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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block, AgWeb.com

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Lame Duck Spectacle

Dec 16, 2010

The Congressional lame duck session is proving to be a fascinating spectacle. The Obama – Republican compromise has sailed through the Senate. That should set an example for the angry House. However, House liberals are livid about the provisions dealing with the estate tax. I thought they would focus their criticism on the extension of the Bush tax cuts. But no, they have jumped on the estate tax provisions of 35% rate with a 5 million dollar exemption for an individual. That is not unreasonable for a business today. Look at it this way. If Nancy Pelosi’s House had really prioritized this issue, maybe they could have dealt with it earlier. We didn’t have any estate tax through all of 2010. They did nothing. Now they are throwing a fit. You’re a little late Nancy. The Republicans are lined up to take over the House in two weeks. Sorry.

One more thing that I want to make clear. The compromise bill does not cut anyone’s income tax rate. Not for the rich. Not for the poor. It just keeps the rates the same as they have been for 9 years.
There is one other very useful provision that hasn’t received much attention, but for farmers, ranchers and small businesses it can be big. It allows for complete write off of capital purchases in the year 2011. That should stimulate businesses and the economy.
Just for the record, I want to say that I have personal interest in doing something to fix the death tax. My father died in 1997. The rate then was 55% (that’s what the liberals would like to see today). The exemption then was only $675,000. After 13 years I am still paying off my father’s IRS estate tax bill.
Hopefully now, if we can pass this bill, families of the future can keep more of their hard earned money in the family. After all, they already paid taxes on it once.
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to www.johnblockreports.com.
Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.
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