Washington Post writer Lori Montgomery in 2,500 words has explained the lay of the land when it comes to tax reform through Ways & means so succinctly that I am painfully aware of what is required most when tackling this complicated issue of tax reform: patience.
Similarly, at a lunch where freshman Congressman Mike Kelly (R-PA) spoke, he likened the need for change in congress to losing weight: “If I want to lose 50lbs, and we all agree I want to lose 50lbs, I still can’t do it tomorrow.” Expectations are high, but it takes time.
Chairman Camp is a results driven leader. Thoughtful, approachable, tenacious. The challenge for anyone wanting to make their voice heard on tax reform to such a principled leader is recognizing that he gives equal attention to all points of view. Do not mistake politeness for consensus.
ASSET is aiming for consensus, at a time when it seems most unlikely. Each political side of the estate tax debate is sharpening their saw in preparation for a battle of the future. ASSET believes we are wasting valuable time waging a war of words while family businesses struggle to make decisions and commit resources unproductively to prevent estate tax devastation.
In Maryland, a family farmer sold off a portion of the productive land to a developer in order to pay the estate tax, taking away resources that the farm used to grow crops. In New Hampshire, a dairy farmer considers selling out to a larger corporation to avoid the pain that the estate tax will create for his family. In Massachusetts, a local business man sells his interests in a successful restaurant franchise to lock profits away in preparation, and later the businesses start suffering without his leadership at the helm, costing jobs.
When you wade through the text of the Hippocratic Oath, “First, do no harm”. The same should be true of elected officials when it comes to the estate tax. It can be done, and ASSET offers a path forward.
The ASSET coalition includes lots of private business owners, their employees, farmers, their families and employees, as well as members in national organizations, such as the National Black Chamber of Commerce and others. We know that ASSET is a change in collection method. Some might say it is repeal. Others might say it does not repeal the estate tax at all…but neither of these is 100% accurate. ASSET first does not harm. No dislocation of jobs, no urgent need to sell at fire sale prices.
Chairman Dave Camp is planning for a future of tax reform. So too are the Democrats. The challenge for them is the role we play as constituents. We must allow both sides time to study and understand, and both sides to move from extremes to the middle where most Americans are. That is exactly where ASSET is positioned: a win for all sides, if we are patient enough to listen and study.