The GOP Tax Bill Is Breathtakingly Generous to the Super Wealthy

Someday, kids, this will all be yours. And completely tax free! Who's your daddy now?

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The Republican tax bill is a gift that keeps on giving. Literally. I keep finding new nuggets in it that—go figure!—weren’t in the brief talking points that Republicans handed out last week. But if you dig through the bill, there they are.

Here’s the latest: the Republican bill eliminates the estate tax. That’s not news. But it retains the step-up in capital gains. That is news. It hasn’t been a part of previous attempts to kill off the estate tax.

If you’re not following what this means, here’s an example. Suppose you’re uber-rich and you buy $1 billion in Apple Stock. By the time you die it’s worth $3 billion. Your heirs, lucky ducks that they are, don’t have to pay estate tax on that $3 billion. But they do have to pay normal capital gains on the $2 billion appreciation in the Apple stock. At 20 percent that comes to $400 million.

However, the Republican bill eliminates that too. Not only does it eliminate the estate tax completely, but it allows you to “step up” the value of the estate and avoid capital gains taxes entirely. In our example, you literally get $3 billion free and clear, and you owe taxes in the future only on the appreciation above $3 billion.

This is breathtaking. In the past, even hardcore Republicans have agreed that you need to have one or the other: either an estate tax or a normal capital gains tax on investments that you pass along to your heirs. No more. When the super-rich die, their capital gains liabilities are wiped out and their heirs pay no estate tax. This all but eliminates income tax of any kind on the mega-wealthy.

Ivanka and the grandkids must be licking their chops over this. It’s beyond outrageous. WILL ANYONE PAY ATTENTION IF I SAY IT IN ALL CAPS? No? I didn’t think so.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

We have about a $170,000 funding gap and less than a week to go in our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign that ends Saturday. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate