As the 106th Congress prepares to end its final session, I can't help but think back on the major tax-related congressional events of the past year. So much hype about the repeal of the estate tax and the end of the marriage penalty -- huge changes in the tax laws that either directly or indirectly would have affected many Americans for the better and none for the worse. Was it all for political posturing?
Most of Congress seems to agree that these taxes are unfair: The marriage penalty because it enforces a higher tax on individuals who both work and who choose to get married instead of remaining single, and the estate tax which penalizes grieving families and re-taxes profits that have already been taxed once by the creator of the wealth.
Of course, I understand that these are overly-simplified explanations of complicated issues, but how is it that members of both parties and both houses of Congress fought so vehemently and vocally for these plans, knowing full well that both plans would be met with immediate vetoes by the President?
Now that this Congress is packing its bags, busy with elections to be fought, will these issues be shelved when the next Congress convenes? Will our representatives use these hot topics as campaign issues, telling their constituencies of how hard they fought for tax reform? Let's try to be smart enough in the election booths this fall to realize that a lot of wasted time and hot air in Washington provided nothing more than something to talk about in November.