[FoRK] A plea for the death tax

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Mon Feb 23 13:08:33 PST 2009

Kevin Elliott wrote:
> On Feb 21, 2009, at 2:05 PM, Russell Turpin wrote:
>> It has become a shibboleth among the right wing that the death tax is
>> the worst of all taxes. As with almost everything else, their views on
>> this are quite topsy-turvy. Just after I die strikes me as the one
>> time I wouldn't suffer much from preparing and paying tax.
> My objection to the death tax is 100% moral.  I think the idea that in 
> the midst of any families struggles with the death of a loved one the 
> government would show up and say "Oh, we'd like our pound of flesh 
> now", goulish and repugnant.  I don't care that it's a tax on "rich 
> people".  Rich people don't have people who love them?
> Thinking of my wife, my parents, or god forbid my children in the 
> midst of putting their life together after my death having to open a 
> letter saying "We're the IRS, and here is the bill you owe us" is 
> enough to convince me that the death tax is a stupid idea.
I think that the way it should work, and the way it is somewhat 
engineered to work I think, is that anyone who has any significant 
estate should have all of this thought out well ahead of time.

> Although the above tax table looks like a system of progressive tax 
> rates, there is a unified credit against the tentative tax which 
> effectively eliminates any tax on the first $3,500,000 of the estate 
> (or the first $3,500,000 on a combination of taxable gifts during 
> lifetime and a taxable estate at death), so the federal estate tax is 
> effectively a flat tax of 45% once the unified credit exclusion amount 
> has been exhausted.

> -Kevin
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