Sunday, June 04, 2006


Ask Bob Kuttner

how the Republicans are trying to put one over on us this week. Some key points:

The recent cuts in the estate tax expire in 2011. Republicans, who expect to lose seats in November, want to enact permanent repeal now, while they still have the votes.

This is *almost* good news. They're obviously expecting to lose in the fall, and they should be. But this probably also means a flurry of bad legislation -- e.g. the pointless, meanspirited and by all other means idiotic gay marriage vote.

More of the same:

Republicans also want to get this done fast before the newly appointed Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson, chief executive of Goldman-Sachs, faces potentially embarrassing confirmation hearings. Paulson is allegedly a deficit hawk. With a personal net worth of about $700 million, he's also a poster child for why the super-rich can well afford to have their estates taxed.

Everyone including Senator Schumer seems to think this guy's totally the awesomest. OK, he likes the outdoors and he's got a bit of Audubon Society in him. That's nice, but let's see what he can or will actually do in this Administration before we give him a Good Guy badge.

Kuttner offers one way to see this through:

Democrats could go to town on this issue. As Paulson makes his round of Senate courtesy calls, they should press him to oppose estate-tax repeal.

Are your fingers crossed?

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