Congressman Roger Williams

Representing the 25th District of Texas

Repealing the Death Tax

Apr 16, 2015
Column

In 1939 a man started a car dealership to realize the American dream. When he died the ownership of the business was passed along to his son and so was a death tax liability equal to a significant value of the business’ worth.
The son nearly declared bankruptcy.

Fortunately, he was able to pull the resources together to keep his father’s dealership afloat. He still runs the dealership to this day and has more than 100 employees.

That son is me.

When I hear people like Jason Furman, the Chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, tell reporters that a repeal of the estate tax is, “not even a tax cut for employers,” it irritates me beyond belief.

It is worrisome that the president relies on advisers like Furman, who have little to no business experience, to guide him on economic decisions that impact the nation.

To me it appears the president’s staff of government bureaucrats and academics view their policies through the isolated lens of Northeast ivory towers rather than through the shop windows of family businesses on Main Street.

President Obama would have you believe the death tax is justified because "the rich should pay their fair share of taxes."

What he won't tell you is that many second generation business owners do not have the means to hire teams of accountants and lawyers to navigate the costly and burdensome obstacles to save the family farm.

Just because I was able to free myself from the stranglehold of the federal government does not mean others have shared similar stories of success.

As a business owner of many years I have seen friends and colleagues lose gains made from a lifetime of hard-work because of Washington’s failed policies, like the death tax.  

I spent two decades cutting checks to the federal government so I, and my business, could be in good legal standing. I have paid Uncle Sam money that could have gone to hiring more workers, money that could have gone to charitable causes.

Instead, my money was transferred from my business to a bloated government that is 18 trillion dollars in debt.

The death tax has traded job creation for bigger, less responsible government.  

Let’s look at the facts.

The death tax is a tax on savings that have already been taxed before, but the tax provides less than one percent of federal revenue.

According to the Tax Foundation, a repeal of the death tax would “boost GDP, create 139,000 jobs, and eventually increase federal revenue.”

That’s right, ironically, by killing the death tax, the U.S. government would profit more.

We must put an end to the unfair policy of double taxation on job creators so that the federal government can gain an insignificant amount of income.

As they say, there is nothing certain in life but death and taxes. Let’s make sure the latter doesn’t happen twice.