JONATHAN COHN JULY 21, 2010
You can think of proposals to repeal the estate tax as the giant, green monster rampaging through the city in this video. The people fleeing? They're anyone who cares about the long-term budget deficit. They're running because repealing the estate tax would cost more than:
$500 billion over 10 years
The budget deficit over that same period is in the trillions, even after assuming that the estate tax returns to pre-Bush-tax-cut rates. Repealing the estate tax would make the budget picture even worse. Estimates of exactly how much worse fluctuate in part due to swings in the stock market. But regardless of the precise figure, for deficit hawks, the future of the estate tax should be of great concern. It will have a much larger effect on the deficit than the extension of unemployment benefits did.