Crowding Out: Estate Tax Reform and the Elder Law Policy Agenda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The passage of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act (EGTRRA) in 2001 was a major triumph for the Bush administration, as it represented a victory for its anti-tax agenda. The passage of the EGTRRA, however, has had a number of effects both in terms of tax policy and in the larger elder law policy agenda. In this article, Professor Richard Kaplan, a noted scholar in both elder law and tax policy, takes those who advocate reducing the estate tax to task. Although the exemptions for the estate tax should, and ought to be raised to keep pace with inflation, the very issue, by dominating the elder law policy agenda, has distracted attention away from issues that are far more pressing for older Americans. Professor Kaplan goes on to question whether the estate tax is truly an elder law issue, noting that it does not affect the elderly, only their survivors. After examining the workings of the EGTRRA, Professor Kaplan then explores other elder law issues that are of more importance to elderly Americans, such as prescription drugs, long-term care insurance, advance
health-care directives, Social Security’s earnings test, and employer-provided
pensions, a field that is increasingly more important in the wake of the Enron disaster. Professor Kaplan concludes by calling for more attention to issues that relate directly to the medical and financial quality of elders’ lives, instead of the pecuniary interests of their survivors.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-46
Number of pages32
JournalElder Law Journal
StatePublished - 2002


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