of His Constituents.
Iowa Republican Senator Grassley came out publically stating he wants to eliminate the estate tax to help Iowan farmers stay on their family farms. In rebuttal, the Des Moines Register had this to say:
Of the numbers of Iowans paying the estate tax, they can be quantified in the dozens each year. Out of the 1.45 million Iowans filing federal tax returns, the numbers of Iowans over the last five years paying estate taxes numbers from 32 in 2012 to 61 in 2015 according to IRS data. Further-more, the vast majority of those probably were not farmers or small business owners.
Despite evidence to the contrary, Finance Committee member Sen. Chuck Grassley still insisted the estate tax is potentially a ruinous burden on Iowa farmers and small business owners.
Earlier this year either in a blatant misleading statement or in total ignorance, Grassley said;
“The federal estate tax may force family members to liquidate to pay the death tax. It is harder than ever for families to pass down the family-run farm or business from one generation to the next. The death tax creates financial hardship for family businesses to survive and thrive.”
Today, the estate tax is a 40 percent tax on wealth assessed when a person die. It is applied on assets > $5.5 million for individuals and $11 million for couples. The House and Senate proposal doubles those exemptions to $11 million and $22 million. The House version abolishes the tax completely in 2024.
Iowan Republican U.S. Reps. Steve King and David Young joined the chorus with King insisting the estate tax;
“often falls hardest on family-owned farms and small businesses.”
and Young called the repeal being a massive giveaway:
“a ‘myth,’ that the repeal of the estate tax would be a massive giveaway to the wealthiest Americans.
The estate tax (sometimes called the death tax) negatively impacts farms and businesses all over the 3rd District. … Death should not be a taxable event and families should not have to fear the Internal Revenue Service and more taxes making it more difficult and costly to pass on the farm or family business to the next generation.”
No shame amongst politicians who are either ignorant on the topic, outright lying, or believe the populace is so unknowledgeable of the facts, they can say anything and be believed.
Kristine Tidgren, assistant director of the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University, told the Register;
“I have not come across any examples of an Iowa family that had to sell the farm to pay the estate tax,” adding, “I don’t think the current estate tax system threatens family farmers.
IRS data from 2016 confirmed the 682 tax filers in the entire country who owed estate taxes owned farm assets and represented ~ 13 percent of the 5,219 estate tax returns in which taxes were owed.
Even that numeric likely overstates the number of primarily farm operations subject to the tax. A 2015 Congressional Research Service report projects that 65 farm estates annually across the U.S. face an estate tax liability. Less than a quarter of these, the report finds, lack sufficient funds to pay their tax bills.
There is no fool like an old fool and Senator Grassley who has served 7 terms in the Senate confirmed it by getting indignant when challenged on his beliefs.
“I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing, as opposed to those that are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.”
Grassley could not have stated it any better what he thinks of his constituents. His work, argument, and effort is not to eliminate the estate tax to benefit working constituents; but, it is an effort to protect and separate the ownership class from the rabble, his constituents. His comments prompted a pointed response from Pat Rynard of the Iowa Starting Line:
It is difficult to think of a more condescending, elitist worldview – that if you are not ultra-wealthy, it is clearly because you are wasting all your money on alcohol, frivolous fun, and prostitutes (I assume that’s what he meant when he said women). Certainly, it could not be because people are struggling to find decent-paying jobs, are burdened with debt from the college education needed to attain better jobs, or are paying outrageous sums for health insurance and medical bills. Nope, it must be because they are all getting hand jobs from hookers in the back of a dark movie theater while downing a bottle of Jack Daniel’s.
Describing himself as a farmer Senator Grassley runs a farm in Butler County with his son and grandson. Initially Grassley stated his own family farm would not be subject to the estate tax and then changed his mind after rethinking his farm.
If he and his wife died on the same day, the estate would be subject to the $5.5 million exemption rather than the $11 million exemption and likely would have to file an estate tax return.
Mr. Grassley will retire on lifelong healthcare benefits and a nice government pension thanks to his liquor swilling constituents who repeatedly elected him to office. Later in another interview, Mr. Grassley stated his comments were taken out of context.
Hat Tip to Tom Sullivan @ Hulabaloo.