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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

April 6, 2009 at 5:00 PM

Senate votes to cut taxes on multimillion-dollar estates

Rich should pay their fair share

Tax cuts for the wealthy, we were told, would stimulate the economy and create new jobs. They have done neither, but they have taken our country from a budget surplus to the largest deficit in our nation’s history, coupled with an 8.5 percent unemployment rate.

Given these facts, you would think that no one would be worried about inheritance taxes for the top 0.2 percent of Americans, but it seems that Sens. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., feel that these people deserve a break. They propose no estate taxes on any estate of less than $10 million and lowering the tax rate by 10 points [“House, Senate budget plans seen as wins for Obama,” seattletimes.com, Politics & Government, April 3]. It’s estimated that, if passed, this amendment would lead to $250 billion in lost revenue over the next decade.

Only nine Senate Democrats voted for this disgusting amendment. Sadly, two of the nine were our senators, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

We deserve better. I urge you to call, write or e-mail our senators and tell them that it’s time for those who won the birth lottery to pay their fair share.

— David Pfeifle, Lynnwood

High cost for lower taxes

I was pleased to see that both our state’s senators voted in favor of reducing the estate tax for rich heirs of the richest Americans in the land. My, our “mom in tennis shoes” senator has come a long way, hasn’t she?

The tax reduction would cost more than a quarter of a trillion dollars over 10 years to ensure that the rich heirs could continue their lavish living while doing nothing to stimulate our dismal economy.

Since I’m concerned about the deficit, I think we should slap a federal tax on bread and milk to cover the cost. I’m sure that moms in tennis shoes across the state will understand the need. In these troubled times, it’s the least we can do for the richest of the rich.

— John Norris, Shoreline

Sens. Cantwell and Murray are out of touch

It’s time for the state of Washington to replace our two senators.

For 30 years, the Republicans have repeatedly cut taxes and produced a massive redistribution of wealth to the rich and richer. With their vote on the inheritance tax, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell have continued that process, giving billions to the top 0.5 percent and continuing the radical work on the “death tax” of the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn.

Of course, that shifts the tax burden onto the middle class, which has been the case for 30 years — a process that is undemocratic. Given the desperate economic conditions today, their votes must be seen as devoid of social responsibility and immoral. Critical social services, from schools to Medicare, will be diminished or eliminated, or we will continue to borrow, or both.

Cantwell and Murray’s support of this destructive process clearly demonstrates that they are out of touch with the voters in this state and in the pockets of rich contributors. Is this evidence of “pay to play?” What other possible reason could there be?

— William Glaeser, Renton

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