Saturday, August 29, 2009

Let's make a deal

by Cylinsier

Poor little guy. Why's he crying? Well, its because he's spent his life riding on daddy's coattails and he just read today that after 2010, the death tax will go from almost nothing to close to 50%. That's about where it was back in 2001 before George W put in motion a plan to slowly reduce it to nothing. That plan would have to be renewed before the end of next year or the tax rubberbands back to where it was. Those death panels don't sound so bad anymore, do they?

Never mind that the tax only applies to very wealthy estates and won't affect nearly any of us; I agree with the principal that once income has been taxed once, it shouldn't be taxed again. Repealing the death tax isn't a bad thing...of course, we do need a lot of money right now. And its only going to affect really wealthy old people anyway. I guess its just not that big a deal to me or most other people, or probably about 59 to 60 Senators and about two thirds of the house. On top of that, we here at the Elliptical Press did our very own phone survey of dead people to see how they felt about having lost variable amounts of their estate to this tax. None of them even cared enough to respond to our phone calls, indicating that 100% of dead people don't think the tax is a big deal. The GOP must be thinking to themselves, "if there was only some way to encourage a compromise on this. A bargaining chip of sorts. But what could it be?"

Well, in case you weren't going to guess it, here's my suggestion: agree to put the death tax off for another four years or keep it pretty low in exchange for health care reform with a public option. Better yet, attach the repeal of the death tax to the public option bill as a rider. Then, when someone votes against it, their competition in the next election can run ads that say, "YOUR Senator voted against repealing the death tax in 2010. Is this who you want representing you in Washington?" Hey, if people believe the death panel crap, they'll buy it. Sphere: Related Content


Anonymous said...

And if coercion doesn't work, implement a health insurance reform that waves the death tax on all citizens who willingly participate in their own death panel.

scott said...

The "death tax" has always been a non-issue for me. No one i know is likely to end up leaving or receiving an estate of the size that would be subject to it.

One of the most brilliant examples of "Luntz-speak" was changing the pop culture reference from "estate tax" to "death tax." Sounds ever so much more unfair - taxing someone's death and all. Taxing someone's estate, well, the elitist rich bastards with 'estates' probably deserve to be taxed, right?

Didn't the estate tax arise as a way to discourage dynastic wealth and the establishment of a generational ruling upper class that's born to wealth instead of earning their success in the mythic American Way?

i always love the irony of seeing some middle class person railing to the media about how they oppose the 'death tax'. Honey, you've got to be leaving oodles of scratch to your greedy sycophantic heirs before you've a valid motivation to oppose the estate tax.

Great idea to tie reducing the estate tax to passage of meaningful health care reform. Hoist those righties on their own petard!

Wesley said...

Abomb!...You are deceiving yourself to say that only one percent of Americans are affected by the estate tax. That’s only the percent of decedents whose estates will actually write a check each year to the IRS. Twice as many family businesses sell out early, rather than pay the tax. This often means a loss of jobs and a business in the community. Frequently the family business is sold to a larger company who then moves the business and takes the jobs out of the community. Death-tax proponent Warren Buffet makes money by selling “death tax insurance” to small businesses. He also makes money by buying small businesses (at fire-sale prices) when they have to be sold to pay taxes because their founder died without that insurance.

Why is it fair to penalize those who worked hard, created jobs, took risks, achieved success and paid substantial taxes during their lifetime with a 50 percent tax at death? Isn't this discrimination? Targeting those who have more, just because they have more is some sick shit. For instance, women and minorities are very often owners of small and medium-sized businesses. After sacrificing daily to build their businesses by reinvesting their profits, they soon realize that the financial legacy of their hard work, which they hoped to pass on to their children, instead will fall victim to confiscatory taxation and liquidation. And farmers often face losing their farms, but this is not so much because of competition from wealthy agribusinesses or capitalist robber barons. More often, it is because the federal government heavily taxes the estates of people who invested most of their earnings back into their farms and had only meager liquid savings. Workers suffer when they lose their jobs because many small and medium-sized businesses are liquidated to pay death taxes and because high capital costs depress the number of new businesses that could offer them a job. Low-income people are harmed--not only because the general economy is weakened by the death tax's rapacious appetite for family-owned businesses, but also because the death tax discourages savings by encouraging consumption.

The National Black Chamber of Commerce supports permanent elimination or the reduction of the death tax because many of their family businesses are first generation businesses, where children work along side their parents. They would like to see their children continue the business for the benefit of their community and the family. They don’t want to sell the business to pay the estate tax and eliminate the livelihoods for the next generation in addition to the jobs for those who they employ.

Losing a loved one is difficult enough without the financial worry caused by the death tax that makes that loss even more unbearable, especially for gay and lesbian couples. Under current law, married couples are allowed a “marital deduction” that shields assets from taxation when one spouse dies. Gay couples are prevented from getting the same benefit. As a result, they are subject to the death tax twice. A partner’s assets get taxed once and those same assets get taxed again at the death of the second partner.

And the ultimate irony is to idolize Ted Kennedy who was the posture child for riding on Daddy’s coattails.

Cylinsier said...

Well, in response to the gay comment, that's why they should be allowed to marry.

Wesley said...

Cy, for once we agree.

Gertrude said...

Sounds suspiciously like the conservative argument that Cash For Clunkers was disadvantaging “the poorest of the poor” by driving up the prices of used vehicles… In August the Huffington Post proposed another program that would actually target the “poorest of the poor.” In their words: “In a Superclunkers for Clunkers program anyone below the poverty line would be allowed to trade in their old superclunker free of charge and get a refurbished clunker. Such a program wouldn't be free -- it might cost between $350 and $450 to have a mechanic give the desired clunker the once over. Even so, the cost of the program would be a drop in the bucket. Even if one in ten of the clunkers were swapped out for a superclunker (assuredly a high estimate), the total cost of the program would be a mere one percent of the Cash for Clunkers program. And almost all that money would go to mechanics, i.e. American Labor. And for that cost 75,000 families would have safer, cleaner rides. And not just any families either -- we're talking the poorest of the poor.” I’ll second that plan.

Anonymous said... come you deleted the response form Wesley?

Cylinsier said...

I didn't delete any responses from anyone on this post.