Rep. Linda Sanchez (NM-D) called for drug testing Americans who inherit substantial legacies from their parents. In speaking at a committee hearing on March 18, the New Mexico Democrat said that Americans who receive government subsidies such as food stamps already submit to drug tests and thus reasoned that the “lucky” inheritors of wealth should do likewise. “What work requirements are there to inherit up to $10 million tax free?” she asked a witness. “Why is that [a single mother] should be drug tested, which is an unrelated requirement to receive food assistance, to make sure that her family has enough to eat,” asked Sanchez. “And people who are lucky enough to inherit millions of dollars are literally required to do nothing to get the federal tax benefit with their inheritance?”
 
Sánchez was reacting to testimony from a witness who described the difficulty her father has had in passing on his business to his children without breaking it up in order to pay inheritance taxes. 
 
Sánchez said that it is a “paradox” that Americans work hard and accumulate wealth so as to live comfortably in retirement and then pass on a legacy to their children.  “We don’t believe in an aristocracy, or that it’s a good societal thing for dynasties to hoard their wealth and leave the rest to fight over the crumbs,” she said. “That’s just not how this country was founded.” Currently the government  taxes inheritance at a rate of up to 40 percent
 
“But we have a paradox here in this country, where we think you should work hard to get where you are … but by the same token, everyone wants to make enough money to where they can retire and not have to work,” said Sánchez. “And they want to preserve increasingly larger and larger chunks of their wealth.”
 
During the hearing, Illco, Inc. CFO Karen Madonia testified, “Our whole lives we watched my dad work,”… “You know, 10 to 12 hours a day … he did all of it. And we watched him struggle through all that, and to watch him figure out how he can pass it onto us and let us make our mark on it without having to dismantle part of it is really just heartbreaking.”
 
Sánchez said, “I understand the desire to keep things running in a family business,”adding, “I get that. I get the hardships you guys encounter. But let’s not throw the entire baby out with the bathwater and say we’re going to eliminate the estate tax altogether.”
 
Republican Rep. Kevin Brady of the 8th congressional district of Texas has introduced legislation to repeal the so-called death tax, thereby prompting the hearing in the House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee. In a statement accompanying the bill, Brady wrote “The Death Tax is still the No. 1 reason family-owned farms and businesses in America aren’t passed down to the next generation,” …“It’s the wrong tax at the wrong time and hurts the wrong people

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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