By Michael J. Graetz
This fast paced booklet by means of Yale professors Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro unravels the subsequent secret: How is it that the property tax, which has been at the books consistently considering the fact that 1916 and is paid through in basic terms the wealthiest percentage of american citizens, used to be repealed in 2001 with vast bipartisan help? The secret is the entire extra impressive as the repeal was once no longer performed at the hours of darkness, like a congressional pay elevate. It got here on the finish of a multiyear populist crusade introduced through a couple of contributors, and was once heralded by means of its supporters as a sign success for americans who're dedicated to the paintings ethic and the yankee Dream.
Graetz and Shapiro carried out wide-ranging interviews with the proper gamers: individuals of congress, senators, staffers from the major committees and the Bush White apartment, civil servants, imagine tank and curiosity staff representatives, and so forth. the result's a special portrait of yankee politics as considered in the course of the lens of the loss of life tax repeal saga. Graetz and Shapiro brilliantly remove darkness from the repeal campaign's many desirable and unforeseen turns--particularly the atypical final result wherein the repeal is slated to self-destruct a decade after its passage. They convey that the stakes during this struggle are particularly excessive; the very survival of the lengthy status American consensus on innovative taxation is being threatened.
Graetz and Shapiro's wealthy narrative reads extra like a political drama than a standard paintings of scholarship. but each web page is suffused through their intimate wisdom of the heritage of the tax code, the transformation of yankee conservatism over the last 3 many years, and the broader political implications of battles over tax policy.
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Additional info for Death by a Thousand Cuts: The Fight over Taxing Inherited Wealth
Hungry for power after decades in the wilderness, their victory was both the culmination of an insurgency within the party and a key moment of a revolutionary odyssey to redefine the shape of American national politics. They saw it as a potential sea change rather than a squall or even a tidal wave. Yet they did not take the new waters for granted. One of the main behind-the-scenes players in the Republican takeover, Grover Norquist, likes to repeat Winston Churchill’s insistence that when the tide first turned in World War II, it represented the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end.
When asked why they did not pursue—or settle for—an increase in the estate tax exemption or a special exemption for family farms or businesses in 2001, repeal advocates frequently cite QFOBI to illustrate why they view the reform path as a dead end. “It will never work,” they say. And they believe it. QFOBI has simply confirmed for them Will Rogers’s adage that when Congress makes a joke, it is a law. QFOBI thus marked a turning point in the repeal effort. For more than five years the coalition had worked to achieve some protection targeted to small businesses and family farms.
By 1999, there were 60 associations of small business groups, farmers, and ranchers; in 2001, the coalition’s membership reached 100, more than double its 1995 size. Knowledgeable Washington insiders had now taken the helm of the repeal effort. An executive committee, which included several of Washington’s most powerful business organizations, now ran the coalition. In 1996, former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Bob Packwood joined the coalition to fight for estate tax repeal on behalf of a group called “American Business Is Local Enterprise”—a group whose members Packwood does not identify.