Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend, Mr. Pomeroy.
I stand before you to support H.R. 4154. Some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle want you to believe, and we have heard this before, that everybody is going to pay an estate tax. If you listen to the rhetoric, and I am glad we are looking at the world. I am glad we are looking at the world, and we will find out on the health issue we are now 40th in terms of infant mortality. But let's look at the world. You are incorrect and it is very unfair when you claim that this is a tax for all Americans--it is not--and all family businesses. It is not. In fact, it is American to act on shared responsibility.
The Citizens for Tax Justice just recently made this very clear, December 2: It follows that it is reasonable to tax the transfer of enormous estates, most of which consist of income that was never taxed. That's what you are protecting, the folks that have estates that have never been taxed. You want to throw a shield over them to protect what you did protect in 2001, which you did protect in 2003. You want to protect it from one generation of superrich families so they can send it on to another group.
Since 1990s, opponents of the tax have even used the pejorative term ``death tax.'' But they are flat out wrong. The estate tax affects only estates of significant size--presently, right now, over $3.5 million for individuals and $7 million for couples.
The fact is that the estate tax is the most progressive tax in our Federal tax system. What you are suggesting is very regressive. Only the top 0.2 percent of the income earners paid all of the estate taxes collected.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
Mr. POMEROY. I yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds.
Mr. PASCRELL. If we do nothing, then 44,400 estates that are not currently subject to the estate tax will become targets. The point I want to make now is that many estates have paid no taxes. That is not shared responsibility.
Under our bill, only the top 7,600 estates in the country will be subject to the estate tax in 2011. The truth of the matter is that I don't know any working class American families that own estates worth over $7 million. It is insidious to infer anything different.