Death and Spouses

In the past week Congress has passed bills abolishing the “marriage penalty,” which taxes some dual-income husbands and wives at a greater rate than singles, and the “death tax,” which taxes all estate wealth over $675,000. (President Clinton may veto the bills.) In 1998, Robert McIntyre argued that the “marriage penalty” is more myth than fact. In 1997, former Sen. Bob Packwood squared off against economic columnist James Glassman in an estate-tax “Dialogue.” And earlier this week, Slate’s Michael Kinsley debunked specious conservative arguments against the estate tax. Another recent bill, also yet to be signed, is intended to lower prescription drug prices by allowing pharmaceutical companies to re-import American-made drugs that have been exported to other countries. Earlier this year, John Buntin explained  why prescription drugs are cheaper in Canada than in the United States.