Obama talks estate tax at final bus tour stop
President Obama addresses a crowd at Country Corner Farm Market in Alpha, IL - the final stop on his three-day Midwest bus tour. (Anthony Umrani/CNN)
August 17th, 2011
09:04 PM ET

Obama talks estate tax at final bus tour stop

The final stop on President Obama's three-state Midwest bus tour was at the Country Corner Farm Market in the small town of Alpha, Illinois. The president was roughly an hour behind schedule due mostly to a visit with the Galesburg High School football team, and although the crowd showed some signs of fatigue from waiting in the hot sun, most left the event saying it was worth the wait.

Although his opening remarks didn't change too much, the president did field one interesting question about the future of the estate tax that is worth looking at. I think it's the only question the president got on this topic the whole trip. Here's the exchange as per a transcript provided by the White House:

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President, for being here today in Henry County. My name is Karen Urich (ph). I’m a multigenerational farmer, member of the Henry County Board and Henry County Farm Bureau. My question that I have today is I have a concern over estate taxes.

In 2013, if the Senate and the Congress fails to act, we will have our estate taxes go back to the 2001 level. We have family farms that are experiencing having to sell their land in order to pay the property taxes. And I was wondering what you see for the future of the estate tax. Thank you.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, there’s no reason why we have to go all the way back to the 2001 level. There is a compromise that has been discussed where you’d essentially have a $7 million exemption per family. There are some folks who just want to eliminate the estate tax all together. There are others who want to hike it up back to 2001.

There’s a mid-level proposal that would exempt most - almost all family farms and nevertheless would still hit folks like Warren Buffett and make sure that he is able to pay what he wants to pay in terms of passing on something not only to his family, but also to the country that has blessed him so much.

So this is going to be part of the larger debate we have about the tax code. And the one thing I want to emphasize, a lot of folks don’t realize this, but there are only 3 percent of the population that has an annual income of more than $200,000 a year. Think about that, 97 percent of folks, their annual income is less than $200,000. And there are only less than 1 percent who are making millions of dollars. And then there’s less than one one-hundredth of 1 percent who are in the Warren Buffett category. That top 1 percent - in fact, that top one-tenth of 1 percent, those are the main folks who have seen their incomes skyrocket over the last 10, 15 years. Ordinary families, including family farmers, basically your incomes and your wages have flatlined over the last decade.

And so when we think about tax reform we should be thinking about fairness. What’s fair? Nobody likes paying taxes. I promise you, I don’t like paying taxes. But I do believe in paying what I use - paying for what I use. And if I want good roads, and if I want good schools for kids, and if I want the best universities in the world and I want to make sure that we’re continuing to invest in agricultural research at places like University of Illinois that have helped to make us the most productive farmers in the world, then I think I should have to pay for it. And if I’m better able to pay for it than a waitress who is making $25,000 a year, I don’t mind paying a slightly higher rate. There’s nothing socialist about that. That’s just basic fairness.

And, by the way, when you hear folks saying, well, you know what, that’s job killing - that’s not job killing. When Bill Clinton was President we created 22 million jobs with a tax rate that was much higher across the board than it is now. We don’t have to go all the way back up there on the estate tax or any other taxes for us to close our deficit and our debt, but we should ask oil and gas companies that are making record profits that they don’t benefit from a special tax loophole that the mom-and-pop store in Alpha doesn’t get. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking me to pay a little more so our senior citizens don’t have to pay an extra $5,000, $6,000 a year for their Medicare. (Applause.) That’s what we’re looking for, is balance in terms of our tax policy. (Applause.)

Topics: Bus Tour • President Obama

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soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. TEW

    The Prez is preaching the truth. Now watch the desperate GOP pull out all its guns to flood the airways and media outlets with misinformation, scare tactics and employ its obstructionist practices. All their professional bloggers will post negative comments, talk about nonsensical things like "job killing" taxes, or the biggest lie "blank check" The prevent progress such as expanding internet to rural towns in an effort to keep people uninformed and scared.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm |
    • Kim

      @TEW I couldn't have said it better! Thank you!

      August 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
    • Jay in NC

      The Prez., as you call him, did not answer the gentleman's question ... "We have family farms that are experiencing having to sell their land in order to pay the property taxes." What he did was give his usual folks dance answer. You know when he starts saying folks say this, folks say that, we have got to help folks.

      Prez, farms are corporations, farms are folks too.

      August 18, 2011 at 9:38 am |
      • D

        It wouldn't have mattered what the President said you would have had a negative response anyway wouldn't you. You must be one of those professional GOP bloggers TEW was taling about. A despreate GOP obstructionist. Have a good day.

