House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) defended his bid to repeal the tax on estates worth over $11 million because he said the law is not "fair" to dead people wishing to pass on all of their wealth to family.
During an interview on Fox News that aired on Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Ryan why his tax reform plan included repealing the estate tax, which conservatives often refer to as "the death tax."
"We're only talking about like 5,000 people a year," Wallace noted. "There's already an $11 million exemption."
"I would say two things," Ryan said as he defensively crossed his legs. "First of all, it's a fairness argument. Second of all, it's a jobs argument. You actually create jobs by getting rid of this death tax. Because you know what kills one family business from passing their business on to the next generation? The estate tax."
"But there are a lot of protections for family farms," Wallace pressed.
"We believe that this is a fairness argument," Ryan remarked, repeating his talking points. "People work hard to build up their business, their farm, their ranch all their working lives. They pay taxes on that money all of their lives. And then when you die, you get it taxed away from you, you can't pass it on to the next generation."
"We just think it's unfair," the Speaker complained. "Death should not be a taxable event. And we should not be stopping people from being able to pass their life's work on to their kids."