Saturday, September 09, 2006

Olympia, Susan and their billionaires

On June 8, 2006, Senators Snowe and Collins voted in favor of complete, permanent repeal of the estate tax. (Just so there's no confusion, the estate tax is the legal name for what President Bush never fails to call the "death" tax.) Our senators think that even a billionaire’s estate should pay no tax. If you asked them, they would tell you that this will lead to a healthier economy. The Treasury will go without hundreds of millions of dollars every year, but Mainers will be better off. Programs funded by those dollars will either go without or the enormous budget deficit will yawn wider, the debt and interest payments spiraling commensurately higher. But Mainers will be better off. I wonder if they really believe that, or if somewhere inside themselves, they fear those billionaires and what they might do to their chances of reelection if displeased by their votes on this measure. Perhaps the Administration, ever on the lookout for the welfare of its billionaire backers, has Snowe and Collins convinced that the Iron Works and the Navy Yard will be shuttered if the senators oppose tax repeal. Then I guess, in that sense, we are indeed better off, or at least those workers and their families are. And they say that Snowe's seat is secure in the coming election, so I guess we can look forward to six more years of support for billionaires.


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