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Topics in the News: Death Tax


Joe Biden on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Feb 3, 2021)
Tax earnings over $400K, capital gains & estate tax

[Trump said on ABC] "if Joe Biden ever got in, I think you'd have a Depression the likes of which we have never seen in this country. If you look at his policies, where he wants to raise everybody's taxes."

FactCheck by Rocky Mengle in Kiplinger newsletter, Feb. 3, 2021: He wants to raise the highest personal income rate back up to 39.6% (it was lowered to 37% by the 2017 tax reform law), cap itemized deductions for wealthier Americans, limit "like-kind exchanges" by real estate investors, and phase-out the 20% deduction for qualified business income for upper-income taxpayers. He won't raise taxes for anyone making less than $400,000, though. As a candidate, Biden's tax policy proposals also included eliminating the step-up in basis for inherited capital assets, which means more taxes on wealth passed to heirs, and ending favorable tax rates on capital gains for anyone making over $1 million. Also look for the federal estate tax exemption to be increased back to pre-tax reform levels.

Click for Joe Biden on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week: FactCheck on 2020 Town Hall interview

Mike Pence on Death Tax: (Corporations Sep 22, 2020)
Reduce state corporate tax rate from 8.5% to 3%

[On individual & corporate taxes]: "Republican Mike Pence is looking at ways to cut Indiana income tax rates across the board if he is elected governor next year. The congressman told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he wants the state's individual and corporate tax rates reduced to 3 percent. The state's individual tax rate is now 3.4 percent and the corporate rate is 8.5 percent. He also said he would like to repeal Indiana's estate tax." [Associated Press State & Local Wire, 8/3/11]

"Congress should adopt the Armey-Shelby Flat Tax Proposal (H.R. 1040/S.1040) sponsored by House Majority Leader Richard Armey (R-TX) and Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL). Under the Armey-Shelby proposal, two simple postcard size forms would replace the current tax code's 703 forms." [Mike Pence For Congress via Wayback Machine, 2000]

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: Trump Research Book on Mike Pence

Mike Pence on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Sep 22, 2020)
Something terribly wrong with taxing dead people

According to a Mike Pence press release, "I believe death taxes are immoral. I believe it is morally wrong to make death a taxable event. I believe it is also morally wrong to say to small business owners and family farmers, and any American whatever their means, that after a lifetime of obeying the law and a lifetime of paying your share honestly and legally to the Federal Treasury, that we will make your death a taxable event." [Congressional Press Releases, 6/22/06]

"The death tax, was enacted in 1916 primarily to raise revenues for World War I, but also because Congress thought it should prevent the transmission of wealth inequalities through inheritance. Last I checked, however, World War I is long over and there is something terribly wrong with taxing dead people. In fact, it is downright harmful to a capitalist economy like ours." [Press Release--Office of Rep. Pence, 4/13/05]

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: Trump Research Book on Mike Pence

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Corporations Feb 29, 2020)
No more estate tax on small farms, small business

And, by the way, speaking of farmers, something they don't know but they're learning fast: No more estate tax on your small farm, small businesses, small other things. No more estate tax. People don't talk about it. It's a big thing--big provision. Big provision. If you love your children, it's great. If you don't love your children, it's irrelevant. Don't leave the money to them. No more estate tax or, as we call it, "death tax."
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Remarks by President Trump at the 2020 CPAC Conference

Deval Patrick on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Feb 6, 2020)
Raise the estate tax to 55%

Q: Some believe that rising taxes again is a good idea, but with $22 trillion in debt, with the record amounts of revenue coming into Washington, isn't the real problem just uncontrolled spending?

PATRICK: There is no "the problem." There is a problem of purpose and direction and efficiency, in my view. For example, I think we should radically simplify our corporate and our individual income tax system. And while I do not support a wealth tax, I do support raising the estate tax. I think it ought to go back up to 55 percent, which is where it was. We know it works. I think about that as nonrecurring revenue. And I would use those revenues in part to pay down national debt. The other things we have to do, though, are invest in the things that enable us to grow, because that's the other solution to our national debt. And so education, innovation, infrastructure, a formula that we used to terrific effect in Massachusetts, is something we need to scale.

