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Thursday, April 16, 2009

147 - More Lies Than Ever Before: The Right-Wing Renews Its Assault On The Estate Tax

Today you'll hear all about the right-wing's dishonest, but unfortunately effective propaganda campaign against the estate tax.

A preview of the reality check I'll give you, all aspects of which are fully documented:

-- Only 1/5 of 1% of Americans will ever pay even a penny of estate tax. In other words, 99.8% of Americans will never pay any estate tax.

-- Less than 80 small businesses in the entire country will owe any estate tax in 2009, a year which employs the tax level Obama wants to keep.

-- 18 of the wealthiest American families have poured multiple millions of dollars into a lobbying effort to repeal the estate tax.

-- Cutting federal tax revenues by reducing or eliminating the estate tax is part of the larger right-wing strategy of "starving the beast," defunding the government so it has no money left for a social safety net.

-- Shredding the social safety net will increase human misery, suffering, pain and death.

Check out the podcast for all the details.

(PS: Right-wingers, if you want to write in to me, fine, but at least do me the courtesy of listening to the podcast first. Please don't respond just on the basis of the brief preview above. Thanks!!)

#147 Transcript
#147 Transcript as a Word document
#147 Sources

Jack Clark 1:15 PM [+]
Post #750079250313685180

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


You start out by implying that a reduction in the estate-tax is a response to the increasing rate of unemployment and an increase in the number of applications/recipients of Food Stamps. There is no correlation what-so-ever! But you later explain how a reduction in the estate-tax might reduce unemployment, which is a good thing :) To para-phrase ... "'Appreciated Value' is not taxed until it becomes a 'Capital Gain'" (increased market-value isn't taxed until it's actually sold). You're not underestimating the intelligence of your listeners, are you?

I'll explain ...

Take a Game-show contestant who wins a new car. The thrill of winning such a valuable prize is dimenished when taxes are due for it's market value. You have to liquidate assets (more than likely the car itself) to pay the taxes. What happens if a parent dies and leaves shares of stock (am I in a "forced to sell" situation)? Or, what if they leave ownership of a small business (again, am I "forced to sell")?

As you said, much of the value of the estate hasn't been taxed because an increase in the appraised "market-value" isn't taxed until the asset is sold. So, was the "right-wing" really trying to prevent the sale of assets within a "forced sell" environment by people hoping to reduce the burden of higher estate-taxes upon their heirs?

And why is the term "Death-Tax" misleading? It's a tax on the value of your estate AFTER YOU'VE DIED!!! Why should we penalize someone who has gathered a substantial amount of wealth and desires to leave it to their sons/daughters/grandchildren? Everyone works hard to provide for them while we're living ... but when you think about the govt. chopping your earnings in half after you die it's pretty much a deflating incentive.

Summary: "Right-wing"/minority-party attempting to reduce the "forced-sell" situation that could result in the decrease of stock-values and liquidation of many small businesses ... by the heirs of the deceased who've just "WON A NEW CAR" but can't pay the taxes!

Contribution from an American/African-Descent ... Jeff Muad'Dib
posted by Anonymous Anonymous  3:47 PM   [+]
Sorry, 'Jeff Muad'Dib' (great nickname, BTW), but I'm calling bullshit on your response to Jack.

Arguments for or against the estate tax aside, the children of the wealthy or anybody else is not owed anything by their parents/grandparents, period! Especially considering the stupid behavior of such heirs (*cough* Paris Hilton *cough*), getting wealth after death might not be such a good idea, considering that when heirs do get such wealth, they squander it anyway. And to be brutally frank (also to paraphrase an old leftist saying, it's time to 'make the rich pay.') Death and taxes are a necessary part of existence, not something to be avoided.

I could go on, but I think someone else said it best in an editorial a few years ago (which I can't find or link to, unfortunately). But I think that you get the gist of what I'm saying.
posted by Blogger Lionel Braithwaite  3:30 PM   [+]
I don't really see how your comment addresses anything in the podcast, Anonymous.

You promise a connection to lower unemployment, but I don't see you get to that.

Clearly, a person who receives a new car worth $5 million would be in a fantastic situation, even if they had to pay taxes on the last million over the exemption limit (a couple hundred thousand dollars). Your scenario doesn't sound like a burden at all.

If I receive millions from a wealthy benefactor, a generous employer, or just from customers, I have to pay taxes on that income. Why should we expect people who inherit their wealth to pay no tax on income given to them? This creates an incentive to keep wealth within families and reduces the reward of work relative to inheritance, contributing to the poor mobility in the US. Jobs are created through the transfer and flow of assets... hoarding wealth through generations has no multiplier and is the same as burying wealth.
posted by Anonymous Nietz  1:06 PM   [+]
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Great podcast - a must listen to
Jack Clark documents the right's wars on the poor, civil liberties, the right of workers to organize at work and obtain a decent working wage and work conditions, and against other countries who refuse to accept American domination. Jack provides all the sources so that you can see for yourself how the right is out to enrich itself at the expense of everyone else. Great job, Jack!
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