Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The United States has utilized an estate tax for over 90 years. In the early 1990s a sustained effort to repeal the tax at both the state and federal levels began. Previous inquiry into the estate tax repeal effort has focused upon the innovative political and communications strategies utilized by repeal advocates. While I believe that these strategies have played a significant role in the success of the repeal effort, I argue that the repeal effort’s success is primarily due to significant changes within the U.S. economic, media and political landscapes that have created an environment ripe for the use of innovative political and communications strategies to create popular support for estate tax repeal. Growth in economic inequality, a decline in economic security, the rise of a counter-establishment of conservative academia and think tanks, and unprecedented changes in the nature of mass media have transformed the U.S. political landscape, allowing estate tax repeal effort to gain popular support.