Republican candidate for U.S. House Kristi Noem tells South Dakotans she wholeheartedly supports balancing the federal budget. Noem also says she wants to get rid of the estate tax, a tax that impacts maybe 50 South Dakota families a year.
The woman whose job Noem wants, Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, has already helped House Dems pass estate tax relief for 99.75% of Americans. (That bill remains idle in the Senate.) Herseth Sandlin claims, like Noem, to be a big deficit hawk.
WaPo's Dylan Matthews breaks down the budget impact of various estate tax proposals and compares them with the extension of unemployment benefits. Writing checks to keep jobless folks' heads above water for another year—something Republicans keep sandbagging for political gain—adds a one-time $33-billion spike to the deficit. The chintziest estate tax reform, the House bill the SHS and President Obama support, increases the deficit every year and racks up around $300 billion in new debt through 2018. Ending the "death tax" completely (that's what Noem wants) adds more than $600 billion in deficit spending through 2018.
I look forward to hearing how much of Medicare, Social Security, and defense Noem plans to cut to offset her massive and irresponsible tax cuts... because she's not going to find $600 billion anywhere else.
Update 2010.07.17: The Displaced Plainsman finds his place in this debate by pointing out that America's aristocracy doesn't need repeal of the estate tax: they already use trusts to evade it.
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