Opposing political and social interests have long conducted a vigorous debate on whether gratuitous transfers of wealth should invoke federal excise taxes. Attempts to eliminate wealth transfer taxes reached a peak in the summer of 2000, when the Senate passed repeal legislation overwhelmingly approved by the House of Representatives. Those supporting repeal point out that wealth transfer taxation discourages work and savings while encouraging consumption. They further assert that transfer taxation revenue does not constitute a very significant portion of total federal revenue. The supporters of repeal also emphasize how the complexity of these taxes has created a parasitic service industry that artificially extracts value from the national economy.

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