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Reader's view: Duffy wants to end estate tax for wealthy donors

In a recent letter to the chairman of the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy called for ending the federal estate tax, or inheritance tax.

Although the wealthy can use loopholes and mitigating factors, such as managing assets, to reduce the tax, it generally means estates with a net worth of more than $5.3 million are taxed 40 percent on the overage. Before President George W. Bush, the exemption limit was set at $1 million and, at times, the tax rate was even higher, as I understand it. These should be reconsidered.

Rep. Duffy claimed in the letter the inheritance tax is really a “death tax.” It’s unfair to wealthy people, he seemed to argue. Disregarding the relabeling of the inheritance tax as a propaganda technique (who isn’t against death?), Rep. Duffy’s claims are not justified.

The present inheritance tax law was enacted in 1916. A major reason for the tax includes questioning the fairness of the income tax on the middle and lower classes on earned income while the unearned income received by wealthy heirs is not taxed.

The tax has been a revenue producer for the federal government. Although not huge, any reduction could require even more taxes from middle- and lower-income people to offset the cut.

The untaxed passing of fortunes from one wealthy generation to the next would increase the flow of money to the top. We should work toward reducing this income inequality gap, not increasing it.

The Republican Party is dependent on the donations of the wealthiest people. If Rep. Duffy is successful, who would be the only beneficiaries of the elimination of the tax? Can you imagine that? Could there possibly be a connection between the two?

Donald E. Maypole

Lake Nebagamon