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Here's how one Democrat thinks people succeed in America: 'Luck and, whatever, hard work


Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said Thursday that luck is the biggest reason why people succeed in America, although he gave a sort of half-hearted nod to another possible reason.

"America is a wonderful country," he said. "We all have a chance to make it. Some make it better than others. That's because luck and, whatever, hard work."

(AP) Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) said Thursday that successful Americans are successful because of 'luck and, whatever, hard work.' Image: AP

McDermott made this claim in the context of a debate over legislation to eliminate the estate tax, which forces people to pay a 40 percent tax on the value of what they inherit from their families once a certain amount is inherited.

McDermott argued that the estate tax shouldn't be repealed, essentially because the money is there to be taken. "We're doing this to a group that has no problems whatsoever," he said.

McDermott and other Democrats agreed that those who stand to inherit money, property or other valuables from their relatives should give "something back" for the "common good."

"The fact is that if you've had a little luck, don't you owe a little something back to the country?" McDermott asked.

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.) noted that the estate tax bill would create $269 billion in new debt over the next decade, and said it makes no sense to impose that cost on every American when the rich can pay it.

"You're telling me that this helps the common good?" he asked.

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