News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Repealing inheritance tax doesn't need cheap politics

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions contacted his former law professor seeking to identify any business owner who died in the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

Unfortunately, the Mobile Republican did so not out of concern, but rather to exploit the disaster as a reason to repeal the federal estate tax, according to Time magazine.

His inquiry amounts to legislative ambulance chasing.

Sen. Sessions has strongly advocated cutting or eliminating the estate tax, and said Tuesday it would be "immoral" not to repeal the tax in the wake of the worst natural disaster in American history. He said in a statement Tuesday that the tax repeal would help surviving relatives of Louisiana and Mississippi business owners killed in the storm.

"It is unbelievable to me that this made any news," Sen. Sessions told the Birmingham News in an article published Tuesday. "I was simply saying let's look at some families. It was never a matter of big import to me. It was just a thought."

If Sessions wants to look at some families, perhaps he would do better to contact one of the tens of thousands who could not afford to leave the Gulf Coast prior to the storm instead of looking to take political advantage of the tragic death of a millionaire whose heirs stand to lose a portion of their inheritance.

According to the Time article, Sessions' professor was still searching for "victims of both the hurricane and the estate tax." Maybe that's because those who had the resources and the wisdom of a successful businessperson evacuated the Gulf Coast before the storm hit.

At a time when many Americans are giving of their time, talents and tithes like never before to help the victims of Katrina, legislators need to be looking for more resources to help the poor victims of the devastation.

Repealing the inheritance tax is needed, but the senator is trying to take advantage of a national tragedy to push a long-time Republican goal.

That's called rank politics.

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