Press Statement

Statement by Gene Sperling on the Estate Tax Vote

Gene Sperling is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress

In the aftermath of Katrina, with poor children huddled in temporary shelters, soldiers fighting in Iraq without the safest equipment, and continuing projections of serious long-term deficits, the Senate leadership postponed a vote on repealing the estate tax because the timing would have been “unseemly.” 

Today’s vote should send the message that devoting hundreds of billions of dollars of tax relief to a tiny slice of our nation’s most well-off estates is “unseemly” in any season.

Reasonable estate tax reform balances the aspiration of allowing parents to provide for the economic security of their children’s grandchildren, with the strongly held belief that America should be a nation where what matters most in our economy is hard work, opportunity, and talent — as opposed to the accident of birth. 

With our nation at war, with wages stagnating, with child poverty rising, and with looming fiscal challenges, there was never a justifiable reason for the United States Senate to rush this measure to the floor in the summer of 2006.