        August 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
      • Miamijc

        Property taxes and estate taxes have nothing to do with each other. The question was typical of the uninformed who want to create false stories to try to prove a point. If they have to sell the farm to pay property taxes (a STATE TAX), there is nothing the Federal Government can do about it. If she is talking about selling the farm to pay ESTATE TAXES, that is another story, and the Internal Revenue Code is chock full of deferrals and exemptions available to estate's owning small businesses including farms (See §6166 election, for example, deferring tax payment for 15 years) and also specifically for farms (In the case of a qualifying Family Farm, IRC 2032A allows a reduction from value of up to $1,000,000). Add that on top of a $5 Million dollar exemption, and you are not talking about the family farm being subject to an estate tax bill. So the same old story by the republican hack that they had to sell the family farm because of estate taxes is just that, a story, no more true than a fairy tale.

        August 23, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Howard


      August 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm |
    • jean2009

      Frankly the distinction should be made as to whether the holding is something an individual family can inherit or whether the holding is a corporation. I'm all for not taxing the individual family farm out of existence, but the corporate farm that is different. I think the president made that distinction clear.

      And yes, Howard & Jay we know the truth...simply put it is not your version.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        I doubt that you can name one so called family farm that is not incorporated. You and your president do not understand how business, and farm business, work. You have this notion of people in quaint hats, driving tractors with straw in their mouth.

        August 19, 2011 at 5:35 am |
      • jean2009

        @Jay... Wrong again....try again, my husband and I owned a family farm for many years, and several of his brothers and sisters still own family farms; none of which are corporations. I live in rural Ohio, I know very well what a family farm is, and I know what a corporate farm is, and I know what farm subsidies are.

        August 19, 2011 at 9:18 am |
      • C-Lo

        Jean–do you not see the falacy in your reasoning about "taxing the family farm out of existence," vs. distinguishing between family farms and corporate farms. This argument, I would assume, surrounds family farms being lost due to taxes, SPECIFICALLY the so-called death tax. Corp farms will NEVER have to endure this tax because they continue indefinately through the corp. If we eliminate (or keep at extremely high levels) the estate tax, it will help protect the family farm. Against my better judgement, let me help you with your argument–it's not distuishing between corp and family farms, I would think you would want to distinguish between farm (family business?) inheritance and investment inheritance. Maybe I misunderstood your frame of reference. But either way, it stands to reason that estate taxes are unfair to the families who have amassed weath in any legitimate form. As a footnote to that, can you explain the lib's dichotomy between not punishing the children of illegal immigrants by sending them "home" vs punishing the children of successful individuals/families by taking what is rightfully thiers by way of taxation? The only "valid" reason I can think of is class envy. Tell me where I am wrong (and no, I don't stand to gain from this, I'll probably be paying when my parents pass).

        August 19, 2011 at 10:27 am |
      • C-Lo

        PS thank you for helping to put food my belly! Best part of my day.

        August 19, 2011 at 10:40 am |
      • jean2009

        @C-LO I don't think we needed the Iraq War and I think history will prove that it was not the right time. Very possibly, it would have happened during this Arab spring without our need to take on that job at such a great expense of American life and treasure.

        So, read about all this baloney over the estate tax...it will not effect the average farmer there are very few family farms that are valued at $7 million, and if they are.... I feel they are these 23 billionaires who well can afford to pay estate tax.


        "Death Tax" Realities

        Conservatives enacted a warped estate tax law in 2001. The federal estate tax—which has been in effect since 1916 but in recent years has been dubbed the "death tax" by the right—applies only to the estates of extremely wealthy people. In 2001, the Bush Administration and some of the richest families in America pushed to enact a law that has lowered the tax and will eliminate it entirely in 2010. However, to get around Senate rules, the entire law sunsets in 2011 when the tax will theoretically return to 2001 levels. [Public Citizen] As a result, Congress will have to pass a new estate tax law, most likely next year.

        The federal estate tax doesn’t affect the middle class—it applies only to the very wealthiest taxpayers. In 2009, any estate worth less than $3.5 million ($7 million per couple) will be passed on to heirs and heiresses estate-tax free. [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] In fact, only one of every 300 estates is subject to the tax. [Center for Economic and Policy Research]

        The idea that the estate tax hurts farmers and small businesses is a myth. The Congressional Budget Office found that the estate tax threatens almost no farmers or small businesspeople. [CBO] In fact, the American Farm Bureau Federation has never cited a single example of a farm having to be sold to pay estate taxes. [New York Times]

        We can’t afford this enormous tax break for the rich. The total cost of permanently repealing the estate tax would average about $110 billion per year (including increased interest payments on the national debt). [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities] That’s more than twice as much as we pay for everyone’s Social Security benefits. [Social Security Administration]

        America’s wealthiest families lobbied hard to abolish the estate tax. The campaign to repeal the federal estate tax was financed by 18 of the richest families in America—including 23 billionaires—who spent nearly $500 million to enact this special interest legislation. That’s because these families, which include the heirs of fortunes from Wal-Mart, Campbell’s soup, and Mars candy, stand to reap over $70 billion from the estate tax’s repeal. [Public Citizen]

