On June 9 the Republican-led House of Representatives voted to repeal the estate tax. Estate-tax repeal will surely be vetoed by the president this year, but perhaps it will not be vetoed next year. When George W. Bush, campaigning in Iowa, declared that he "support[ed] getting rid of the death penalty," he was not saying that Texas should stop executing people because it was not clear that all those on death row were guilty of first-degree murder. He was saying that it was unfair that in the next decade those who leave estates of more than $1,000,000 would have to pay two-fifths of the excess to the federal government in estate taxes. It would be fairer to have no estate tax at all--and thus, relative to our current system, give an average present of $3.5 million each to the heirs of the 2,400 people who die each year leaving estates of more than $5 million.
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