Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Civics Lesson Update

I sent my note to Bond, Talent and Cleaver on Sunday - it's Wednesday morning, and Cleaver is the only one who's responded. He got back to me on Tuesday morning. Perhaps the disparity comes because it is a lot easier to write a letter starting with "You're right" than it is to start one with "The reason I support handing out tax breaks to the spawn of dead multi-millionaires while running up records budget deficits is . . ."

Here is the body of Cleaver's reply:
Thank you for contacting me with regard to H.R.8. I appreciate your taking the time to contact me about this important issue.

As you may be aware, this legislation would permanently extend the repeal of the estate tax. When this temporary repeal was first enacted as part of the President's 2001 tax cut package, the federal government was projected to be operating on huge surpluses. Now, however, the federal government is operating at an all time high deficit and is expected to do so for the rest of this decade. In light of this budgetary outlook, it is critical that we do not enact tax reform measures that jeopardize the ability of the government to operate effectively or place the responsibility of repaying massive debt on future generations.

The permanent repeal of the estate tax is expected to costs $280 billion in revenue from 2011 through 2015. However, contrary to the assertions of the Republican majority this legislation would only benefit a small number of estates. These facts are at odds with my belief that tax reform measures must be simpler, fairer and responsible. I also believe that reform measures should not shift any additional tax burden to the middle class. By pushing this bill forward, the Republican majority continues to demonstrate its belief that the middleclass and our children should pay for tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.

I am opposed to legislation that solely benefits the rich at the expense of our children, the middleclass, small business, and those in our society who have the least means. As a result, I voted against H.R. 8. I did support, however, a Democratic substitute that would have cost 1/3 less than H.R. 8 and would have provided relief to 99.7 percent of all estates.

Again, thank you for sharing your views with me on this important issue. Please do not hesitate to do so in the future.


Emanuel Cleaver, II

Member of Congress
(Update: Jim Talent has not replied to my thoughts about the estate tax, but he did manage to send me a solicitation for funds this morning. Most disconcertingly, he included a PS signed "JT". Eww. First off, that moniker belongs to James Taylor. Second, to borrow a phrase from Tony, you have all the charisma of a colonoscopy, so don't try your hand at informality, okay?)


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