Click for Deval Patrick on other issues.   Source: CNN N. H. Town Hall on eve of 2020 N. H. primary

Cory Booker on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Nov 20, 2019)
No wealth tax, but raise estate tax

BOOKER: I think we all agree that we need to bring in a lot more revenue in this country. We have a real problem with the tax rates, tax loopholes, tax cheats. I don't agree with the wealth tax, the way that Elizabeth Warren puts it, but I agree that we need to raise the estate tax. We need to tax capital gains as ordinary income. We as Democrats need to fight for a just taxation system. We Democrats also have to talk about how to grow wealth.

WARREN: With that two-cent wealth tax on the top one-tenth of 1% in this country: we can provide universal childcare. We can raise the wages of every pre-schoolteacher. We can make college tuition-free for every kid.

BOOKER: If I am president, we're going to have a fair, just taxation where millionaires pay their fair share, but we're going to have pathways to prosperity for more Americans. We're going to see a change in what we see right now. Small businesses, new startups are going down. We need to give new entrepreneurs access to wealth.

Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: November Democratic primary debate in Atlanta

Cory Booker on Death Tax: (Families & Children Nov 19, 2019)
New estate tax to fund "baby bond" program

He wants the revenue from a new estate tax and from plugging the step-up loophole for inherited capital to go toward funding a "baby bond" program. This initiative would establish a savings account--accessible at age 18--for every newborn. The federal government would deposit $1,000 into these accounts at birth and add up to $2,000 a year after that, depending on family income. Kids from the poorest families would have a nest egg close to $50,000 by the time they hit adulthood.
Click for Cory Booker on other issues.   Source: The Nation magazine on 2019 Democratic primary

Kamala Harris on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Nov 19, 2019)
Higher tax on wealthy to fund Medicare-for-All & teacher pay

The Harris version of Medicare for All would rest on much the same tax-the-rich moves the Sanders plan suggests. But she would limit her plan's premium fee to households making over $100,000 a year. To fund a $315 billion plan to raise teacher salaries, she calls for strengthening the estate tax and cracking down on loopholes that let our wealthy avoid taxes on "estates worth multiple millions or billions."
Click for Kamala Harris on other issues.   Source: The Nation magazine on 2019 Democratic primary

Tom Steyer on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Nov 19, 2019)
Supports higher estate tax, annual wealth tax

Steyer supports a higher estate tax and a 1 percent annual wealth tax on the nation's richest 0.1 percent, essentially those worth over $20 million. As part of his People Over Profits Economic Agenda, he's pushing for a $15 national minimum hourly wage, a repeal of the Trump tax cuts, and two years of free public college.
Click for Tom Steyer on other issues.   Source: The Nation magazine on 2019 Democratic primary

Elizabeth Warren on Death Tax: (Welfare & Poverty Nov 19, 2019)
Raise wealth tax rate for healthcare & affordable housing

Warren upped the wealth tax ante, raising her proposal's top rate to 6% as part of her blueprint to fund Medicare for All. To finance expanded affordable housing programs, she would lower the threshold that triggers the federal estate tax from $22.8 million to $7.0 million and raise the estate tax rate to as much as 75% on bequest values over $1 billion.
Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: The Nation magazine on 2019 Democratic primary

Joe Walsh on Death Tax: (Corporations Sep 24, 2019)
Cut the capital gains tax and the corporate tax rate

Click for Joe Walsh on other issues.   Source: Business Insider background for 2019 GOP presidential debate

Tom Steyer on Death Tax: (Corporations Aug 12, 2019)
Calculate CA corporate income tax based on in-state sales

Billionaire Tom Steyer is the latest Democratic candidate to throw his hat into the ring. So far, he hasn't proposed any specific new tax law changes since joining the race. However, last year he did call for a 1% "wealth tax" on assets greater than $20 million and an unspecified estate tax increase.That should give voters some idea where Steyer stands on tax issues.
Click for Tom Steyer on other issues.   Source: Rocky Mengle, finance.yahoo.com, on 2019 Democratic primary

