In a recent edition of your paper, Del. Michael Webert (R-18th) laid out some reasons why the citizens of Rappahannock County should elect state Sen. Tom Garrett to Congress from the 5th District. Some of us beg to differ on a couple of Mr. Webert’s points, starting with the supposed “Death” tax, which he claims must be repealed because it punitively punishes farmers who wish to pass along their operations to their next of kin.
According to Glenn Kessler in his Washington Post Fact Checker column of April 14, 2015, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that with the exemptions, only 0.6 percent of [U.S.] farms would have to pay an estate tax. (Another 2.1 percent would file returns but would owe no taxes.) The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that only 120 farms and small business, where at least half the assets are in farm or business assets, had to pay the estate tax in 2013 (the last year data is available).”
Who the estate tax does affect is the super wealthy, like the billionaire Koch Brothers, who buy valuable farmland as an investment, not the little guys out there working the land every day. And if Mr. Garrett was to get his way and the estate tax were to be repealed, who would pick up the slack? Most likely middle-class and working Americans already burdened by payroll taxes; make no mistake about it, a vote to repeal the estate tax on the very wealthy is a vote for a back-door tax hike for the rest of us.
Mr. Webert goes on the say that Tom Garrett “has distinguished himself as a champion of our civil liberties”; so one must then ask where Mr. Garrett’s views on civil liberties are different from those of Donald Trump, his party’s nominee for president.
Mr. Trump has spoken more than once of his desire to change the laws so that he could go after members of the press in court who have the audacity to write unflattering things about him; his plan to harass and expel from this country people whose only crime is the house they worship in; his intention to order members of the military to commit cold-blooded murder of individuals whose only misfortune is to be related by blood to someone guilty of an act of terror. Clearly, Mr. Trump has never heard of the First Amendment with its guarantee of a free press, the “free exercise” clause of the Constitution, or the Eighth Amendment with its prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Has Mr. Garrett? If so, whose philosophy of civil liberties does he share, Donald Trump’s or our own founding fathers?
If you find Mr. Garrett’s positions troubling, then vote for Democrat Jane Dittmar for Congress on Nov. 8; she is the former chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and past president of the Albemarle Chamber of Commerce. Jane is committed to protecting all of our rights under the Constitution, including the First and Second Amendments, along with opposing tax policies that would turn America into an oligarchy. Stay sane and stay safe and vote for Jane Dittmar for Congress.