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Amy Traub

The United Estates of America

Last night's successful fillibuster of a massive permanent estate tax rollback is an undeniable victory for progressive policy. The bill would have allowed a small minority of wealthy Americans to pass down their fortunes tax-free, while costing the public $268 billion in lost revenue over the first ten years -- shifting the tax burden further onto the middle class and causing cuts to needed public programs.

The thing that made this estate tax bill so unusual, of course, was the way the reduction of the "Paris Hilton Tax" was linked to an increase in the wages of America's lowest paid workers. This too, was problematic, as the $2.10 increase for most minimum wage workers contained a clause cutting wages for restaurant workers in seven states. While that provision is definitely worth rejecting, the unfinished business after last night's vote remains a real minimum wage increase .

In light of the debate over this legislation, the Drum Major Institute again presents it's latest Injustice Index, first published in June...

The United Estates of America

People who, according to the Wall Street Journal's editorial page, pay the estate tax: 'the thrifty middle class and entrepreneurs'

Actual percentage of all U.S. estates that will be affected by the federal estate tax in 2006: 0.27

Amount that repealing the estate tax will cost the United States in the first decade: nearly $1 trillion

Amount the U.S. national debt increased in fiscal year 2005: $553.7 billion

Minimum amount the tax reconciliation bill approved by Congress in May will cost the public over five years: $70 billion

Percentage of the capital gains and dividend tax cuts in the bill that will go to households with incomes over $1 million a year: 45

Average tax cut for middle-class households in the bill: $20

Average tax cut for households with incomes over $1 million:: $43,000

Number of U.S. Congress members who are millionaires: 170

For more data, and links to all sources, click here.

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Posted at 10:01 AM, Aug 04, 2006 in Congress | Politics | Tax Policy
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