Skip to comments.Clinton, Buffett Denounce Income Gap
Posted on 12/11/2007 6:24:18 PM PST by digger48
Hillary Rodham Clinton on Tuesday made a strong case for keeping the inheritance tax in place, saying it is a key to ensuring the United States remains a meritocracy.
At a joint appearance with billionaire investor Warren Buffet, Clinton said the inheritance tax, due to be temporarily repealed in 2010, was a symbol of "what kind of society we are."
"The estate tax has been historically part of our very fundamental belief that we should have a meritocracy, that we do not want a system _ where we expect people to make it on their own _ to be, over time, dominated by inherited wealth," she said. "That we do believe that people should have to get out there and make their way, to a great extent."
Buffet, one of America's wealthiest men, told the Senate Finance Committee last month that the inheritance tax should remain in place.
Estates worth up to $2 million this year and next will be exempt from the federal estate tax. Portions of estates above that threshold will be taxed at 45 percent. In 2009, the exemption level rises to $3.5 million, and by 2010 the estate tax will be repealed _ but only for a year.
Unless Congress changes the law, the tax returns in 2011 with an exemption threshold of only $1 million and a top tax rate of 55 percent.
Democrats argue that a repeal would amount to a huge windfall for the wealthiest families.
Buffet said Republicans, who have led the effort to repeal the tax, "are going to keep the farmers out in front of the argument" as a public-relations ploy. Proponents of repeal often argue that it will mean families will lose control of farms and small companies.
But, Buffet said, only six-tenths of 1 percent of taxable estates in 2007 were farms.
"It's not as though people will be destitute," Clinton said.
In a subsequent appearance on the Fox Business Network, Clinton repeated her support for keeping the tax.
Asked whether she would let cuts in capital gains taxes expire, Clinton said: "I am more focused on preventing the repeal of the estate tax and returning to what I think are fairer, more effective tax rates for the wealthiest."
"While people like my husband and I have enjoyed a great series of gifts from the Bush administration, that is not what has happened to the vast majority of Americans," she said.
Her remarks drew a rebuke from California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring.
"If Hillary Clinton wants to talk about stacking the deck, she needs to look no further than her flawed economic policies that would raise taxes on the back of hardworking American families," Nehring said.
The Clinton-Buffet appearance was their second this year, following on a similar session in June in New York.
Like that appearance, Tuesday's question-and-answer session was a fundraiser that brought in $1 million for the campaign of Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner. From San Francisco, she headed to Sacramento to pick up another $300,000.
In San Francisco, the biggest campaign donors got special treatment from Clinton and Buffet, including an extended picture-taking session that caused their "conversation on the economy" to begin later than scheduled.
Clinton played moderator and questioned the man known as the Oracle of Omaha about the economy. Some of the inquiries came from the audience of 1,500.
Buffet and Clinton warned of the dangers of a growing gap between rich and poor, and a tax system that disproportionately helps people Buffet called "these super-rich" _ himself included.
"A fire hose has been showered on me, and nothing has trickled beneath," Buffett said.
Buffett indirectly blamed the Bush administration for a tax code he said is out of whack.
"In the last seven-eight years what has happened is that the super-rich have gotten a huge break," said Buffett, one of the world's richest people with a net worth of $52 billion, according to Forbes magazine. He is chairman and CEO of Omaha, Neb.-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., an investment company he founded.
Both Buffett and Clinton warned of political and economic instability that could come from the income and trade gaps, and from expanding foreign ownership of American assets and property.
"There's a growing sense that it's not working for the average American," the New York senator said. "If people feel that for whatever reason the deck is stacked against them, then that does feed the instability."
Buffett needs to donate his money to the poor.
marxist in the flesh, in your face
got to sell that estate life insurance, right mr. buffet.
Mrs. “We should be a meritocracy” Clinton doesn’t see the irony that if her name was Mrs. Jones she might now be running for assistant deputy dogcatcher?
There are so many loopholes in the tax codes that wealth can be passed from generation to generation amongst such families as the Rockefellers.
Of course, ordinary Americans get socked in taxes. The family of a friend of mine inherited some money when a family member died and had to cough up most of it to the government.
Someone should ask her how the Kennedys have managed to hold on to their wealth from Joe, Sr.
In the last seven-eight years, Warren, what has happened is that people who are very bright and are willing to work maniacally hard have been freed to indulge their creativity and earn money. This is called "capitalism," Warren. Are you familiar with the concept, Warren? If it bothers you so much, give your money back. Just distribute it to the people. That's what socialism dictates, Warren. But as for the rest of us who are not multi-billionaires, we would like to keep the money we earned and if possible pass it on to our children. You can go ahead and impoverish your children if you want but leave us out of it.
The Goverment needs to lower taxes...
I dream of a day that we have a Fed sales tax instead of the Withholding tax. But it will never happen.
I love these guys that have it made and pass their wealth down to avoid the estate taxes want the poor guys to give up even the small amounts they have accumulated because they can’t afford the high priced attorneys to keep it from the IRS. I know why the high flyers like high taxes. It kills off any competition emerging from the 200,000/year class. They know in order to emerge to challenge them you have to accumulate capital. High taxes makes it impossible.
Buffet decrying income inequality? That is rich, as they say.
That’s a big 10-4. Notice how liberals are always generous with other people’s money.
So why doesn’t this hypocritical scumbag Buffett start writing some big checks to the government? Say, all but $2 million?
You will have the fruits of all YOUR labor doled out to those who feed at the Gubmint trough, and handed to them for their votes.
Proactively give your inheritance to the United States Government - the IRS has a special /donations/ account which you can send your contributions, Mr. Buffet and Ms. Clinton. OOoooh, right, I keep forgetting, can’t actually practice what you preach.
Sorry, grabbers of the left, I do not believe my money is on loan to me for my lifetime, only to become the state’s when I die.
“saying it is a key to ensuring the United States remains a meritocracy”
HA and you became a millionaire on merit.
And if this is your goal, please ensure that Chelsea earn her way by getting a job based upon her merit and not her parents, and also make sure that you give away all your money before you die. She should have to earn everything she has.
Well, any time Hillary and Warren want to send me some of their money to erase the income gap, I’ll cash their checks. I just don’t want them to take money from all of us tax turnips so they can buy votes with it while re-distributing it. That’s what the Dems mean by “equality.”
Well we’ve complained about the gap between Bills (and Jimmy’s) ears for more than a decade. It got us nowhere.
What has Hillary done to close the income gap between the poor and her own estate.
They didn’t own a house when they first came to Washington.
Today Hillary alone is worth more than $50 million.
I would like someone to graph the income gap between the poor and Hillary Clinton over the last 20 years.
They’re right. Send me some damn money, Hillary!