Pete Buttigieg on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Aug 12, 2019)
Financial transactions tax, wealth tax, and estate tax

Mayor Pete Buttigieg has criticized the 2017 tax reform bill signed by President Trump, saying it just provided tax cuts for the wealthy--again, nothing new when it comes to the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. However, the mayor has hinted at a few tax increases that he would consider as president, including: He has also called for a "more equitable use of the estate tax," which could possibly mean lowering the exemption amount back down to pre-2010 levels.
Click for Pete Buttigieg on other issues.   Source: Rocky Mengle, finance.yahoo.com, on 2019 Democratic primary

Joe Sestak on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Jul 17, 2019)
Boost estate taxes to 45% on wealthiest 400 families

Joe Sestak on Wealth Taxes: Boost taxes on wealthy Americans.

EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Peter Buttigieg; John Delaney; Seth Moulton; Beto O`Rourke; Bernard Sanders; Tom Steyer; Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson.

Tom Steyer has proposed a 1 percent tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans. Former Rep. Joe Sestak advocates raising the estate tax rate to 45 percent and lowering the exemption to $3.5 million for the 400 wealthiest families in the country.

Click for Joe Sestak on other issues.   Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues"

Tom Steyer on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Jul 17, 2019)
Boost taxes 1% on wealthiest 0.1% of Americans

Tom Steyer on Wealth Taxes: Boost taxes on wealthy Americans.

EIGHT CANDIDATES HAVE SIMILAR VIEWS: Peter Buttigieg; John Delaney; Seth Moulton; Beto O`Rourke; Bernard Sanders; Joseph Sestak; Elizabeth Warren; Marianne Williamson.

Tom Steyer has proposed a 1 percent tax on the wealthiest 0.1 percent of Americans. Former Rep. Joe Sestak advocates raising the estate tax rate to 45 percent and lowering the exemption to $3.5 million for the 400 wealthiest families in the country.

Click for Tom Steyer on other issues.   Source: Politico "2020Dems on the Issues"

Howie Hawkins on Death Tax: (Tax Reform May 19, 2019)
Graduated wealth tax & graduated estate tax

A VOTE FOR THE GREEN TICKET IS A VOTE FOR: PROGRESSIVE TAXATIONDEMOCRACY
Click for Howie Hawkins on other issues.   Source: 2020 Presidential Campaign website HowieHawkins.us

Pete Buttigieg on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Apr 15, 2019)
The wealthy should pay their fair share in taxes

During an interview with CNBC's John Harwood, Buttigieg said "the reality is there are some people who are not paying their fair share. Some people frankly are getting a bit of a free ride on the productive energy of this country and this economy." He said he would consider˙raising the marginal tax rate for high-earners. Additionally, he said a wealth tax makes sense, as does potentially expanding the estate tax for the biggest and wealthiest estates.
Click for Pete Buttigieg on other issues.   Source: Fox Business News on 2020 Democratic primary

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Apr 12, 2019)
Top rate of 77% for estates over $1 billion

Sanders has long said he supports raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. He recently proposed hiking estate taxes for millionaires and billionaires, including a top rate of 77% for estates over $1 billion.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020"

Bill Weld on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Feb 15, 2019)
Cut capital gains tax; look at flat tax on income

Federal taxes need serious adjustment downward. I favor repealing the federal death tax, for example, and cutting the capital gains tax rate to 10%. These taxes are not major revenue raisers, and they both have the perverse effect of penalizing people for a lifetime of hard work. Eliminating them will increase our aggregate national wealth, which should always be a key priority of the United States government.

But we also need to restructure our entire tax system. We don't need to choose between Robin Hood-style confiscatory taxation and deficit-creating tax cuts for the super-rich. We should instead take a good long look at some other models, such as a 19% flat tax on income, and the famous "post card" tax return. I have read extensively on the subject, and I believe the savings from the dramatic simplification of the Internal Revenue Code and the whole process of taxation would be enormous.