        August 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm |
      • C-Lo

        So, let me ask you Jean, $7M is the breaking point? Why not $1B? Why not $50,000? $50,000 in inheritance is a lot more than many people will ever see. Maybe we should tax it down to these levels so those of us who won't see an inheritance can recover some of the losses we'll experience in burying our parents, spouses, siblings...wouldn't that be fair? Better yet, let's make the threshhold $1. What a person amassed during their life doen't belong to their heirs, it belongs to the community that allowed them to be successful, even if it's only by $1 more than it cost them to live out their life, right? How is that any different than picking any other arbitrary amount. Witness the AMT and the ongoing issues surrounding its continued capture of more and more middle class people if not for annual intervention by the very group that created the monster in the first place. I read somewhere recently, and will have to paraphrase, but where else outside of gov't do you find a group of people who are voted in to "solve" the very problems they created?

        August 19, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
      • jean2009

        @C-Lo you obviously don't know the difference between estate taxes and property taxes...but then again property tax for farmers is much less than residential, commercial and industrial property.
        Farms in Ohio are taxed under CAUV – Current Agricultural Use Value and this applies to tracts of land over 10 acres which are claimed as farm land. I think most states have similar programs when it comes to farm property tax.


        It is possibly for a farmer to have a farm with several hundreds of acres of land, and not pay as much property tax as a person in a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home in a central Ohio town.

        August 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
      • C-Lo

        So because you didn't say it outright, I am going to assume you were framing your tax discussion on family vs. corp farms on property tax, not estate tax, even though the article was focused on estate taxes on family farms?

        And yes I do understand the differences in all of the different taxations, including between the different types of real-estate, (ie AG, vs residential, commercial...) and I have seen the effects of "squaters" here in colorado where developers sit on zoned, but undeveloped residental/commercial, and get AG tax rates because it's undeveloped. Working on closing that loophole. We have also seen assessors in the pockets of developers/contributors undervaluing their properties. More reasons to do away with these jacked up tax codes.

        August 19, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • jim

      He is lying. There are 51% of Americans in 2009 that did not pay any income tax. We are not talking about the $25,000 per waitress nor a struggling family farmer. We are talking about people who earn well above the living wage level. I don't have a problem with a progressive tax system, I do have a problem with people who spend so dame much that they get us in financial trouble and then want to lay on more taxes on certain groups in order to bail out their stupidity. What we need is a balanced budget amendment so that e=they ahave to live within ours means and quit lying to the public about why we are in the situation we are in.

      August 23, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  2. Robert

    "And so when we think about tax reform we should be thinking about fairness. " This is where he lost it for me unfortunately. He and most of the progressives out there like to use the tax code to enact "fairness". In reality we really should be talking about equality, not fairness. Each and every American citizen has some responsibility to provide financial support for the things that we all rely on. When the 1% pays for 38% of the overall income tax, and 47% of people obligated to file pay no federal income taxes, there is an inherent inequality in the system. Rich people do not use highways more than a poor person, rich people do not benefit from PELL Grants or Section 8 or Food Stamps, yet they pay a disproportionally large amount to fund it. And those whose use these programs receive a amazingly disproportionate amount of services with little to no sacrifice of their own.

    If he and the Democrats were really going to argue for "shared sacrifice" and "fairness", they should also ask those who have little offer to also contribute, especially when they have the most to gain and the most to lose from the loss of these programs. A national sales tax of say 3-4% would be more than justifiable, if it would mean the continued existence of programs that those would would pay the sales tax more heavily for rely on the most. There's also other benefits to a consumption tax versus an income tax, but there's no reason to go into that now.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:39 pm |
    • D

      Robert my grandfather use to say "You through a rock into a pack of barking dogs and the one that is hit is the one that yelps." It's obvious you must be in that 1% that makes millions or at least above $200.000. Yes the people under $200.000 use all the services mentioned and yes they should be paying taxes and they do. But if you average it out perporionately based on your income and the income of those under 200.000, I would say the percentages would be way different. But fair. Try leading a less greedy life maybe you will feel better and not so much of a grench. Have a good day.

      August 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm |
    • wmco

      I'm tired of hearing about the upper 1% paying 39% of the taxes. Since this upper 1% earns more than 42% of the income in this country, 40% is the least they should contribute. They can better afford to contribute than the bottom 80% which earns closer to 20% of the total income. I agree that everyone making over $20K should contribute something and that 47% of tax filers paying nothing is a problem. However, the skewed distribution of wages and wealth dictates that the rich need to pay a majority of the taxes. You can't make poor people pay for their own food stamps.

      August 18, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • Jim

      You don't understand fair. It's not necessarily what you use as it is how much you benefit. Who benefits the most by the commerce on our highway system. The rich. Who benefits the most from an educated workforce. The rich. What are two of the most important factors in where a corporation decides to locate. An educated workforce and ability to get their goods to market. Taxes are are not very high on the list. When Large corporations and the rich are making record profits and small businesses and middle class families are making less there is something wrong. It tells me that the rich and Large corporation are benefitting more from government policy and tax structure than the middle class and poor.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Oprah's Mooseknuckle

      Stop feeding logical arguments to us. The idiot liberals and moron socialists will start to cry.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
      • jean2009

        What are you the one line moron poster?

