'Greed Has No Limit for GOP': McConnell Estate Tax Repeal Would Hand Tens of Billions to Walton and Koch Families

Just over a year after the GOP rammed through its $1.5 trillion tax plan—which has predictably rewarded the ultra-rich while doing virtually nothing for workers—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his Republican colleagues were condemned for pushing yet another “blatant giveaway to their wealthy donors” by introducing a bill on Monday that would permanently repeal the estate tax.

“At a time of record inequality, the very last thing we should do is line the pockets of the rich.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

“Greed has no limit for the GOP,” declared Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness. “We need to reverse direction—not allow the GOP to hand the rich even more tax cuts.”

The deeply unpopular Republican tax law already significantly weakened the estate tax by doubling the exemption, allowing couples with up to $22 million to pass on their fortunes tax-free.

If it passes Congress, the plan introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Thune (R-S.D.), and McConnell—and co-sponsored by dozens of Senate Republicans—would accomplish the longstanding GOP goal of completely eliminating the estate tax.

“Ending the estate tax would give a tax break of up to $63 billion to the Walton family and $39 billion to the Kochs—but $0 to 99.8% of Americans,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) noted in a tweet on Tuesday. “At a time of record inequality, the very last thing we should do is line the pockets of the rich.”

Making use of an extremely common and misleading right-wing talking point by officially titling their legislation the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019, McConnell and fellow Republican senators presented their plan as an effort to provide relief to “hard-working families” and “family-run farms, ranches, and businesses.”

But progressive critics were quick to note that, in reality, the estate tax only affects a relatively tiny number of ultra-rich families, and that the overwhelming majority of Americans will see zero benefit from the Republican bill.

“The estate tax affects less than 2,000 families each year. Meanwhile, nearly 100 million Americans live in or near poverty, and 40 percent of working Americans make less than $15 an hour.”
—Morris Pearl, Patriotic Millionaires