Bipartisan Deficit Peacocks Decry Deficit, Then Call For Repeal Of The Estate Tax

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Deficit reduction is currently the topic du jour on Capitol Hill, with negotiations ongoing between Senate Democrats and House Republicans regarding just how much spending for fiscal 2011 will be cut in order to avert a government shutdown. But at the same time, a bipartisan group of representatives has introduced a bill to “permanently and fully” repeal the estate tax — the tax on inheritance that is paid by only the richest one quarter of one percent of households in the country.

Full repeal of the estate tax would cost nearly $1.3 trillion over ten years, inclusive of “$1 trillion of lost revenues and $277 billion of higher interest payments on the national debt.” But the same five lawmakers attempting to repeal the estate tax have been recently griping about the deficit, calling it “dangerous” and leading to “an ocean of debt”:

REP. KEVIN BRADY (R-TX): “Our deficits and debt are so dangerous, we have to keep cutting every day…We have to make tough choices now.”

REP. MIKE ROSS (D-AR): “The debate about our nation’s budget deficits and debt is one that deserves the national spotlight and the attention of everyone in Congress. There is no doubt our deficits have reached dangerous levels and the deficit spending must stop.

REP. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): “For far too long the rule has been spend, spend, spend – with no regard for balancing our budget. Years of out-of-control spending have led us to record breaking deficits and an ocean of debt.”

REP. DEVIN NUNES (R-CA): “[The deficit is one of a] series of storm clouds that are approaching and will overtake us in the next few years.

REP. DAN BOREN (D-OK): “Every day this (debt) is moving in the wrong direction. Too much money is paid for the debt.”

The bill these five introduced includes no offset for the huge amount of money repealing the estate tax would cost, marking them as deficit peacocks of the highest order. Lawmakers actually interested in deficit reduction could endorse the estate tax plan put forth by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), which would create a more progressive estate tax, with higher marginal rates at $10 million and $50 million and a “billionaires surtax.”