        August 19, 2011 at 10:23 am |
    • nodoofusin2012

      well.. ill say this.. national sales tax?? So we all share in the pain.. and equal sacrifice...


      if another 3 to 4 percent of my spendable income disappears. well i can gaurantee that you will see an appropriate 3 -4% DECREASE in the spending that i do. So ..
      It will hurt the grocery store. it'll hurt the resturaunts, it'll hurt the industries that thrive on disposable income.. WHY.. because there wont BE ANY..


      August 18, 2011 at 11:39 pm |
  3. Gary Conrad

    I was glad to hear that the president does not want us to go back to 2001 levels. At that level, 58% federal. 16% state of Ill. we end with a death tax of 74%. Most ag lenders require 40% down on ag loans. With the government taking 74% not enough equity is left to borrow the remainder to make an attempt at continueing the family farm or family business. I think most of us could live with a death tax in th 20's but all the higher rate does is add one more assault on the small business community.

    August 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  4. Al Choudhury

    Talk to your congress person for tax fairness. We need the big deal in cutting our deficit. So we need to adjust entitlement and also raise tax for those making high income. There is nothing liberal about it. There is nothing socialistic about it.

    August 18, 2011 at 12:13 am |
    • jean2009

      Explain that to greedy corporation most of which do not need subsidies. Why are we giving subsidies to big oil, to tobacco farmers, to corporations that hold land and claim subsidies for not planting when they had no intention of planting in the first place.

      August 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  5. Galactic Cannibal

    No matter what Pres Obama does he will be attacked , and has been attacked from the day he took office. He inherited a economic disaster and two wars from Pres Bush . But sadly the mindless masses in our country cannot see beyond their extended obese bellies. So feed them misinformation . NFL football , cheap watery beer and heart stopping burgers , and you've got their votes. Give and take, or compromise, are foreign concepts to our Washington politicians . for them "its my way or the highway". Our country is becoming a vicious angry political snake pit where greed and personal political power trumps common sense and the well being of America. Could it be that America has reached its Titanic mode, as did the British Empire and Roman Empire.

    August 18, 2011 at 12:30 am |
    • John

      This week the President said he will propose a jobs plan next month. He said if people do not vote for it he will make it a main issue in the next election. Is this what you mean by compromise? I guess he just wants people to pass his plan so they can find out what is in it.
      Where I work there is a a 2nd shift manager who leaves a mess for me when I arrive for 1st shift every morning. I asked my boss if I could leave the mess and just blame the 2nd shift guy.

      August 18, 2011 at 11:27 am |
      • jean2009

        When he issues a jobs proposal I assure you everyone will know what is in it, regardless of whether or not they want to play ignorant of the facts.

        Everyone who wanted to know what was in the health care bill knew exactly what was in it, and had access to the transcript of the bill, regardless of how ignorant they wanted to act.

        Actually, Nancy Pelosi posted the Health Care legislation with the 72 hour rule something John Boehner hasn't even tried to comply with.


        August 18, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • AverageJim

        It doesn't matter what is in a jobs bill. If Democrats propose one, Republicans block it. I believe they've proposed at least 20 now in the last few years that the Republicans have killed by filibuster in the Senate. The fact is, Republicans WANT unemployment to stay high. It's part of their win the presidency plan. That's also the reason they keep advocating the killing of all stimulus and governement programs. Both provide jobs they'd rather not exist in the next 2 years.

        August 18, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
      • jean2009

        @Jim That explains the GOP death wish for American industry, and good paying jobs with benefits.

        August 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
      • C-Lo

        @jean–SO glad you used the Nancy Pelosi argument! 72 hours to read HOW many pages of legislation that was written to turn an ENTIRE INDUSTRY on its head. We aren't talking about a basic appropriations bill. 72 hours to decide on 1/6 of the US economy?? I'm not excusing Boehner's posting/or lack there of, but when Pelosi wants to pass a bill affecting one of the nation's largest industries to then see what's all in it, HOW INCREDIBLY STUPID!!! Even the dem's were taken aback by some of the policies they later found in it. Is this what leadership looks like to you? Lambasting Bush for jumping into Iraq, but holding Dear Freuline up on a pedistal?

        August 19, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
      • jean2009

        @C-Lo Yes and The Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 was the best piece of legislation passed in a very long time.

        Even though in 2005, George Bush paid for universal health care for life for all Iraqi's to the tune of $950 Million of the American taxpayer's money.

        August 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  6. Rob in FL

    Balance the US Trade-Deficit, and everything else will fall in line, unemployment, taxes and our debt. The deficit went from $86 billion to $816 billion a year, a 1000% increase in imports over US exports. Try and find 10 things in your home "Made in USA".