Click for Bill Weld on other issues.   Source: Speech in New Hampshire by 2020 presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Feb 1, 2019)
Raise income tax & fix estate tax: hardly Marxist ideas

Sanders' views correspond to only a small portion of the socialist program advocated by Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto and are a far cry from Marx's vision of a stateless communist society he posits would follow. Sanders would raise income taxes and lower the exemption on estate taxes from $5.4M to $3.5M, but he calls for something far less radical than the "abolition of all rights of inheritance".
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: The Economist "Socialist?" on 2020 Democratic primary

Deb Haaland on Death Tax: (Corporations Oct 9, 2018)
A society where all get an equal shot starts with tax reform

I believe in a fair society, where hardworking New Mexicans all have an equal shot to reach their full potential, and where corporations, millionaires, and billionaires all pay their fair share in taxes. We need a financial transaction tax along with a complete repeal and replacement of the GOP tax scam, and the reinstatement of a estate tax. We need to return taxes for the wealthy and corporations to post-WWII levels and also ensure that we tax wealth generation, not just wage-labor income.
Click for Deb Haaland on other issues.   Source: 2018 NM-1st House campaign website DebForCongress.com

Elizabeth Warren on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Sep 25, 2018)
Making housing affordable by raising estate tax

Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced a bill tackling the issue head on, trying to lower the cost of homes in neighborhoods with greater economic opportunity. The legislation, titled the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, is perhaps the most far-reaching assault on housing segregation since the 1968 Fair Housing Act. It's ambitious, pouring half a trillion dollars over 10 years into affordable-housing programs, and funded by raising the estate tax to Bush-era levels.
Click for Elizabeth Warren on other issues.   Source: The Atlantic, "Housing Crisis," on 2020 Democratic primary

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Corporations Aug 29, 2017)
45% estate tax only for estates over $3.5 million

Strengthening the estate tax is one of the fairest ways to reduce wealth inequality, while at the same time raising significant new revenues that the country needs to rebuild the middle class.

I propose restoring the minimum size of an estate subject to the tax from $5 million to $3.5 million, where it was in 2009. This would only impact the estates of the wealthiest 0.3 percent of Americans who inherit more than $3.5 million. And we should make it graduated to target the biggest estates:

There are all sorts of loopholes that help the wealthiest families avoid paying estate and gift taxes. We must close each and every one of them.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: Guide to Political Revolution, by Bernie Sanders, p. 42-3

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Corporations Feb 7, 2017)
Only the top 2/10 of 1% pay the estate tax

SANDERS: Quoting the "Wall Street Journal", October 29th, 2015: "Ted Cruz's new tax plan delivers its biggest benefits to the top 1 percent of U.S. households, adding about one-third to their after-tax income." Here is the economic reality facing America. In the last 35 years, there has been a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class and the working class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent. We are talking about trillions of dollars. Ted's response to that is he's going to support the repeal of the estate tax, correct? You're on record in doing that.

CRUZ: Among many things.

SANDERS: Among many other breaks to billionaires.

CRUZ: I don't want to bankrupt small business owners.

SANDERS: The only people who pay the estate tax are the top two- tenths of 1 percent. It would cost us over $200 billion. And as Ted said, it goes on and on and on.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: CNN 2017 Town Hall debates: Ted Cruz vs. Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Principles & Values Feb 29, 2016)
Agrees with Hillary on marijuana, campaign finance, trade

Hillary and Trump do agree on some, including:The bottom line: If you prefer a polar opposite to Hillary, Trump should not be your chosen candidate. And if you prefer someone who will dismantle forever the Bush legacy, Hillary should not be your chosen candidate. Neither is the extremist their opponents make them out to be.
Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Donald Trump vs. Hillary Clinton On The Issues, by J. Gordon

Hillary Clinton on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Dec 19, 2015)
Millionaires should pay 30% tax rate instead of 0%-10%

I want to make sure the wealthy pay their fair share, which they have not been doing. I want the Buffett Rule to be in effect, where millionaires have to pay 30 percent tax rates instead of 10 percent to nothing in some cases. I want to make sure we rein in the excessive use of political power to feather the nest and support the super wealthy. I also want to create jobs and I want to be a partner with the private sector. I'm particularly keen on creating jobs in small business.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2015 ABC/WMUR Democratic primary debate in N.H.

