In 2017 the death tax was just about killed off. Tax reformers raised the unfair tax’s exemption to $11.4 million, a number allowing all but the wealthiest Americans to avoid it entirely. Now, Sen. Kamala Harris wants to bring the tax back from the dead to fund her dream of raising wages for all public school teachers by $13,500 a year.
Teachers unions are powerful players in Democratic primaries, and Harris is obviously trying to win their hearts with promises. Resurrecting the death tax is a terrible way to buy votes. The money confiscated by a death tax has already been taxed at least once, and maybe more times. Unfortunately Harris isn’t alone in her attempt to raise it. Reid Epstein reports for the Journal:
Congress has steadily narrowed the reach of the estate tax for nearly two decades, capped by the 2017 tax law, which roughly doubled the estate tax exemption. Now, fewer than 2,000 people who die each year leave taxable estates. That is about 0.1% of all deaths, compared with the 0.5% of estates that would pay if the 2009 parameters were still in effect, according to the Tax Policy Center.