    August 18, 2011 at 1:38 am |
    • AverageJim

      We need to bring back Protective Tarrifs. Protective Tarrifs encourage production in the U.S., bringing jobs home. And they provide a source of revenue that we sorely need. The only ones NOT advantaged by protective tarrifs are the large multi-national corporations. They PREFER outsourcing our jobs to places with poor working conditions and re-importing goods for sale here. We need to stand up to these multi-national corporations, and their bought Republican representitives to return our Protective Tarrifs back to the way they were for 200 years prior to about 1992.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  7. carroldeese

    People want jobs not promises and speeches. http://bit.ly/olfIyj

    August 18, 2011 at 1:38 am |
  8. Jeff

    The first president in HISTORY who has not created a single new job (-2.5 million) pontificates on the economy that he knows NOTHING about. LOL!

    August 18, 2011 at 7:04 am |
    • Oprah's Mooseknuckle

      He should go back to organizing bake sales for the Chicago Society of Unwed Mothers. He was probably good at that. If he wasn't, he'd just blame someone else anyway.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
      • jean2009

        Since he never organized bake sales for unwed mothers, I think he should stick to what he does best being President...thank you very much.

        Obama – Biden 2012

        August 19, 2011 at 9:31 am |
  9. Free Man

    Work all your life and pay taxes on everything that you make. When you die GOVERNMENT yes your beloved GOVERNMENT is to receive the fruits of your labor NOT YOUR FAMILY can't have any wealth passed on people might become free of government...

    August 18, 2011 at 7:23 am |
    • Monika

      How many times do we need to get taxed on the same dollar?

      August 19, 2011 at 7:24 am |
  10. TEXAS 1947

    If the top 1% of population pay 38% of the tax reveune and 48%% of the population pay no taxes, where is the fairness in this?

    August 18, 2011 at 7:44 am |
    • jean2009

      "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him much shall be required, and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked" – Luke 12:35-48

      It seems there are many in this country who have fared much better than others, they have benefited greatly from the resources which have been entrusted to them. I have no problem with them carrying a greater share of the tax burden in exchange for their surplus of blessings. Some of them did not work any harder than some less fortunate others...they just inherited well.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • Jay in NC

        Tax the rich, feed the poor, Till there are no rich no more.

        Jean the problem is the numbers just do not add up. According to Forbes.com there are about 400 billionaire in the US. They have a total net worth of $1,080,000,000,000. There are also over 1,000,000 millionaire families. They have a net worth of just over 2,000,000,000,000. So the combined net worth of all the rich people in the US is just about 3.1 trillion dollars. The national deficit is running $1.6 trillion per year.

        If you took all the wealth from these people, sold it, I guess to China, then used that money to fund the Fed. It would last just 2 years. Think of it, Microsoft, Apple, Walmart, all the big name companies would be liquidated. All the wealth drained, all the family farms, dry cleaners, McDonald's sold. Just to pay for the deficit for 2 years. Everyone else would have to continue to pay their taxes as well.

        And what happens after two years, would the problem be solved? Where who would everyone be working for foreigners? If so then dividends would flow out of this country as well.

        And do you think the federal government would do a better job of creating jobs than these companies?

        OK, so say you are a true Liberal and you want the wealth redistributed. OK then give it a way, all of it, each person in the US would get a check for about $10,000. Then what ? Don't think of starting a company, the gov. will just come and take it from you. No your best bet is to become a Chinese citizen.

        August 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
      • jean2009

        @Jay ...NO one has said that taxing those who earn more will totally reduce the deficit. Nor has anyone stated that it should be the only way used to decrease the deficit.

        However a recent national poll showed that 55% of Republicans, 74% of Independents, and 83% of Democrats all agreed taxes should be increased for those making over $250,000. Actually a total of 23 separate national polls taken over the last few months show an average consistent 65% support for raising taxes.


        I'm sure we all know addressing the deficit will take other measures along with those increased tax rates. Even Warren Buffet disagrees with you....so why should you be so surprised that several others (myself included) disagree with you...and the rest of the teapotty trolls.

        For the last 30+ years from Reagan forward we have had massive wealth re-distribution, and the direction that wealth has been moving is it is being sucked up by the top 1-2%.

        August 19, 2011 at 10:16 am |
      • C-Lo

        Jean–do you think (in retrospect) the Iraq war was a good idea?
        from Wikipedia:
        May 2003A Gallup poll made on behalf of CNN and the newspaper USA Today concluded that 79% of Americans thought the Iraq War was justified, with or without conclusive evidence of illegal weapons. 19% thought weapons were needed to justify the war

        Guess so, if you like public opinion of US policy. And don't give the tired line of "Bush lied" as your defense until you can explain why Congress, who had access to the same information, gave him the go-ahead, and continued–even into 06-10 when dems controlled Congress.

        My point being, just because public opinion agrees with one course of action, doesn't history show that the fallout of some of those positions/opinions come back to bite us in the tractor seat?