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Nov 14, 2015)
Wealthiest will pay more but not as much as under Eisenhower

Q: Let's get specific. How high would you go on tax rates? You have said before you would go above 50%.

SANDERS: We haven't come up with an exact number yet, but it will not be as high as the number under Dwight D. Eisenhower, which was 90%. I'm not that much of a socialist compared to Eisenhower. But we are going to end the absurdity, as Warren Buffet often reminds us, that billionaires pay an effective tax rate lower than nurses or truck drivers. That makes no sense at all. There has to be real tax reform, and the wealthiest and large corporations will pay when I'm president.

Gov. O'MALLEY: May I point out that under Ronald Reagan's first term, the highest marginal rate was 70%. And in talking to a lot of our neighbors who are in that super wealthy, millionaire and billionaire category, a great numbers of them love their country enough to do more again in order to create more opportunity for America's middle class.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa

John Kasich on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 28, 2015)
No taxes on small business; kill the death tax

In our state, we went from a loss of 350,000 jobs to now a gain of 347,000 jobs to the positive. Our wages are growing faster than the national average, and I've cut taxes more than any sitting governor in this state, 5 billion dollars, including no taxes on small business and killing the death tax.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 18, 2015)
Tax increases may affect more than top 1%

Q: How do you pay for your proposed programs like tuition-free public college?

SANDERS: We have to tax Wall Street speculation. When you see the rich's effective tax rates is lower than the effective tax rates of truck drivers, then the wealthy have got to pay more. We'll end the loophole that allows large corporations to stash their money in the Cayman Islands and avoid paying federal income taxes. We'll raise the estate tax so that billionaires end up paying more in taxes.

Q: Previously, you said that 90% marginal rate is not too high. So how high are you willing to go on that top marginal rate?

SANDERS: We'll come up with that rate but it will be a lot higher than it is right now.

Q: But to pay for all of your programs,

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 18, 2015)
Repeal estate tax; it's double taxation

Q: You would eliminate carried interest, preferential tax treatment for hedge funders. What's the thinking?

TRUMP: Well, the thinking is we have the highest tax rate in the world. We have $2.5 trillion overseas that isn't coming back into this country. So what I'm doing is large tax cuts, especially for the middle class.˙We're going to have a dynamic economy.

Q: But there are two concerns. The Conservative Tax Foundation, says that over 10 years, you would add $10 trillion to the deficit. And there's also the question of who would benefit under your tax plan. The Foundation says the middle class would see after tax income increase 7.2%. The top 1% would see a spike of 21.6%. So between that and ending the estate tax, the Trump family and folks like you would make out great.

TRUMP: The estate tax has been a disaster; it's double taxation.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 4, 2015)
Estate tax is unfair double taxation

Q: Under your tax plan, your family would make potentially hundreds of millions of dollars by eliminating the estate tax.

TRUMP: The estate tax is a horrible weapon that has destroyed many families. In particular, farms and things where they make an income and they have a certain value and they have to go out and borrow money and they put mortgages on their farm. Let's say it's a business that's not very liquid, and people have to go out and borrow against the business, you are having travesty. And the other thing is, it's a double taxation. The tax has already been paid. I mean you've been hearing this argument for many years.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: ABC This Week 2015 interview by Martha Raddatz

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Corporations Sep 5, 2015)
Fix estate tax so mega-rich pay their fair share

Currently the super-rich and the largest corporations in America don't pay their fair share of taxes, which means there's not enough funding for programs that will alleviate systemic inequalities. The tax code needs to be reformed to enable us to break out of this vicious cycle and enable more people to have economic opportunities and build a more equitable economy. Bernie says, "If you have seen a massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the top 1/10 of 1%, you know what, we've got to transfer that back if we're going to have a vibrant middle class. And you do that in a lot of ways. Certainly one way is tax policy."
    How would that tax policy work? Bernie has many ideas, but here are some major planks of his plan for more equitable taxation:
  1. Progressive income taxes on the richest Americans.
  2. Fixing the estate tax so mega-rich families pay their fair share.
  3. Taxing corporations more fairly, including addressing tax havens.
  4. Taxing Wall Street speculation.
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Sep 5, 2015)
Lower cutoff for estate tax from $5.4M to $3.5M

Q: What does Bernie think is wrong with the estate tax?

A: While for many years this tax unfairly affected middle-class farms, it has been significantly changed to only affect large estates, worth over several millions of dollars. The rate has been lowered and the cap raised to such an extent that it has amounted to a huge tax break for the super-rich.

Q: So what is Bernie's answer to reforming the estate tax?

A: Bernie has proposed lowering the bar on estate taxes so that individuals who own estates worth more than $3.5 million and couples who own estates worth more than $7 million will be taxed (at the moment the bar is set at $5.4 million and $11 million). This bill also increases the amount of tax on these estates, and closes loopholes used to avoid paying these taxes.

Q: Shouldn't people be able to pass on money to their children?

A: They should--but even with Bernie's proposed new estate tax, 99.75% of Americans would not pay any more in estate taxes than they do today.

Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: 2016 grassroots campaign website FeelTheBern.org, "Issues"

Joe Sestak on Death Tax: (Corporations Jun 25, 2015)
Favors increasing corporate tax rate & restoring estate tax

He favors tax incentives for investors in start-ups and driving down regulator costs. On healthcare, Sestak wants affordable and comprehensive insurance and coverage for pre-existing conditions. He calls for restoring the Affordable Care Act. He said he'd pay for the proposals with tax reform, which would increase the corporate tax rate, restore an estate tax on the wealthiest families, and increasing taxes on Wall Street hedge fund managers and those who make more than $250,000.
Click for Joe Sestak on other issues.   Source: United Press International on 2020 presidential hopefuls

Bernie Sanders on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Jun 25, 2015)
Increase estate tax rates on inheritances over $3.5M

Sanders introduced legislation to increase estate tax rates on the top 3/10 of 1% of Americans. "The fairest way to reduce wealth inequality is to enact a progressive estate tax on multi-millionaires," Sanders said. Only the very wealthiest millionaires would be effected by the Sanders plan; 99.75% of Americans would not pay a penny more in estate taxes. Sanders' bill does the following:
Click for Bernie Sanders on other issues.   Source: The Essential Bernie Sanders, by Jonathan Tasini, p. 41-3

John Kasich on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Mar 7, 2015)
Eliminated the Ohio estate tax but hiked cigarette taxes

Kasich remains the deeply conservative politician he has always been: the government-slashing deficit obsessive who drove Democrats bonkers as chairman of the House Budget Committee in the 1990s. As Ohio's chief executive, Kasich has eliminated the estate tax, cut income-tax rates, tightened food-stamp requirements, cut school funding, and championed business deregulation.

In so many ways, then, Kasich is the stuff of conservative dreams. But the governor is also prone to jabbing his finger in the eye of his base with moves like raising infrastructure spending, increasing tax breaks for low-income residents, championing a fracking tax on oil and gas producers, pushing to hike cigarette taxes, making education funding more redistributive, or commuting death sentences. And of course there's the granddaddy of betrayals: Medicaid expansion, which Kasich rammed through over opposition from Ohio's Republican-controlled Legislature.

Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: National Journal 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls

Mike Pence on Death Tax: (Corporations Jun 24, 2014)
Reduce corporate tax rate to one of the lowest in country

We have provided more than $600 million in annual tax relief. To help our families, we eliminated the death tax and lowered individual income taxes by 5 percent. To help our businesses, we reduced the corporate tax rate and the financial institutions tax rate, which will result in one of the lowest corporate tax rates in the country. And to help our cities and towns, we gave local communities more options to lower business personal property taxes.

With these improvements, Indiana will become the lowest tax state in the Midwest. Because of our efforts, both during my administration and that of my predecessor, Indiana's tax system now ranks as the tenth best in the nation , according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation . We have taken many good steps together. Now we must make a giant leap -- to simplify and streamline Indiana's tax code so that it becomes the best in the country.

Click for Mike Pence on other issues.   Source: Speech at Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference

Barack Obama on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Jan 24, 2012)
Buffett rule: millionaires pay minimum of 30% in taxes

When it comes to the deficit, we've already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we're poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans? Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else? Because if we're serious about paying down our debt, we can't do both.

