To Defeat the Death Tax, Know Your Opponent

J.D. Foster /

Last Saturday the Baltimore Ravens inflicted a stunning defeat on the New England Patriots in an NFL wildcard game. In interviews after the game, the Ravens’ all-world middle linebacker, Ray Lewis, explained how his defense had stuffed one of the great offenses of the modern era – through study and insight he knew their offense and tendencies as well as the Patriots did. Knowing the opposition has long been a key to victory.

As opposing forces gather in 2010 it’s important to understand the goals, mindset, and overall stratagem of the defenders of the death tax. Contrary to all expectations early in 2009, the death tax has expired. Congress allowed it to pass away temporarily on January 1 of this year when after nine years it failed to find a permanent compromise. By the end of 2009 there simply was no compromise that could get 60 votes in the Senate.

Now the tax is temporarily no more and still there is no 60-vote compromise. The obvious solution is to pass a compromise attached to a tax extenders bill – a bill extending a slew of long-established yet “temporary” tax provisions like the R&D tax credit that Congress once again to its shame allowed to lapse at the end of 2009. The trouble is, still no compromise. (more…)