Why? Norquist insists that repeal of the inheritance tax would spur economic growth, and that, he writes, "is exactly what the residents of the Gulf Region need at this time to start the rebuilding process for their neighborhoods..." Really? It's nice of Norquist to speak to the Senate on behalf of people he's never even met. Yep, I'm sure he's an expert on the needs of New Orleans' 9th Ward.
Well, the New York Times has a different take on repealing the inheritance tax:
Hurricane Katrina may have cost very wealthy people a lot of money. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it may have cost their heirs a lot of money.
The cost came not from the direct effects of the disaster. It came because the hurricane's impact on the poor people who remained in New Orleans made it politically unattractive for the Senate to vote on repealing the estate tax this week.
Such a vote is still possible later in the Congressional session, however, and if it does not pass, there is some speculation that a compromise to cut estate tax rates by two-thirds might be approved.
The estate tax affects a surprisingly small number of people. In 2003, the most recent year with numbers available, just 1.25 percent of all deaths resulted in taxable estates, with most of them paying relatively little. But 505 estates, each worth more than $20 million, paid $5.2 billion ...
Repeal will have no impact at all on the vast majority of people, but you wouldn't know that if you lived in a state with a wavering senator. There, advertising campaigns claim that small-business owners and family farms suffer from the estate tax. In fact, there are provisions in the law to ease the effect on both groups and an estate has to be large to face any tax at all.