Donald Trump wouldn't like Robert Reich's suggestion. Among the reforms former President Clinton's labor secretary advocates for reducing income and wealth inequality is lowering the threshold for estate taxation (video below). He explains
Today the estate tax reaches only the richest two-tenths of one percent, and applies only to dollars in excess of $10.86 million for married couples or $5.43 million for individuals.
That means if a couple leaves to their heirs $10,860,001, they now pay the estate tax on $1. The current estate tax rate is 40%, so that would be 40 cents.
Yet according to these members of Congress, that’s still too much.
Abolishing the estate tax would give each of the wealthiest two-tenths of 1 percent of American households an average tax cut of $3 million, and the 318 largest estates would get an average tax cut of $20 million.
It would also reduce tax revenues by $269 billion over ten years. The result would be either larger federal deficits or higher taxes on the rest of us to fill the gap.
This is nuts. The richest 1 percent of Americans now have 42 percent of the nation’s entire wealth, while the bottom 90 percent has just 23 percent. ...
Adjusted for inflation, the estate tax restored to its level in 1998 would begin to touch estates valued at $1,748,000 per couple.
That would yield approximately $448 billion over the next ten years – way more than enough to finance ten years of universal preschool and two free years of community college for all eligible students.
Yesterday, Donald Trump essentially invited questions about his position on the estate tax, given that he emphasized
And I have assets -- big accounting firm, one of the most highly respected -- 9 billion 240 million dollars....
And I have liabilities of about $500 million (ph). That's long-term debt, very low interest rates.
In fact, one of the big banks came to me and said, "Donald, you don't have enough borrowings. Could we loan you $4 billion"? I said, "I don't need it. I don't want it. And I've been there. I don't want it."
But in two seconds, they give me whatever I wanted. So I have a total net worth, and now with the increase, it'll be well-over $10 billion. But here, a total net worth of -- net worth, not assets, not -- a net worth, after all debt, after all expenses, the greatest assets -- Trump Tower, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, Bank of America building in San Francisco, 40 Wall Street, sometimes referred to as the Trump building right opposite the New York -- many other places all over the world.
So the total is $8,737,540,00.
He wasn't bragging, please understand, because he added "Now I'm not doing that... I'm not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don't have to brag. I don't have to, believe it or not."
Each candidate, Democratic or Republican, should be asked about the estate tax and (in one form or another) the other nine ideas Reich has. No Repub genuinely interested in being nominated would support raising the estate tax, which would be instructive, as it would be if any Democrat were to oppose increasing the levy.