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As Long as We Remember...

November 4, 2011

Who gets the credit if death tax is eliminated?

Patrick Kjellberg

Paraphrasing an old adage: if you refuse to ever use an option, it will no longer be an option. Such is the case in modern day politics to the point to what is absolutely nonsensical and at times ridiculous. A prime example is the inheritance tax and the liberals.


Just the concept of taxing somebody in the grave seems absurd, especially in today’s world with ridiculous amounts of taxation that an individual goes through during his life time. Stunning as it may be, this democratic capitalistic society we live in will soon become a socialist democratic society. The fact is that when taxation reaches more than 50 percent, then the government is spending more than the populous that it governs, and then – by definition – it is more socialist than it is a capitalistic society.


So, short of the true socialists, it may be time to eliminate one of those taxes, maybe even just to show that a tax can be eliminated. The closes I have seen to the elimination of a tax was Gov. Jim Gilmore in Virginia when he ran a campaign on eliminating the car tax. It was reduced, but the tax remains.


Let’s get back to the good for example! That elusive death tax that the conservatives are so eager to eliminate and the liberals so foolishly defend. The comical aspect is that this is no longer a tax on the rich, but a tax that has sincerely landed on the shoulders of the middle class.


Take for example the death of the Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis. Passing away last month at the age of the 82, he held a 40% ownership in the Oakland Raiders. Guess what percentage his family owns after his death. If you said 40%, great job! If you thought it was something less, google estate planning. There was no cost to the family other than legal fees. The government never saw a penny.


It is easy to see the rich avoid the death tax through estate planning. So, it is not a tax on the rich, but a tax on the middle class. Not having this tax on the middle class would be a windfall for many American families that would do wonders for their balance sheets and allow them to eliminate debt, or put it toward their grandchildren’s education.


Ironically, left to their own devices, most family fortunes or businesses are lost somewhere near the third generation. Without the death tax and so forth, there would be less pressure for trust and other aspects that insure the wealth is never returned to the general population.


Not to mention the wasted production possibilities that are spent by the rich in their estate planning, and the wasted time that the middle class has to spend sorting out the mired taxes from the municipalities to the federal government. This has an emotional toll that drags pain from the loss so much longer than necessary. So I ask, where is the compassion from the liberals on this aspect of the death tax?


If you were a liberal politician, why wouldn’t you put this chit on the table? The Republicans are clamoring to have it; and, in reality, the death tax no longer fits into the taxes of the filthy rich. So, let it go, and negotiate something that will really help the middle class. Then take the credit for eliminating a tax, something that could be rarely said by any elected official or party.


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