Stressing Financial Restraint, Carper Speaks Against Permanent Repeal of Estate Tax

WASHINGTON, DC – Urging the President and Congress to show fiscal restraint, Senator Tom Carper spoke out against making the repeal of the estate tax permanent. Last year the Bush administration projected $5.6 trillion in surpluses. Now, the government will have up to $6.4 trillion in debt. Carper voted against the debt limit bill, S. 2578, which passed the Senate 68 to 29 and allows the government to borrow an additional $450 billion. After passing that bill, the Senate began debating making the repeal of the estate tax permanent. Doing so would cost the federal government $750 billion beginning in 2011 and could cost state governments billions as well. Carper issued the following statement in opposition to the estate tax repeal: “Like a number of my colleagues here in the senate, I served as the Governor of my state before I was privileged to come here. As a Governor of my state, I was a supporter of tax cuts. We cut taxes for seven years in a row. We actually eliminated the gifted inheritance tax altogether. While we cut taxes seven years in a row, we also balanced the budget eight years in a row. We were able to slow the growth of debt in our state. We earned ourselves a AAA credit rating for the first time in Delaware history. Others have spoken to the equity and the fairness of eliminating altogether the estate tax and I’ll leave those arguments to those who have already spoken. I simply want us to keep this in mind – there’s an old theory called the “theory of holes,” and it goes something like this. When you find yourself in a hole . . . when you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. Stop digging. For us to have voted yesterday to raise the debt ceiling by $150 billion and then to cut taxes in a way that will only increase our indebtedness today, I think is a matter of concern to me and ought to be to all of us. Our Republican friends are right. We can’t simply be opposed to cutting taxes that maybe are actually unfair and then turn around and simply vote to increase spending. I had a good, long conversation with one of my Republican colleagues on the phone late last night about this body and about our propensity to spend evermore money for defense, for homeland defense, for social programs – good programs, meritorious programs – and at the same time vote to cut taxes. It just doesn’t add up. It doesn’t add up. I don’t know how to stop it. I just want to put down a marker here today and to say it’s something that’s not a sustainable policy and one that I hope we will not continue.”