Tax reform should follow the Buffett rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30% in taxes, and you shouldn't get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98% of American families, your taxes shouldn't go up.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2012 State of the Union speech

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Free Trade Dec 5, 2011)
20% tax on all imported goods

If we want jobs in America, we need to enact my 5-part tax policy: kill the death tax; lower the tax rates on capital gains & dividends; eliminate corporate taxes in order to create more American jobs; mandate a 15% tax for outsourcing jobs and a 20% tax for importing goods, and enact the 1-5-10-15 income tax plan [four brackets with a top rate of 15%].

Government needs to stop pick-pocketing your wallet. Every time it does, it slows growth and kills jobs. It's also immoral.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 65

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Dec 5, 2011)
4 brackets; 1-5-10-15%; kill death tax & corporate tax

My 5-part tax plan involves reforming the income tax. The government confiscates way too much of your paycheck. The tax code is also a very complicated system that forces Americans to waste 6.1 billion hours a year trying to figure it out.

What does that tell you? It tells me that it's time we restore simplicity & sanity to the income tax. Here's my income tax plan:

It's clear and fair. Best of all, it can be filled out on the back of a postcard and will save Americans big bucks on accountants and massive amounts of time wasted attempting to decipher the tax code.

Our country is hungry for real tax reform. That's why we should implement the 1-5-10-15 income tax plan. And we need to enact [the rest of] my 5-part tax policy: kill the death tax; lower the tax on capital gains & dividends; eliminate corporate taxes; and a 20% import tax.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Time to Get Tough, by Donald Trump, p. 64-65

Barack Obama on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Sep 8, 2011)
We need a tax code where everybody pays their fair share

I'm well aware that there are many Republicans who don't believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows. While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary--an outrage he has asked us to fix. We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake, and everybody pays their fair share.

I'll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. Our tax code shouldn't give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs here in America.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: Pres. Obama's 2011 Jobs Speech

Donald Trump on Death Tax: (Welfare & Poverty Sep 8, 2008)
I give a lot of money away to charity

Once you have reached the top, what do you do? Once you have reached the top, it is time to give back. Give to charity, give to your children, give your knowledge to others, and give to your culture. I made a lot of money, and I give a lot of money away to charity.

Warren Buffet is a great example: billionaire investor Warren Buffet is distributing more than $30 billion of his stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which focuses on global health issues.

It is also important to give your knowledge and insight freely to anyone who asks. I believe people absorb more efficiently and faster when they learn by doing, and I am intent on giving people the knowledge they need to succeed. I give two-hour speeches at The Learning Annex Wealth Expos for the same purpose, and I donate a large portion of my speaking fees to charity.

Click for Donald Trump on other issues.   Source: Think Big, by Donald Trump, p.218-9

Mike Gravel on Death Tax: (Energy & Oil Apr 22, 2008)
Institute a tax on oil

Click for Mike Gravel on other issues.   Source: Presidential Election 2008 Political Courage Test

Barack Obama on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 30, 2007)
Trillion dollar giveaway: the Paris Hilton Tax Break

Obama said, “Domestically, our national debt and budget constrain us in ways that are going to be very far-reaching. And I think whoever is elected in 2008 is going to be cleaning up the fiscal mess that was created as a consequence of the president’s tax cuts.” Obama opposed repealing the estate tax: “Let’s call this trillion dollar giveaway what it is--the Paris Hilton Tax Break. It’s about giving billions of dollars to billionaire heirs and heiresses as a time when American taxpayers just can’t afford it.“ Obama has proposed to ”reverse some of those tax cuts that went to the wealthiest Americans.“ As Obama put it, ”It’s not as if rich people were suffering under Bill Clinton.“
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Improbable Quest, by John K. Wilson, p.155

Hillary Clinton on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 30, 2007)
Freeze estate tax at 2009 level of $7 million per couple

I’m in favor of doing something about the AMT. How we do it and how we put the package together everybody knows is extremely complicated. I want to get to a fair & progressive tax system. The AMT has to be part of what we try to change when I’m president There are a lot of moving pieces here. There are kinds of issues we’re going to deal with as the tax cuts expire. I want to freeze the estate tax at the 2009 level of $7 million for a couple. I’m not going to get committed to a specific approach.
Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University

Hillary Clinton on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Jun 28, 2007)
Why cut off payroll contribution at $95,000?

