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Estate tax compromise

Eric Niiler Jun 22, 2006
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TESS VIGELAND: Earlier this month, Congressional Republicans failed to push through a permanent repeal of the federal estate tax. Opponents argued the government couldn’t afford to lose the revenue, but the issue is back. As early as today the House could vote on a compromise measure. Eric Niiler has more.

ERIC NIILER: Republican Bill Thomas of California is leading this most recent assault on the estate tax. His bill would allow individuals to inherit $5 million tax free or married couples $10 million. That’s a three-quarters reduction in the current estate tax.

Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute says the reduction may be good politics, but it’s not sound economics.

KEVIN HASSETT: “The more prudent economic course would be to make room for this reduction in the estate tax by reining in spending, and the fact the Republicans haven’t tried to do that suggests that they’re not really interested in fiscal discipline at all.”

A congressional report released this week says the tax break would cost the government $280 billion over the next decade. Even if the House approves the compromise, it faces a stiff fight in the Senate.

In Washington, I’m Eric Niiler for Marketplace.

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