By Jeanne Sahadi@CNNMoneyDecember 11, 2012: 1:57 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney)
A group of wealthy Americans, a former president and two Clinton-era Cabinet members called on Congress Tuesday to pass a much stronger estate tax.
"We need substantial revenue for deficit reduction, public investment and providing economic security," said former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. "A substantial estate tax can provide some of that revenue with no meaningful adverse impacts."
The group -- put together by the liberal advocacy organization United for a Fair Economy -- includes former President Jimmy Carter, investors George Soros and Warren Buffett, Disney heir Abigail Disney and Vanguard Group founder John Bogle.
"We believe it is right morally and economically, and that an estate tax promotes democracy by slowing the concentration of wealth and power," the group said in a statement being sent to Congress on Tuesday.
Richard Rockefeller, an heir to Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, noted that a stronger estate tax would also encourage more philanthropy, since charitable gifts can reduce one's taxable estate.
"If the world I leave behind is one of gated communities, growing inequality and misery among the have-nots, downward mobility for the middle class, a degraded environment and a rotting social and physical infrastructure -- then [my children's] inheritance will be a shabby one -- no matter how much money they get," he said.