Q: Do you agree that the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes?

A: Middle-class and working families are paying a much higher percentage of their income. [Billionaires like] Warren Buffett pay about 17%, because don’t forget, it’s the payroll tax plus the income tax. And when you cut off the contribution at $95,000, that’s a lot of money between $95,000 and the $46 million that Warren Buffett made last year. We’ve got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country.

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: 2007 Democratic Primary Debate at Howard University

Joe Sestak on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Nov 7, 2006)
Bush tax oplicies shift burden to middle class & future

The Bush Administration’s tax cuts deprived us of the revenue to address urgent challenges, while mortgaging our children’s futures and shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to the middle and lower working classes. The repeal of the estate tax, the lowering of the upper tax brackets, and the reduction in dividend and capital gains taxes means that our government is taxing working families more on their incomes than billionaires on the wealth they inherit (0%) or the stock profits they turn (15%).
Click for Joe Sestak on other issues.   Source: 2006 House campaign website, sestakforcongress.com, “Issues”

Barack Obama on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 1, 2006)
Estate tax only affects the wealthiest 1/2 of 1%

We have to stop pretending that all cuts are equivalent or that all tax increases are the same. Ending corporate subsidies is one thing; reducing health-care benefits to poor children is something else. At a time when ordinary families are feeling hit from all sides, the impulse to keep their taxes as low as possible is honorable. What is less honorable is the willingness of the rich to ride this anti-tax sentiment for their own purposes.

Nowhere has this confusion been more evident than in the debate surrounding the proposed repeal of the estate tax. As currently structured, a husband and wife can pass on $4 million without paying any estate tax. In 2009, this figure goes up to $7 million. The tax thus affects only the wealthiest one-third of 1% in 2009. Repealing the estate tax would cost $1 trillion, and it would be hard to find a tax cut that was less responsive to the needs of ordinary Americans or the long-term interests of the country.

Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.191-192

Barack Obama on Death Tax: (Social Security Jan 6, 2006)
Raise the cap on the payroll tax on wealthy individuals

What we need to do is to raise the cap on the payroll tax so that wealthy individuals are paying a little bit more into the system, if we are going to deal with this problem specifically. Right now, somebody like Warren Buffet pays a fraction of 1 percent of his income in payroll tax, whereas the majority of the audience here pays payroll tax on 100 percent of their income. I’ve said that was not fair.
Click for Barack Obama on other issues.   Source: 2008 Facebook/WMUR-NH Democratic primary debate

Hillary Clinton on Death Tax: (Abortion Oct 11, 2005)
Voted liberal line on partial birth & harm to fetus

Click for Hillary Clinton on other issues.   Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p. 85-86

Bill Nelson on Death Tax: (Tax Reform Oct 20, 2000)
Voted against repealing estate tax; but now supports it

[GOP opponent] McCollum criticizes Nelson for doing some flip-flopping of his own: Nelson initially opposed repealing the estate tax, but switched his position this summer. Nelson responds that he voted for partial repeals of the tax when he was in Congress but became convinced that a full repeal was warranted when larger-than-expected budget surpluses materialized.
Click for Bill Nelson on other issues.   Source: By Bill Ghent, National Journal

John Kasich on Death Tax: (Tax Reform May 17, 1999)
Tax credits (100%) for charitable donations

We [should] expand the charity tax credit and reform the estate tax to allow money to be invested in local communities instead of going to the federal government. If we can take our dollars and inject them directly into our local communities, we will breathe new life into our community organizations and give renewed encouragement to those local leaders who work to solve our toughest problems. We should be encouraging people of wealth to invest directly in our communities.
Click for John Kasich on other issues.   Source: Columbus (OH) Urban League Speech, May 17, 1999

  • Additional quotations related to Death Tax issues can be found under Tax Reform.
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