• 79°

Drought continues for families seeking tax relief

By By Gary Palmer
Guest Columnist
The drought continues for American families. Not only have we had a long dry summer in terms of rain, we have also had a long dry spell without a tax cut.
This summer President Bill Clinton had two opportunities to restore some fairness to federal tax laws. In August, President Clinton was given an opportunity to sign a bill that would have removed the so-called marriage penalty that middle-class families are forced to pay, but he vetoed the bill.
Last week the president squandered another opportunity when he vetoed a bill that would have gradually phased out the death tax over a ten-year period.
In both instances Clinton described the bills as "a fiscally reckless tax strategy" that would erase projected budget surpluses. Vice-President Al Gore, the hopeful heir to the Clinton White House, agreed with the vetoes.
But the projected budget surplus that Bill Clinton and Al Gore feel is so threatened is in reality a surplus of money that came straight out of taxpayers' pockets. There are 25 million married couples trying to make ends meet who are paying an average of $1,400 more in taxes per year because they are married instead of just living together. Moreover, the marriage tax cut only represented about four percent of the non-Social Security surplus.
In other words, Clinton and Gore are against giving a tax break to working married couples who are unjustly taxed simply because they are married because it might reduce the amount of money the federal government doesn't need. As Ross Perot would say, "Did ya foller me?"
Not only do Clinton and Gore say with a straight face that they oppose the tax cut even though the government doesn't need all that it is bringing in, they also say that they oppose it because the people who pay the most taxes will get the most back.
According to the Clinton/Gore socialist redistribution philosophy, if married couple (A) pays $25,000 per year in income taxes and gets back $2,500 and married couple (B) pays $2,500 and gets back $250, it would be unfair. Since couple (A) pays 10 times as much in taxes as couple (B), what is unfair about couple (A) getting back the same percentage of their taxes as couple (B)?
"Are ya still with me?"
To cover for the veto, Clinton and Gore had to have something to distract the millions of Americans whose combined earnings are less than $75,000 per year from the fact that the marriage tax cut would have been of great benefit to them. So they turned to a favorite liberal tactic of trying to fool middle-class wage earners into thinking that only the rich would have benefited from the cut while hoping that the middle class wouldn't realize how much they would have benefited.
The same tactics were applied to justify the veto of the Death Tax. Once again, Clinton and Gore complained that letting taxpayers keep their assets and pass them on to their heirs would be a risky scheme. According to the liberal logic, people who successfully build a small business or successfully run a farm should not be allowed to pass them on to their children.
In terms of federal revenue, the Death Tax only brings in slightly more than one percent of all federal revenue each year. Even though Clinton and Gore played the class envy card to justify Clinton's veto, it is not the mega-wealthy families such as the Kennedys who pay the tax. It is predominantly the people whose "total" assets add up to between $675,000 and $5 million.
Since the tax applies to total assets, it becomes very clear that it doesn't take long to reach the $675,000 threshold when everything from land and buildings to life insurance and personal items are inventoried and appraised.
The impact on small businesses is so severe that it is estimated that over 50 percent of all small family-owned businesses will be forced to sell in the next 15 years because of the Death Tax.
To add insult to economic injury, even though Clinton and Gore claim to be the champions of women and minorities, the segment that is most at risk from the death tax in the current economy are women-owned and minority-owned businesses. Most of these businesses are so undercapitalized that if the owner died the businesses would be lost.
In the long run, it will be the American people who determine whether allowing married couples to keep more of their wages or allowing parents to pass on their savings, their business, or their farm to their children, is a risky scheme or the right and fair thing to do. Historically, it has been proven that the riskiest scheme of all is to allow government to take from the people that which rightfully belongs to them. The government will never be satisfied with what it has, even when it admits that it has a surplus beyond its needs. Clinton, with Al Gore's approval, just proved that.