This is part one of a commentary regarding California state Sen. Scott Wiener’s Senate Bill 378, a California estate tax. He and his fellow socialists are now referring to the redistribution of your hard-earned money as a “birthright” (even to the foreign-born) or as “building wealth and assets among the poor” as they blame all economic inequality on racism, white privilege and the sin of leaving hard-earned savings and assets to your family. The bill completely ignores the amount of tax money we already allot to the poor and the money that people voluntarily give to charity.
All of the following words and quotations are from Sen. Wiener’s press release:
“SB 378, if passed by the Legislature, will appear on the November 2020 ballot. Upon approval, we estimate California will collect between $500 million and $1 billion annually in estate taxes. This new fund will address and alleviate socio-economic inequality and build assets among people who have historically lacked them, including helping low-income children build wealth through savings accounts.
“Wealth inequality is at a historic high in the United States, and it’s obscene that the federal estate tax exemption has escalated so dramatically,” said Mr. Wiener. “As the federal government has slashed the estate tax for wealthy families, working class and low income families – particularly black and Latino families – have struggled and have little or no wealth to pay for college, purchase a home or otherwise invest in their future.”
The press release continues: “The most significant predictor of future financial success is the wealth level of a child’s parents. Throughout history, federal and state governments have helped privileged families develop wealth though various programs, including giving gifts of land, education, government-backed mortgages, farm loans, business subsidies and more. Some of these have been exclusively or disproportionally directed toward white families, leaving out communities of color, particularly black and Latino communities. This has resulted in an average white family having over 40 times more wealth than the average black family and over 20 times more wealth than an average Latino family. SB 378 seeks to address this massive wealth inequality by directing the funds collected from California’s estate tax toward programs that will help build wealth in communities that have historically lacked them. For example, the funds can be used to establish and fund savings accounts for low-income children.”
“We shouldn’t let generational wealth determine who gets an honest shot at the California Dream,” said Jessica Bartholow, policy advocate for the Western Center on Law and Poverty. “Everyone deserves to inherit the opportunity to achieve it, and changing the tax code to reflect that value is crucial.”
“You can only eat three meals a day,” said labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta. “You can only wear one suit of clothes a day. What kind of conscience can people have when some have so much wealth and yet we have so many homeless people on our streets and families that have to work two jobs just to pay the rent and put food on the table? I think this is total corruption, and we have to find ways to change it. This bill offers a viable step toward reducing the corrupt levels of economic inequality we have today.”
“I applaud Senator Wiener for this just and moral legislation,” said Darrick Hamilton, executive director of the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. “By establishing a birthright to capital, California Social Inheritance Accounts offer all Californians a shot at asset security, irrespective of their race, gender or the family financial position in which they are born.”
My comments to follow on Sunday.