Wow. Our experiment is off to a great start—let's see if we can finish it off sooner than expected.
If you thought the ag lobby only cared about cows, think again. As Kevin Drum explains in his article for the November/December 2009 issue, the farm lobby has it in for any climate bill that would limit their emissions. Not only that, they'll keep on lobbying despite their successes.
The ag lobby isn't just interested in climate, though. They're also very concerned with the estate tax. Major players like the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and the American Farm Bureau have loudly expressed their support for a bill currently in committee, HR 3905, which would keep estate taxes at 2009 levels indefinitely. At 2009 levels, only estates worth $3.5 million ($7 million for couples) or more would be taxed at 45%. If Congress does not pass a bill, the 2009 levels would be suspended in 2010, and in 2011 estate taxes would be back where they were under George W. Bush in 2001: a 55% tax on all estates worth $1 million or more. However, today House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said he expects the House will amend or revise the estate tax, but he didn't specify exactly how. If Congress passes HR 3905, all estates under $5 million would be exempted from the "death tax," as the NCBA calls it, and the taxation rate would be reduced from 45% to 35%.