U.S. Rep. Linda Sanchez made some controversial comments in defense of the death tax during a Congressional subcommittee hearing on March 18 examining the burden it often places on family-owned businesses and farms.
Sanchez argued that because food stamp recipients sometimes have to pass drug tests or meet work requirements to receive the benefits, people who are “lucky enough” to inherit wealth should have to meet some sort of requirement too: Pay a tax.
“What work requirements are there to inherit up to $10 million tax free?” the Democrat rhetorically asked a witness.
“Why is that (a single mother) should be drug tested, which is an unrelated requirement to receive food assistance, to make sure that her family has enough to eat,” Sanchez continued. “And people who are lucky enough to inherit millions of dollars are literally required to do nothing to get the federal tax benefit with their inheritance?”
Sanchez went on to criticize Americans who accumulated masses of wealth just to retire early and pass it down to their children.
“We don’t believe in an aristocracy, or that it’s a good societal thing for dynasties to hoard their wealth and leave the rest to fight over the crumbs,” she said. “That’s just not how this country was founded.
“But we have a paradox here in this country, where we think you should work hard to get where you are … but by the same token, everyone wants to make enough money to where they can retire and not have to work.
“And they want to preserve increasingly larger and larger chunks of their wealth.”
What makes Sanchez’s remarks perhaps more interesting is that they came directly after a witness described the heartbreak she and her family felt watching her father struggle to preserve his business because of the death tax.
“Our whole lives we watched my dad work,” Illco, Inc. CFO Karen Madonia said. “You know, 10 to 12 hours a day … he did all of it. And we watched him struggle through all that, and to watch him figure out how he can pass it onto us and let us make our mark on it without having to dismantle part of it is really just heartbreaking.”
Still, Sanchez stuck to her guns.
“I understand the desire to keep things running in a family business,” she asserted. “I get that. I get the hardships you guys encounter. But let’s not throw the entire baby out with the bathwater and say we’re going to eliminate the estate tax altogether.”
The hearing, which was held by the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee, came in the wake of Republican Rep. Kevin Brady’s proposed legislation that aimed to repeal the death tax.
“The Death Tax is still the No. 1 reason family-owned farms and businesses in America aren’t passed down to the next generation,” Brady said in a statement regarding the bill. “It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people.”
The Daily Caller reports inheritance is currently taxed at a rate of up to 40 percent.
Source: Daily Caller
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