Commentary: Estate Tax Relief: Guess Who Gets The Breaks?

A sure way to win sympathy from Congress is to cast two icons of the American economy--small businesses and family farms--as victims of a rapacious federal government. That's how powerful Washington lobbies are pushing for estate-tax relief: telling tragic stories of families forced to pay the "death tax" by selling what a parent had spent a lifetime building. And so it is that congressional tax writers are proposing to raise from $600,000 to $1 million the value of assets that are exempt from the levy. By 2007, when the change would be fully phased in, this will amount to an $8-billion-a-year break.

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