I have written before about one of the greatest cons the republican party has ever pulled on the American people (Link), and the con goes on.
The great fleecing of America I am talking about is the estate tax. Or, for those of you who worship at the alter of Rush, the death tax.
Harold Meyerson wrote a good piece on the continued push by the GOP to create a permanent aristocracy in the country - Estate Tax Lunacy.
The proposed measure would gut another trillion dollars from the treasury over a decade by eliminating the estate tax. A bone headed Democrat from Montana, Max Baucus, is working on a deal that would only plunge us another half a trillion dollars in the hole as a compromise.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, only 19 family farms in the entire country had to sell off any assets to pay estate tax in 2000. There are 2,000,000 farms in this country. Only 94 family owned businesses had to pay estate taxes.
This means the family farms and businesses had to have assets over $3.5 million as a couple or $7 million for spouses in order to get hit with a tax bill.
Let me say this once and only once - if you have over $3.5 million in assets and don't have life insurance (which is business expense deductible) to cover the estate tax, you have absolutely no sympathy from me and you should fire your financial planner post-haste.
As for the non-farmers and non-family business owners - you know, the likes of the Vice President Dick Cheney, the repeal of the estate tax would save him between $16 and $61 million. Donald Rumsfeld would save between $32 million and $101 million. Ex-Exxon Mobil chairman Lee Raymond would save $164 million. The Wal-Mart heirs would save in the billions - to all of these people, who want to pass along money that mostly has never been taxed to begin with, I say:
a) Life insurance. Check it out.
b) If after leaving your heirs million upon billions of dollars and they still can't make it in the world, the world probably isn't missing much.
Look, I am sorry if Paris Hilton would only be able to throw herself a million dollar birthday party instead of a two million dollar party. But, hey, life sucks. I would rather the money be funneled back into education so the kids who actually have something constructive to provide to society can rise to the top.
I have a pretty earning potential over the course of my life. In the end, if I have (inflation adjusted) over $3.5 million to pass along to my children along with a top notch education and evey other benefit I can give them, and they still can't make it - well, then I failed as a parent.