Yesterday, Donald Trump gave an economic policy speech in Detroit in his subdued persona, speaking from a teleprompter. He offered a replay of the old, failed GOP trickle down economics, which results in great benefits to corporations and the very rich, but, from past experience, we know that very little benefit trickles down to people who need it most. In the greatest exercise of self control I've seen, Trump did not strike back at several protesters who were quickly removed from the venue, though if looks could kill....
Trump spoke to a group of corporate executives at the Detroit Economic Club, who probably approved of his message. If Trump's goal was in any way aimed at attracting the votes of ordinary people, living in an economy that is struggling to recover from bankruptcy in 2013, his promise to repeal the "death tax" stood out as particularly ironic. The estate tax affects only a very small number of people in the entire country.
Though I assume Trump was also speaking to the wider world, his supporters among working class white men could hardly have been moved by the promise, unless they greatly misunderstand how few people actually pay the "death tax".
The Tax Policy Center estimates that some 10,800 individuals dying in 2015 will leave estates large enough to require filing an estate tax return (estates with a gross value under $5.43 million need not file this return in 2015). After allowing for deductions and credits, 5,330 estates will owe tax. Nearly 85 percent of these taxable estates will come from the top 10 percent of income earners and over 40 percent will come from the top 1 percent alone.