United for a Fair Economy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JANUARY 24, 2006
11:01 AM

CONTACT: United for a Fair Economy
Christina Kasica, 617-423-2148, ext. 119 (cell phone 617-966-0445)

 
"Paris Hilton" Spoof TV Ad Wins Boston Globe Award
Heiress "London" Thanks Republicans for Estate Tax Repeal Efforts on Her Behalf
 

BOSTON - January 24 - A TV ad that features a sexy Paris Hilton-like figure thanking Congressional Republicans for their attempts to repeal the federal estate tax on her behalf received one of the 2006 Boston Globe Sunday Magazine's "101 Best of the New" awards yesterday. Its star, the fictional heiress "London," won in the category "Best New Faces."

"Why is a Paris-Hilton look-alike featured in the ad? Because the estate tax repeal effort is often jokingly referred to as the 'Paris Hilton Benefit Act', after the multi-millionaire playgirl heiress who is the type of person that would benefit most from repeal," said Lee Farris, Senior Organizer for Estate Tax Policy at United for a Fair Economy, the organization that sponsored the ad. "Many Americans, especially farmers and business people, worry that the estate tax will affect them, when this is simply not true-it won't affect 99.73% of us."

"Now that London has demonstrated a fresh way of grabbing a fatigued public's attention, we can't wait to see what kind of spokes cartoon is being drawn on the other side of the aisle," said Doug Most, editor of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.

The ad ran between September 2-6 on the Fox News Channel, CNN, and MSNBC cable stations in selected markets. The ad is viewable with a free download of Windows Media Player (after installation, go to http://www.faireconomy.org/press/ufenews/2005/london.wmv to see the ad) or Real Video Player (after installation, go to http://www.faireconomy.org/estatetax/heiressad to see it). The ad was produced by Carden Communications (www.cardencom.com) of Washington, D.C.

The ad was originally aired to draw attention to the small number of wealthy families that would benefit from estate tax repeal. The exemption rose to $2 million per individual ($4 million per couple) this year, and will affect less than a third of one percent-or 0.27%- of U.S. estates. By 2009, when the exemption rises to $3.5 million, the estate tax will affect 0.16% of all estates.

The Senate is expected to attempt to repeal the federal estate tax in the first several months of 2006. The House of Representatives passed a repeal measure in April 2005. Repealing the estate tax would cost the U.S. Treasury $1 trillion over the first ten years of full repeal, favoring extra windfalls for the children of the wealthy over paying down the federal deficit or funding projects such as rebuilding New Orleans.

If Senate sponsors of the repeal bill determine that there is not enough support to pass the measure, they are likely to propose a dramatic rise in the exemption level and a lowering of the estate tax rate, currently set at 46% of non-exempt amounts.

"Gutting the estate tax by setting exemptions higher than $2 million with very low rates would constitute virtual repeal," Farris stated. "We might just have to bring London out of retirement to combat any virtual repeal effort."

Script:

Hi, I'm London, and I just wanted to personally thank my Republican friends in Congress for trying to get rid of that mean old inheritance tax.

I already stand to inherit a fortune, and because of you, I will get millions more.

I know the government has a lot of debt and it has to cut benefits to our soldiers. But they're used to making sacrifices. I'm not. So I just wanted to say to the Republican Party, thanks for watching out for me. You are so hot.

United for a Fair Economy is an independent national non-profit that raises awareness that concentrated wealth and power undermine the economy, corrupt democracy, deepen the racial divide, and tear communities apart.

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