All Democrats should be overjoyed by the Republican efforts to repeal the “Death Tax.”
The Bush/Delay/Hastert/Frist rollback of environmental laws, gifts to their oil baron friends, trampling on civil liberties, judicial regression, and rhetoric about “values,” has been effective in duping the American people—thus far. But the issues surrounding the “Death Tax” are so basic, so simple, and the motivation so vile, that even the Democrats, who tend to prefer to explain things until they make no sense at all—even the Democrats will be able to use the “Death Tax” to win back the House in 2006 and the Senate and Presidency in 2008.
The “Death Tax” will cost the U.S. Treasury almost $300 billion over ten years, and that money will go exclusively to people who are currently inheriting estates valued at $1.5 million or more. That’s right, you won’t pay a dime unless you’re inheriting $1.5 million. It really is that simple, and if the Democrats just keep presenting it thus, with appropriate outrage, it will become the mother of all election-year issues.
And when the silly Republicans start screaming about “class warfare,” it’s time for the Democrats to shove it right back in their faces: You bet it’s a class war, the Republicans richest donors against the rest of us, and we’re fed up and not going to take it anymore.
It’s time to make the issue personal, time for the Democrats to create our own rich version of Willie Horton, by taking George Bush and Tom Delay’s biggest campaign fundraisers and showing the American people how much the Republican tax regression is handing them through their obscene and regressive tax policy.
And we should keep calling it the “Death Tax”—it’s indicative of just how out of touch the Democratic “strategists” can be that they want to call it something so innocuous-sounding as the “Estate Tax.” It is a “Death Tax”—it’s the death of fairness in taxation, the death of programs supported by almost all Americans, the death of the Republican legislative and executive juggernaut—if only the Democrats will, finally, fight like Republicans and stop selling themselves as “Republican light.”
The “Death Tax” may prove to be the greatest gift our friends on the far right of the Republican party could possibly have offered us, if only we will accept it.
B.G. Friedrich can be reached at BruceGFriedrich@yahoo.com