Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on Tuesday unveiled legislation proposing a hike in the estate tax to boost a Social Security shortfall.
Sen. Van Hollen's "Strengthen Social Security by Taxing Dynastic Wealth Act" would undo President Donald Trump's tax law's treatment of estate taxes by restoring the estate and gift tax to their 2009 levels.
"In 2017, Republicans in Congress secured their latest massive giveaway on the estate tax – delivering a $4.4 million tax cut per couple to just 1,900 estates in the entire country at the same time they refused to support vital national priorities," Van Hollen stated.
"That was unconscionable, and we must return the estate tax to a more reasonable level," he said, adding: "I can think of no better way to use . . . that revenue than to strengthen Social Security."
The bill would raise the top estate and gift tax rates from 40% to 45%. The first $3.5 million of an individual's estate would be exempt from estate taxes, with the threshold set at $7 million for married couples.
In remarks earlier Tuesday at a "Taxing the (Very) Rich" conference hosted by the progressive think tank Economic Policy Institute, Van Hollen said the measure "will close the 21% shortfall," The Hill reported.
He is not alone in wanting to hit the rich to pay for social programs.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has called for an annual special tax on those with a net worth surpassing $50 million, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has proposed erasing $1.6 trillion in U.S. student debt with a tax on Wall Street, The Hill noted.
At Tuesday's conference, Van Hollen also floated a 10% surtax on incomes above $2 million to raise funds for K-12 education, the news outlet reported.
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