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Ear to the Ground

Obama’s ‘Mixed Feelings About Old People’

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Posted on Apr 27, 2013
eflon (CC BY 2.0)

The president gave wealthy Americans “a most generous reduction in their estate taxes” while telling Social Security beneficiaries “to live with smaller benefit checks,” William Greider writes in The Nation.

In early January, the president signed a new law that entitles all rich people to an estate tax exemption of $5 million—seven times the size of the exemption that existed in the last years of the Clinton administration and more than double that in George Bush’s.

Additionally, the new estate tax exemption is protected against inflation, while the new cost-of-living index Obama has proposed for Social Security is not.

Indeed, “these changes are a revenue loser for the government,” Greider writes. “The generous reductions in the estate tax will cost around $400 billion in lost revenue by not reverting to terms before the Bush II presidency worked to undermine it. The ‘chained CPI’ fix for Social Security and other programs, including the estate tax exemption, is expected to save only about half as much as the estate tax loses—and those savings come not from the rich, but the broad ranks of working people.”

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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