Hatch: Obama should repeal the 'death tax'

“We ought to repeal the death tax,” Hatch said on the floor Monday. “It might make sense in a college social justice seminar but it doesn’t make sense in a thriving economy.”

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Hatch said it was time for Obama to stop campaigning and show leadership by ending the estate tax.

“We should really get rid of the whole death tax but I don’t think my friends on the other side of the aisle are willing to do that, so the least we could do is maintain that level of 35 percent on everything above $5 million."

Hatch called on lawmakers working out a deal to avoid tax hikes on the middle class to also consider at least extending current estate tax rates and not allow "bare-knuckle politics" to get in "the way of progress." 

“The fiscal cliff presents us with a pivotal moment,” Hatch said. “When it comes to the death tax do we stand for families and jobs, or do we stand for redistribution of wealth no matter the consequences?”

Hatch pointed out that there are significantly more farms across the United States that are worth more than $1 million than those worth more than $5 million. In a chart, he showed that in South Dakota, which has been hit hard by drought this year, 15 percent of family farms are worth more than $5 million, whereas 49 percent are worth more than $1 million.

Hatch said he’s heard that the estate tax is the No. 1 reason why family farms are sold rather than kept in the family.