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Senator Accuses People Of Wasting Money On 'Booze, Women, Movies'

Poor people do not deserve tax breaks because they are irresponsible with their money, a Republican Senate leader suggested in a recent interview.

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa told the Des Moines Register that low-income Americans “are just spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies.” The lawmaker made the comment while defending the estate-tax repeal that was part of tax-reform legislation the Senate passed last weekend. “I think not having the estate tax recognizes the people that are investing — as opposed to (the poor),” he said.

Grassley’s remarks sparked considerable backlash on social media, according to The Huffington Post. Some of the posted messages pointed out that low-income people spend their money on their children and parents, as well as food and health care. One person wrote on Twitter that Republicans are making the United States look like “The Hunger Games.”

The newspaper interview was not the first time Grassley has slammed the estate tax, which applies to individual estates valued at more than $5.5 million for an individual and $11 million for couples. Earlier this year, the senator warned that failure to act “may force family members to liquidate to pay the death tax.” He claimed that the levy harms small-business owners and farmers.

However, the Register cited Internal Revenue Service documents in reporting that only “dozens” of Iowa’s 1.4 million taxpayers would benefit from a repeal of the tax. In 2012, just 32 Iowans were forced to pay the levy. In 2015, 61 state residents filed estate taxes. Very few of them owned businesses or farms. Nationally, the tax affects only two-tenths of 1 percent of taxpayers.

Two other Iowa Republicans, Reps. David Young and Steve King, agreed with Grassley. Young accused Democrats of perpetuating a “myth” by claiming that “repealing the estate tax is a massive giveaway to the wealthiest Americans.”

The House of Representatives also approved a tax-reform bill that would cut or eliminate the estate tax on families with wealth exceeding $5.5 million. A House-Senate conference committee will craft new legislation that must pass both houses. President Trump has indicated he will sign any measure that reduces taxes.

“We’ve never seen a proposal like this,” Lily Batchelder, who teaches law and public policy at New York University Law School, told National Public Radio. “I don’t recall ever seeing a proposal that would both fully repeal the estate tax and fully exempt from tax all the accrued gains on these giant estates.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, criticized the estate tax during a recent interview on Fox News. “We just think it’s unfair,” he said. “Death should not be a taxable event, and we should not be stopping people from being able to pass their life’s work on to their kids.” Though the tax generates only about $19 billion annually, according to Tax Foundation President Scott Hodge, the issue has been a GOP talking point for years. Most Democrats support the tax as a way of narrowing the nation’s growing gap between the rich and poor.

Source: HuffPost
Photo: YouTube

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