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News and Notes

Senate Bailout for Paris Hilton? by Amy Isaacs

It is outrageous that now, of all times, some in the Senate are seeking to protect the inheritances of millionaires and billionaires.

Last week during the peak of the debate over President Obama's historic and transformational budget, Republican Senators with help from nine Democrats passed legislation to exempt estates of $5 million per spouse from the estate tax and reduced the rate on amounts over the exemption to 35% - at a cost to the Treasury of $100 billion over the next ten years.

You read that right.  At a time when millions are out of work, without health care, dependent on food stamps to keep from starving, and facing foreclosure, some in the Senate thought protecting the estates of the richest among us should be made a priority.  It's a bailout for Paris Hilton!

The advocates of this legislation would have us believe they are out to protect charities and small businesses, and to control the national debt.  Claims as laughable as they are hypocritical.  The provision to exempt more property as "small business" would lead to tricky tax maneuvers characterizing ordinary property as "small businesses," just the kind of tax shenanigans we need to clamp down on, not encourage.  Exempting large estates from taxation and lowering the tax rate on the amount over the exemption will have a far greater impact on charitable giving than the Obama proposal to limit itemized deductions for taxpayers with income over $250,000.  And, these are largely the same people who oppose President Obama's tax proposals to help working families, claiming concern for the budget deficit - I guess deficits are fine when the money is being used to groom poodles.

Sure, Senators, I'm convinced.  We all recognize the need to keep the inheritances of our nation's spoiled debutants protected, so let's drop the bogus concerns and just call it what it is: a reward for the lucky children of multi-millionaires.  You can get the facts behind the estate tax debate and read how more sensible heads fought back here.

Budget Update: Next Steps

Last week the House and Senate each passed a version of President Obama's proposed federal budget.  That doesn't mean the fight is over!  Republicans are using the recess period to drum up support  for stripping out health care reform.  It is crucial the final legislation includes the House language that would prevent Republican Senators from filibustering the health care provisions.  Email your lawmakers and tell them to get the job done.  Schedule a visit in your disctrict over the recess and tell them, in person, to pass the Obama budget.  See how your lawmakers voted here.

Wall Street Journal Launches Smear Against ADA

In a Friday opinion piece, the Wall Street Journal attacked ADA's Working Families Win project, calling us a "goon squad" for criticizing Republican Congressman Eric Cantor for voting to give billions in taxpayer dollars to big banks, where his wife is an executuve, but fighting against help for working families.  What do you think of the Wall Street Journal's piece?

ADA Vice President Testifies Before Senate

ADA Vice President James K. Galbraith, a University of Texas economist, testified at a Senate hearing on the "Lessons of the Great Depression."  Read about it here.

Real Unemployment at 15.6%

The real unemployment rate for March released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is 15.6%, over 7 points higher than the rate officially reported.  More here.

Chicago ADA to Hold Health Care Forum

Americans for Democratic Action supports single payer, comprehensive, high quality health care. A rally supporting major health care reform featuring Representative Jan Schakowsky is being held April 18th in Chicago.  Get more details here.

Letter to the Editor Contest

ADA members are a persuasive crowd.  Now, you can reach a national audience!  Each month we will feature a letter to the editor written by an ADA member that other members can submit to their local papers using ADA's online tools.  The topic must be of national importance, current and should follow all the guidelines mentioned on ADA's 'letter the the editor' webpage.  In addition to having your letter featured on our website, winners will receive a commemorative ADA Inauguration Day canvas bag.  Submit your entries to letters@adaction.org.

A World Without Nukes

Send President Obama a thank you for his inspiring speech calling for disarmament and an end to the nuclear threat.  Is there any doubt this is the change for which we voted?

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