        August 19, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
      • jean2009

        @ C-Lo Better update your polls...the one taken in 2005 was much less favorable compared to the one you quote for 2003. In two years the numbers switched with the majority against the war...and from that point forward the percentage against have steadily increased. From a 69% for in 2001 before we knew there were no WMD to 55% against in 2005. Today that number is 70% against in the recent Rasmussen Poll
        Below poll from 2005.

        August 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
      • C-Lo

        Yes Jean, you are absolutely correct, and that's my point. Just because something (Iraq War, tax the rich, Health care reform, etc, etc, etc,) sounds good today, how often do we look back 2, 3, 4 (80 years for social (in)security) and realize maybe those feel good measures weren't so good after all. RE: social security, decent idea, wrong application.

        August 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Stop lying

      stop telling that stupid lie; saying it doesn't make it so. 47% pay no federal *income* taxes, but they pay medicare, fica, and gasoline taxes, plus state & local taxes. Stop the g-d lying!

      August 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm |
      • jean2009

        And they pay property tax whether it is in the form of the tax on the property they own, or when it is included in their monthly fee for the property they rent.

        August 19, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  11. Adam Smith

    This farmer is essentially a Joe the Plumber liar. When congress was trying to eliminate the Estate tax this claim was raised over and over. They even stuck a then 98 year old Strom Thurmond on a tractor and drove his carcass down PA ave. to illustrate in a really macabre bit of political theater. SO....when Democrats did the research to find out how many family farms had been sold in the US due to estate taxes in the previous 2 years, the number was a whopping –ZERO. NONE. ZILCH. Just like Joe the Plumber this rube is repeating the fox noise/teahadi talking point. How could it possibly be that with the estate tax at ZERO like it is right now that he "knows families that are forced to sell they farms" because of it???? Crank the estate tax WAY up, especially on estates over 25 million. If the por degenerate offspring can't make a nice living off that nest egg then they should be making pencils in a Chinese factory instead of owning that factory. Use the estate tax for what it is meant to do – stopping the entrenchment of an aristocracy of wealth. We should not have useless slime bags running the nation by using daddy and grand daddies money if they are incompetent fools.

    If you want a poster child – Paris Hilton. You righties protecting poor poor paris from paying estate taxes – you buy her a few more cars or trips to Tiffany's (where she hangs with newt) at the expense of the future of the United States. SHE is who you are fightin for when you want to protct the children of the filthy rich from paying a fair share of their windfall. Her, criminals like murdochs kids....

    August 18, 2011 at 8:46 am |
    • jean2009

      So True!

      August 19, 2011 at 9:33 am |
  12. Adam Smith

    Texas, you are a moron. The top 1% figure you cite is wrong AND it is irrelevant. the figure is based not on all taxes, just income tax. Warren Buffet id an excellent piece the other day - you may have heard of him. His ACTUAL tx rate as a percentage of his income was 17%. WAY below most of the people working for him who are not billionaires. rush limbaugh has used this same tired argument for decades and you rubes STILL fall for it. You don't know enough about taxes or economics to grasp a simple con game, so you should really just shut up about it and not repeat lies you don't understand.

    August 18, 2011 at 8:49 am |
    • C-Lo

      Yes, Adam Buffet did "an excellent piece." Speaking of excellent pieces (of something) take a look at George Soros, the quintessencial power of the lib machine, who is closing his "hedge fund" due to new SEC regulations and loss of exemptions. And actions speak louder than words. Why hasn't King Lib been outspoken about this? Why is he quitting so close to election time? Hint, it has to do with POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS (but shhh, the left doesn't like to talk about where it gets it's money). I'll give you one more to contemplate–Echostar/Dish mogul Charlie Ergen. The man forces his middle and upper management (ok it's coersion, not force) to donate to liberal candidates, then treats his employees with the same disregard you all love to hate. low wages, no benefits etc, etc, etc.

      Point is, the dems have the wool pulled over all of your eyes when it comes to the lip service (not the Clinton kind) paid to its "constituents." They have the same loyalties as the Repubs, but it's worse because of the lies they use to cover up these loyalties. THEY DO NOT HAVE YOUR BEST INTEREST IN MIND. For every law they pass to make you feel good, there is a back door for the wealthy. Taxes, whether estate, income or other (except sales/consumption taxes) have all kinds of ways around them, primarily through trusts. You really think John Hinz Kerry, any of the Kenedy clan, etc, etc, etc are going to pass laws that jepordize their families' wealth? But hey, they create the jobs–for accountants, bankers, trustees, lawyers, IRS agents...so I guess they are job creators after all!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  13. joe

    People how die and leave any amount of money should not be taxed
    that is triple taxation
    More of Obama's Bullshit spread the wealth socalism

    August 18, 2011 at 8:56 am |
  14. Ellie Light

    Democrats are battling a number of states that are getting tough on voter identification laws. There is a national push by the Democrat Party against voter ID laws. In July more than 15 Democratic senators signed a letter asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate states enacting what they call “highly restrictive photo identification requirements.” In July the Democratic Governors Association began efforts to raise $50,000 to combat voter ID laws. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo) has stated, “Even if a so-called ineligible person (unregistered American, illegal immigrant) casts a ballot is that really so bad? Shouldn’t every living person be entitled to vote for who will rule over him?” A U.S. senator speaking on behalf of violating our laws.

