Lewis: Tell us a little bit about you and your business experience and how you got here.
Raese: I made my money the old-fashioned way: I inherited it. I think that’s a great thing to do. I hope more people in this country have that opportunity as soon as we abolish inheritance tax in this country, which is a key part of my program.
Raese refers to a long cherished goal of the G.O.P., to eliminate the estate tax. The Republicans, who claim to be deficit hawks, already want to retain the Bush tax cuts for the rich at a cost of $700 billion over the next decade. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the 2009 deductions in the estate tax have already been costly; the 2010 proposals would only be more so–and would benefit a minuscule sector of the population:
President Obama has proposed making the 2009 estate tax rules permanent. ...The cost of the President’s proposal would be large: $253 billion over the next decade.
...Over the ten-year budget window, the proposal would cost about $130 billion more than making the 2009 rules permanent — and about $380 billion more than allowing the tax to return to its level under the pre-2001 law, based on estimates from the Joint Committee on Taxation. All of the approximately $130 billion in tax-cut benefits would go to the wealthiest one-quarter of 1 percent of estates (i.e., the largest one out of every 400 estates).
The Republicans' position is no surprise; why, however, is the president proposing to make the 2009 estate tax rules permanent instead of advocating their elimination, as he has with the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy?