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Thursday, June 15, 2006

46 - Attack On The Estate Tax: Right-Wing Lies And Greed In Plain Sight

Right-wingers in Congress are trying to repeal the estate tax. Fortunately, they failed last week. They fell 3 votes short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a Democratic filibuster on the issue.

Two Republicans, George Voinovich of Ohio and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, defied the GOP leadership and voted with the Democrats.

Since the estate tax repeal was pushed by right-wingers, you've got to expect there were plenty of lies put forth about it in an attempt to gather support. Your expectations would be met.

You've also got to expect that repeal of the estate tax would, as all right-wing measures, benefit not the majority of Americans, but only the richest. On that you'd be correct as well.

I start today by debunking the three big lies about the estate tax repeatedly told by right-wingers, and then we get into the question of, what is it about repealing the estate tax that could compel the often-spineless Democrats to threaten a filibuster, and even induce some Senate Republicans to defy the White House?


Jack Clark 3:15 PM [+]
Post #115040553083758685


Comments:  This section is for listeners. To receive a reply from Jack Clark, you should call the comment line.










I like your most recent broadcast on a most important issue, the Estate Tax. A number of important points were addressed in your Podcast. Nonetheless, I believe the most important issue concerning the Estate Tax was not addressed.

Many times wealth is created at great risk (personal and financial) to the individual. Steve Jobs and Apple Computer is a good example. Steve Jobs (as with most of the computer industry) started Apple Computer in a garage. The business - personal computers - did not exist when Steve Job started designing and selling his first Apple Computers.

As a result of Steve Jobs' vision and high-risk taking, million are now employed in the computer industry.

Move forward a number of years. Steve Jobs has died and his fortune is transfered to his heirs by way of a trust fund.

Trust Funds are run by Trustees. By law, Trustees are conservative with the monies under their control. Trustees invest in blue chip stock. Trustees do not invest in dreamers trying to make the personal computer in their parent's garage.

As a result of the repeal of the Estate Tax, large amounts of American capital will only be invested in safe and conservative securities. The days of the high risk entrepreneur creating new industries are dead! Great ideas will starve for lack of capital. Our economy will suffer greatly!

FORGET ABOUT MORALS ! THE REPEAL OF THE ESTATE TAX IS BAD FOR CAPITALISM !
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  4:33 PM   [+]
 
Our tax system is extremely flawed and needs to be fixed, but and this is a big one. It should only be altered after fiscal responsibility is embraced by the government and our debt is no longer keeping the country on the brink of economic disaster.

That is the most fundamental reason for not altering the tax code in any significant manner.

The flaw in the previous commentor's arguement is at the foundation. Trust funds are the institutions that supply the vast majority of all capital to start-ups. Therefore, you are in essence arguing against your own point.
posted by Blogger Patrick Fogarty  10:34 AM   [+]
 
Also, by Anonymous's line of thinking, if the money stays in the hands of the rich, what incentive is there for creation of new ideas? What we end up with is a glut of people who would not need to contribute to society to enjoy the fruits of the American dream.

Steve Jobs is a great example. It's an example of what happens when someone works their way up with a brilliant idea, and he should get evey chance to enjoy that success. What isn't sure is whether his (hypothetical) great great great grandchildren should still be sponging off of that success. What would have happened if Steve Jobs was not in a garage but instead had the millions to go straight to running his very own corporation? Wouldn't that have the opposite effect where sons of the rich don't need to prove their genius, who instead, go to Yale with monetary merits and run companies into the ground with their incompetence? Does that system of inheiritance just make for weaker children and a weaker country?
posted by Anonymous redkittyred  11:23 PM   [+]
 
And would you rather Steve's money go to other people that are not related? I want my future generations to have a leg up on everyone else. Nothing wrong with that, if everyone planned that way, there would not be endless poverty. But people have a tendancy to spend all they have, can't take it with you mentallity...
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  3:20 PM   [+]
 
Point me to a "rational liberal" who has over $2.0 million that doesn't have his/her assets set aside in tax-exempt trust funds or other creative ways to avoid the estate tax.

Interestingly, the people most likely to pay the estate tax are not the phenomenally rich (on both sides of the aisle). People who have $10 million in assets and above (that's a somewhat arbitrary number, so let's not argue about it) aren't likely to get hit up for almost half their assets. Those people usually pay very expensive lawyers to shelter their money or teach them neat ways to avoid the tax.

On the other hand, the people who have about $3-4 million in assets, most of which aren't liquid, are the ones who suffer under this tax. I won't cart out the tired old farmer story. But imagine if you've been doing a good job over the last 30 years investing your money away for retirement and you just made it to the nice $3 million mark. Then, tragedy strikes and you die. You weren't smart enough to retain the best lawyers in the world while you were alive so your entire estate is now subject to the estate tax. Your family immediately owes the government nearly $500,000. Not bad. You've got $2.5 left, right? Except that money isn't immediately accessible is it? There are fees associated with getting that money. You have to pay lawyers. Not to mention funeral costs and probate issues and all that stuff. All at a time that your family is greiving your loss, mind you. When all is said and done, your family will probably remain millionaires so I guess it doesn't matter, right? Because, the government needs that $500,000 right? They are spending it very well to make all our lives better, right?
posted by Blogger The ReasonableMan  5:13 AM   [+]
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