April 16th (Tax Day), Peterson voted in favor of the "Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015", a bill which gives a tax break worth $269 billion over 10 years to the richest few thousand estates in the country. The bill adds that cost to the federal debt.
The measure benefits only the top .2 percent of the population because the other 99.8 percent of the country doesn't own enough wealth to ever pay the tax.
The bill effectively repeals capital gains taxes for people with large estates, allowing investments to be passed down without any taxes on their growth over the years. This federal tax of 0% on investment profits contrasts sharply with the 25% tax on the income of middle class Americans (or 10% income tax for poor people and 39.6% tax on "regular" income for the wealthy). Heirs would only have to pay taxes on gains made after the date they get the inheritance.
This vote by Representative Peterson is just the latest demonstration of his radical conservatism in the 2015 congressional session. On the first day of the new session, he voted with Republicans in their latest effort to dismantle Social Security. He has joined the GOP in their continuing efforts to undermine the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), which is the keystone of Dodd-Frank financial reform. Collin Peterson has also voted for the Keystone XL pipeline (Canadian tar sands to southern refineries, with the final product being exported off-shore). He voted with Republicans to change the ACA’s definition of full-time work from 30 to 40 hours per week (only full-time workers receive company paid health insurance). Peterson also voted to weaken Dodd-Frank in an act which combines 11 different bills into one big package and includes provisions to weaken the Volcker Rule, weaken derivatives provisions, and undermine investor protections.
It is abundantly clear that Representative Collin Peterson is not looking out for the 99%. He cares nothing for the "common welfare" or the interests of his constituents, most of whom are not wealthy. His votes promote and condone greed and selfishness, and widen the income inequality gap. He is obviously a Democrat in name only, and his continued presence on the Democratic ticket deprives voters of a choice of representation. It is long past time for the Minnesota DFL to recognize Peterson for what he is: a radical Republican.