One frequently cited reason for the Democrats' uninspired
response to George W. Bush's $1.6 trillion tax cut plan is
that they're no longer privy to the White House's staff of
number crunchers. There once was a time, under President
Clinton, when these tax wizards worked on behalf of
You could be forgiven for not knowing that Linda Chavez, George W. Bush's appointment for labor secretary, is a fierce opponent of a minimum wage hike. Or that she opposes affirmative action. Or that she supports school vouchers. Or that she once served as the president of a group called U.S. English, which lobbied to make English the country's official language.
In early April, a group of prominent African-American businessmen led by Black Entertainment Television mogul Robert Johnson ran a full-page advertisement in The New York Times and The Washington Post calling for an end to the estate tax. What was notable about the ads wasn't their message -- the movement to repeal the estate tax has been building for some time -- but who was paying for it. As a group, African Americans -- traditionally Democrats -- are not who you'd expect to see agitating to abolish a tax that affects only the wealthiest Americans.
Somebody once told me, åJim, we ought to call you Mr. Death,'" Jim Martin tells me proudly. "I'll have you know, I don't mind that appellation." These days, Mr. Death has reason to crow. Martin credits himself with coining the term "death tax" in 1993 as a usefully derisive nickname for the estate tax. As the founder and president of the 60 Plus Association--sort of a conservative AARP devoted to repealing the estate tax--Martin is one of the leading advocates for the tax's abolition. His crusade is enjoying considerable success. In April, for the second year in a row, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the tax, with Republicans again frustrating Democratic leaders by drawing substantial cross-party support.