    August 18, 2011 at 8:57 am |
    • AverageJim

      The voting laws aren't to fight corruption. They are intended to slant the field towards Republicans by disinfranchising Democratic voters. Why else would they remove the rights of students to vote? Why else would they close many polls in poor districts, only to open more in rich districts? Why else would they require some of these people to drive 2 hours to get to a place they can get a voter id card if they don't have a driver's license (because they don't drive)?

      August 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  15. joe

    No one who leaves money to thier estate should be taxed
    thats Triple taxation
    Obama is trying spread the wealth Socalism

    August 18, 2011 at 8:59 am |
  16. joe

    Hey Leftist CNN why do you pick and choose comments
    you guys are so one sided you should learn from Fox Fair and Balanced

    August 18, 2011 at 9:04 am |
  17. joe

    Nazi CNN why can't I post this

    No one who leaves money to thier estate should be taxed
    thats Triple taxation
    Obama is trying spread the wealth Socalism

    August 18, 2011 at 9:09 am |
  18. Satellite Pro L550 Battery

    He did create some jobs for the Secret Service by having his DarthVader Bus put together and in put in service.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  19. Wes B.

    @Texas 1947. The top 1% may pay 38% of the tax revenue...but I'm pretty sure they own 40+% of the wealth. If that's the case...seems like they aren't paying their fair share.

    August 18, 2011 at 10:59 am |
  20. Wes B.

    With the estate tax...I don't see why someone should benefit just because their family is rich. If two babies are born today and one has a millionaire grandparent and the other has a grandpa with very little money...why should the baby with the rich grandpa get to essentially start out his life with all kinds of money he/she didn't earn? Isn't this country about fairness? Well that situation isn't fair at all. The one baby is born with his/her college already paid for. The other child may be JUST as smart, JUST as hard working, JUST as motivated. BUT he/she might not be able to afford college–so he/she is automatically at a disadvantage.

    This is just a sample scenario...but do you see my point?

    I say taxing dead people (estate tax) is the best people to tax.

    And I'm not saying it should be 100%. But Why do MILLIONS need to be handed down tax free to people that didn't do a single thing to earn it? (Family farms are potentially much different.)

    August 18, 2011 at 11:04 am |
    • John

      "But Why do MILLIONS need to be handed down tax free to people that didn't do a single thing to earn it?"

      Because that's the way that the people who did earn those millions want it to be. Why on earth should millions be given to the government and subsequently distributed to those who didn't do a single thing to earn it?

      August 19, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  21. maikl

    When Obama all the time said, that his adm. create 2m. job he think American people so stupid. Yes he create 2m, but the time lost 4m. job. His math show his approach to voter- lie,kva-kva-kva, just to win another 4 years.

    August 18, 2011 at 12:22 pm |
    • AverageJim

      When Obama took office from Bush we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. The stimulus stemmed the tide, and brought us back to the point where we are now gaining jobs each month, just not at the rate we'd like to. Most economists say that the stimulus wasn't big enough. That the government needs to spend MORE in times of Recession, not less as the Republicans advocate (politics is their strength... not any kind of science). So Obama is correct in saying they saved millions of jobs. Unemployment would have went to 15 to 20%, or even higher like it did in the Great Depression.

      August 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
    • jean2009

      Have you by any chance thought of training or re-training for a new job? Jobs in solar and other green jobs are on the rise, jobs in health care are on the rise. There is a web site named: 10 Careers on the Rise.

      Currently we are in a transition from one type economy to another, and retraining for a different type job may be your best solution.

      Jobs were saved and jobs have been created just not at the rate that is needed...but slowly the jobs picture is improving every month. Congress is the body that can pass legislation which sets the climate to create jobs...they are mind set on destroying this president...and if you get destroyed in the process they really don't care.

      August 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
  22. Milan Moravec

    Give the University of California funding while Californians Democrats, Republicans face mortgage defaults, 12% unemployment, pay reductions, loss of unemployment benefits and UC President Yudof gives raises to chancellors and faculty.
    UC Berkeley wages must reflect California's ability to pay, not what others are paid. There is no good reason to raise tuition, fees during the longest, deepest recession in USA history when wage concessions available from Chancellors, Faculty. The sky will not fall on UC Berkeley.
    Share the sacrifices UC Berkeley Faculty, Vice Chancellors, Provost, Chancellor:
    No furloughs.
    18 percent reduction in UCOP salaries & $50 million cut.
    18 percent prune of campus chancellors', vice chancellors' salaries.
    15 percent trim of tenured faculty salaries, increase teaching load.
    10 percent decrease non-tenured faculty salaries, increase research, teaching load.
    100% elimination of all Academic Senate, Academic Council costs, wages.

