The New York Times editorializes: “Senate Republican leaders declared their monthlong summer break without making time to vote on repeal of the estate tax. The majority leader, Bill Frist, knew that if he brought the measure to a vote, it would be defeated. A critical mass of senators has apparently realized, to their credit, that abolishing the estate tax would be unforgivably reckless.”
Actually, if senators were “to vote on repeal of the estate tax,” it would certainly pass. As the Times knows full well, there are more than 50 votes in the Senate for permanent repeal of the estate tax, and there have been for years. What’s in question is whether estate-tax opponents have the 60 votes necessary to get the Senate to vote on the bill. The Times’s “critical mass” is a minority. In other words, it’s the people on the Times’s side who are blocking a vote because they know they will be defeated. The Times’s language here is careless at best.