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Representative Vicky Hartzler (r), along with her congressional cohort, voted to repeal the estate tax.

Why are Republicans trying to repeal the estate tax? It’s their nature.

By Paul Waldman April 17 at 12:46 PM

Yesterday, the House voted to repeal the estate tax, apparently in the belief that the American public needed a reminder that the Republican Party is the party of the wealthy. I’ll get to why the arguments they make about this issue are either problematic or just factually wrong (depending on which argument you’re talking about), but as a political decision, holding this vote seems rather foolish….

….And what about those family farms Republicans are always talking about, the ones that are constantly being sold off to pay the estate taxes? They’re a myth. When The Post’s fact-checker Glenn Kessler was doing his estate tax fact check, he asked the office of John Thune, the sponsor of the Senate version of repeal, about the farms we keep hearing about. “Thune’s staff conceded that they could not identify a single farm that had been sold because of the estate tax, but they said some farms had to sell acreage in order to pay the tax.” Nobody else seems to be able to find one, either. You’ll notice that when Republicans talk about this, they always posit a hypothetical family farm being sold off and not “My constituents the Millers had to sell off their farm,” because the Millers are the equivalent of a unicorn. According to the Department of Agriculture, in 2013 only .6 percent – or 1 in 167 – of the estates of farmers who died owed any estate tax at all.

Because of that large exemption, currently at $5.43 million, the numbers for all estates are even smaller. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, “In 2013, the most recent year for which final numbers are available, there were 2.6 million deaths in the United States, and 4,700 estate tax returns reporting some tax liability were filed. Thus, taxable estate tax returns represented approximately one-fifth of one percent of deaths in 2013….”

Still, via Twitter, Representative Hartzler (r) was ever so proud of her intended vote:

Rep. Vicky Hartzler ‏@RepHartzler

Today the House votes to repeal the #DeathTax It kills jobs & hurts economy. It’s time to repeal. #DeathTaxRepeal 6:30 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Much hilarity ensued in some of the social media responses:

Fake Vicky Hartzler ‏@VickiHartzler

.@RepHartzler The only job the “death tax” might kill is the number of dog-sitters that Paris Hilton can afford to hire. 7:24 AM – 16 Apr 2015

SoDakian ‏@SoDakda

@VickiHartzler Since you put it that way, I guess I do feel pretty sorry for the Hilton dogs. 7:32 AM – 16 Apr 2015

B Yates ‏@OldDrum

@VickiHartzler @RepHartzler And, how do plan to replace the taxes we lose when the Sinquefield heirs pay no taxes on his estate? 7:39 AM – 16 Apr 2015

B Yates ‏@OldDrum

@VickiHartzler @RepHartzler What “family” business has been broken up by taxing the extremely wealthy? Just name one. 7:40 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Fake Vicky Hartzler ‏@VickiHartzler

@OldDrum @RepHartzler Uhhh, uuhhhhh, um, well, uh…….. 7:46 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Dan Webster ‏@RevWeb

@RepHartzler @SpeakerBoehner And it will just make the rich, richer. Really? When did you lose the concept of the common good? 8:07 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Ron Powell ‏@diogeron

@RepHartzler @SpeakerBoehner “Death tax” out of Orwell. <.05% pay estate tax. Only affects couples w >$10 million. Help the middle class 8:08 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Richard Badalamente ‏@Nimasema

@RepHartzler @SpeakerBoehner Only 0.2 percent of #VERYrich Americans will owe the tax in 2015. Stop widening #wealthgap. 8:16 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Linda ‏@SudokuG

@RepHartzler @SpeakerBoehner You do know that hardly anyone believes this, except for those who benefit by association with the rich? 8:17 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Fake Vicky Hartzler ‏@VickiHartzler

Won’t somebody think of the trust fund babies!!! If we don’t repeal the death tax, Paris Hilton will only have 6 homes! @RepHartzler 8:19 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Katherine Hull ‏@katspeek

@RepHartzler @SpeakerBoehner That’sWhatCreates TrustFundBabies & Future”New Money”Brats w/o ANY Aristocratic”Noblesse Oblige”Moral Guides 8:20 AM – 16 Apr 2015

David Bluefeather ‏@Plumazul

@RepHartzler so how many people paid an #estatetax last year? Why are you lying to the American People? @SpeakerBoehner #NeoFeudalism 8:21 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Fake Vicky Hartzler ‏@VickiHartzler

If we don’t repeal the death tax, @MittRomney’s sons may have to actually get jobs (firing people). @RepHartzler 8:34 AM – 16 Apr 2015

Interestingly, neither Paris Hilton nor Rex Sinquefield live in the district.