    (17,000 UC paid employees earn more than $100,000)

    There is no question the necessary cuts will be painful to Faculty, Chancellors

    UC Board of Regents Chair Sherry Lansing can bridge public trust gap with reassurances salaries of Chancellors, Faculty reflect depressed California wages.
    With UC’s shared sacrifices, sky will not fall on the 10 campuses.
    Email Opinion to Dianne.Griffiths@ucop.edu

    August 18, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  23. Liz Carter in Georgia

    Go Jean. I've told them that many times before. They don't want to hear it, not to speak of implementing it. They don't really care what the BIBLE teaches, but they want to claim to be CHRISTIANS! Most MUSLIMS live, study and respect the teachings of the KURAN more than we as a so-called CHRISTIAN-based nation adhere to our BIBLE. We have the audacity though to question their faith!

    August 18, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
  24. Free Man

    Tax the Rich!!! Congratulations your rich!!!

    August 19, 2011 at 6:55 am |
    • jean2009

      Yes we are blessed...compared to 99.9% of all people on the face of the earth every American is incredibly wealthy. We seem to have forgotten that.

      August 19, 2011 at 9:35 am |
      • C-Lo

        I agree with you Jean, we should tax the wealthy proprotionately (or even disprorortionately), but instead of making the tax based on income, let's do it on wealth, therefore those who sit around making bank on non-wage "income" get hit too. And, further, let's not base it on proportionately wealth in the US, but on a global scale. So that individual sitting in a $15k/year gov't (read taxpayer) subidized apartment, driving a $10k car, recieving $2k in food stamps and $8K in unemployment/welfare, to the tune of what $35k? owes 20% or $7k/year because they are still in the top 5% as measured by individual wealth on a world scale. That's "fair" don't you think?

        August 19, 2011 at 10:35 am |
      • Jay in NC

        The US is about 4.4% of the world population.

        August 19, 2011 at 11:24 am |
      • jean2009

        C-Lo I also say raise the capital gains tax...along with the other taxes on those who can afford it.

        August 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • C-Lo

        Jean, "raise the capital gains tax...on those who can afford it" is such a platitude. What does that mean? Those who make more than the median income, or those that make more than the mean income? Those who have 2 or more tv's and a $40,000 car or those who have 5 tvs and 2 $15000 vehicles? If they can afford TV's cars, and the electricty and fuel to go with them, then can't they "afford" to pay more in taxes too? The fact is we have become such an entitlement society, that we deem luxuries (however "simple" they may be) as necessities and it just continues to expand. No longer are simple sustances enough for us. I've eaten my fair share of Spam, tuna casserol, crusty bread and "expired" milk in my day.

        I witness first hand through my brother-in-law this entitlement mentality. Won't keep a job, has 4 kids, can't rub 2 nickels together, but they find a way to eat out weekly at restaurants my wife and i consider "special occasion" restaurants. It's a mentality that is overtaking this country, and the gov't continues to promote and coddle it.

        Why do we reward welfare families by giving MORE cash each time they have another kid, bourn into poverty? Why are the (even relatively) successful people continuously asked for more and more? We are nearing the point, if not already past, of receivers outpacing the givers. If someone is in dire straits, then by all means we should help them. But we givers are NOT subsidizing food, shelter, healthcare (generally speaking) we are subsidizing vehicles, cell phones, cable tv and family trips. How much food could a family put on the table if they wern't driving a $500 leased SUV paying $300/month in gas? How much healthcare could they afford if they weren't spending $2000/yr on family trips and $200 on cable tv, and $100 on cell phone service for thier i-phones? HOW MUCH? Our Costitution only guaranteed the right to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. Nowhere does it guarantee the OUTCOME of happiness. That's up to each of us to reach by our own blood, sweat and tears.

        August 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  25. Miamijc

    Property taxes and estate taxes have nothing to do with each other. The question was typical of the uninformed who want to create false stories to try to prove a point. If they have to sell the farm to pay property taxes (a STATE TAX), there is nothing the Federal Government can do about it. If she is talking about selling the farm to pay ESTATE TAXES, that is another story, and the Internal Revenue Code is chock full of deferrals and exemptions available to estate's owning small businesses including farms (See §6166 election, for example, deferring tax payment for 15 years) and also specifically for farms (In the case of a qualifying Family Farm, IRC 2032A allows a reduction from value of up to $1,000,000). Add that on top of a $5 Million dollar exemption, and you are not talking about the family farm being subject to an estate tax bill. So the same old story by the republican hack that they had to sell the family farm because of estate taxes is just that, a story, no more true than a fairy tale.

    August 23, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  26. hayden

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    May 11, 2012 at 4:50 am |