Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Get rid of the death tax

A number of blogs (here, here and here) are talking about the recent vote to get rid of the death tax.

Most liberals complain that this unfairly benefits the ultra rich. The Dems' strategy on defeating the repeal of the death tax was to conjure up images of Paris Hilton, the poster child for spoiled rich kid, in the minds of the average Americans. What did she ever do to deserve or earn the millions of dollars that she stands to inherit, right?

Most people affected by the estate tax got their money the old-fashioned way - they earned it. The estate tax puts an undue burden on families. It taxes not just "money in the bank" but all assets. This includes farms, land, businesses - anything of value.

My husband's family was one of the original families in Maitland, Florida. They had orange groves. For years, they tilled the land, packed the oranges and sent them around the state for sale. As family members passed on, more and more land had to be sold in order to pay the taxes on the estate. Unfortunately for the family, Maitland was becoming a popular little town and property values were climbing. Today, there is a subdivision where the family land was (at least it was named after the family), a bank where the family packing plant was and absolutely nothing remains of the family orange grove. But at least the government got its money!

If you need more of an argument against the estate tax, this is a great article.

While looking for more information about this, I stumbled onto this very scary "discussion."

Proposal: Why should we have Inheritance? Why should anyone in America simply be born to unequal advantage? Children of the wealthy already get plenty of perks: education, travel, introductions to influential people and networks, etc. Why should they get more for simply 'winning' some 'Birth Lottery'?Instead, I propose the assets of an estate (when both spouses are dead) be put in a national pool. When a person reaches their majority (or some specified age) they are given their fair share from the pool along with all other eligible recipients for that year. It becomes their 'Grubstake' - something to get them started, for school or to start a business or buy some property....

If you really think that this is an ideal way to live, I have a first class ticket to Cuba. Warning: it would be the last bit of luxury you would experience.