In an astonishing defense of dropping "death taxes" for individual estates worth more than $5.5 million, GOP Iowa Sen.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said in an interview Saturday that he is in favor of getting rid of the federal estate tax-a tax generally aimed at the wealthy - and implied that other tax cuts could favor those who waste their money on "booze or women or movies". Chuck Grassley implied that people not now affected by that tax are "spending every darn penny. on booze or women".
Republicans have long voiced their opposition to the estate tax, which they often refer to as the "death tax", and both Houses include changes to the tax in their tax bills. Heirs would inherit the estates tax-free.
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Grassley argued in an interview with the Des Moines Register that repealing the tax is beneficial even if it only affects relatively few Americans.
But a review of federal tax data and nonpartisan research on the subject shows that family farmers and small business owners represent a tiny share of estate tax payers, and that the taxes they owe rarely force them to sell land or quit farming.
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The newspaper found that the estate tax break will affect only "dozens" among 1.4 million Iowa taxpayers, according to IRS data, because nearly all estates fall under the current exemption cap. Sixty-one people -.004 percent of all Iowa taxpayers - filed estate taxes in 2015. The House bill initially doubles the limits and then repeals the entire tax after 2023.
The estate tax affects a very small - and very wealthy - number of Americans. The report said that the death tax likely affects a few dozen farms and a few dozen small businesses across the entire US, yet generates tens of billions in revenue, annually.
Grassley, who is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, has been very involved in the process to overhaul the tax code.
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