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Will Senate Dems' Death Tax Gamble Pay Off? Will Senate Dems' Death Tax Gamble Pay Off?

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Will Senate Dems' Death Tax Gamble Pay Off?

Senate Democrats bet that their estate tax wager earlier this year would pay off. Now there are signs that their gamble might have been worth it, National Journal Daily reports today.

At issue is the so-called death tax, whose top rate under 2010 law is 35 percent on estates worth more than $5.12 million. If the Senate bill became law and no additional action were taken, the Daily reports, the rate would rise to 55 percent on estates worth more than $1 million. The higher rate would also kick in if lawmakers don't act during the year-end dash to deal with the Bush tax cuts, our colleagues report.

Here's how the politics are playing out:

Republican Senate challengers in Missouri, Montana, and a few other states feature the "death tax" in their stump speeches, but don't appear to be gaining triumphal traction from the issue. GOP strategists say that the estate tax is not a feature in Republican campaign ads.

If Democrats pay no great price, it may fuel the party's belief that Americans want the rich to shoulder a larger share of the cost of underwriting government and paying down the national debt. That could affect the bargaining in Congress over the approaching fiscal cliff.

What's your take on the politics of the estate tax?

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