the $45 million he expects to inherit from his mom.
George W. Bush could feel Anthony's pain. It's not easy being a child of incredibly wealthy parents. Indeed, as the President noted, "death and taxes" are supremely unfair to those who've earned these millions. As Mr. Bush often mentions, he himself worked long hours his whole life to be born into a rich family.
Our President recently told the Detroit Economic Club that, in an era of government belt tightening, "Spending discipline requires difficult choices." But this choice was easy as pie: the President chose to use our tax dollars to reduce the burden on the most deserving. And who could be more deserving than Barbara's kids? The President himself, who stands to inherit well over $76 million from his parents, will save at least $12.7 million. Talk about family values!
This year, the President's budget eliminated the $255 paid to widows of social security recipients. But who needs a measly $255 when you're going to save millions on the estate you inherit?
Here's how much your family will save, if your family is the Astors. Under current law, Anthony would have to pay the government 46% of his profits from his mother's death, after the first tax-free $2 million. Now, Anthony will get the first five million tax-free and the tax rate on the rest is cut in half.(more)
VIDEO: Rep. Charlie Rengel rails against the linking of the estate tax with minimum wage increases.