Thursday, April 14, 2005

Blame it on the Ditz?

So the Republicans in the US House of Representatives have voted to permanently end the Estate Tax, otherwise known as the "death tax". This is the federal government's final twist of the knife in the backs of Americans, by slapping a final tax on the estates of those who died.

By calling it an "Estate Tax", Democrats have been able to invoke the typical class warfare rhetoric, since most people don't think of having "estates" unless they're filthy rich like Donald Trump. I mean, do you consider your home an "estate"? Probably not! A "castle" maybe. Some of you might even call it a "money pit". But definitely not an "estate"!

But when Republicans began calling it for what it is, a "death tax", it put the tax in a totally new perspective. Now it's seen as the government screwing over widows and orphans. Grandma Beth has died and now the government wants her family home and the old station wagon. The grandkids are screwed out of a college fund because Uncle Security wants to buy another gold-plated toilet seat for the Pentagon.

So now the Reps are in charge of the game and they have decided to kill the "death tax". Do you think that the Dems are going to sit back and simply let it happen? Of course not! They've decided to racket up the rhetoric a bit more for the Senate battle and they've picked an unusual mascot for their cause... Paris Hilton!

You see, when the "death tax" is permanently repealed, Paris Hilton would get 100% of the Hilton family fortune upon Daddy Hilton's eventual departure. Dems think that this is wrong, and they want her to pay what they call "her fair share".

I don't know who's the bigger ditz... the Dems who believe that there is such a thing as "fair", or Paris Hilton! At least Ms. Hilton has an excuse. Nobody's ever asked or expected her to be something more than she is.

Listen folks, I've said it before and I'll say it again.. there is no such thing as FAIR when it comes to taxes! The only people who pay their "fair" share are the ones who do not benefit from any deductions or exemptions.
  • If you make less than $26K a year, then you're not paying your "fair" share of taxes! That's the minimum limit by the federal government to start hitting you up on federal taxes.
  • If you claim any children as dependents, then you're not paying your "fair" share of taxes! In fact, you're actually getting more money from hard-working people like yours truly.
  • If you claim any kind of exemption (student, religious, non-profit), then you're not paying your "fair" share of taxes! All of you idealistic college students who love to wax politics when you're not waxing something else need to bear in mind that you're still being coddled from bearing the full burden of your adult responsibilities. And yes, I know this for a fact because I was that way too.
So before you start pointing fingers at people, you damn well better ask yourself if YOU are in the same situation! There are far more people who are NOT paying their "fair" share of the tax burden than those who do, and they're not all limousine-riding inheritors of daddy's hard earned work like Paris Hilton.

Look, I would rather support a tax system that is completely equitable, not one that is subject to some corrupt politician's definition of "fair". Either that would be a TRUE flat tax (no exemptions, no deductions, no excuses), or the Fair Tax program being proposed in Congress. That way EVERYBODY would be paying an EQUITABLE amount of the tax burden, no matter if you're heiress Paris Hilton or burger-flipping Paula Hilton.

Update (05/01): Right after I first posted this blog entry, I was informed that the "estate/death tax" only kicks in for those who have an estate valued at $1.2 million or higher. But as I point out in the comments section, that still does not justify slapping people with that after they're dead.


Anonymous said...

You're wrong on your comments on the GOP's attempt to repeal the estate tax.

Currently, there is a $1.2 Million exemption before the tax cuts in, so unless "Grandma Beth" has more than $1.2 Mil sitting around, her heirs have nothing to worry about. Moreover, most people find ways to get around the tax. My grandma put the family manse in joint tenancy with my mother before she died, so it wasn't even included in her estate. Her mother and grandmother had done the same years earlier. So the Old Homestead has been passed down through 4 generations without ever being subject to the Estate Tax; and, guess what, my youngest sister now has a joint tenancy with my mother in the place. My grandma and her forebearers were just street smart in their estate planning; but there is a whole battery of lawyers who make a great living finding ways to avoid estate taxes for those who are wealthy enough to worry about them.

Thus, the only people who EVER pay "death taxes" are the filthy rich, like Paris Hilton's family, who just have too much money to get their taxable estates down below the exemption.

Once upon a time, before the big exemption was put in, "ordinary" people paid estate taxes; but that hasn't been the case for many years. The "filthy rich" Republicans who want to eliminate this tax are counting on the ignorance of the American public as to this major change in the law, playing on their fears--which are perhaps fostered by ancient memories of how the tax used to affect family farms in the Depression Era -- to justify another tax break for the rich. Remember that if you cut revenues (by eliminating the estate tax) without cutting government spending -- which the Republicans have no intention of doing, since they are having so much fun funnelling our resources into the coffers of major corporations -- one of two things has to happen: either (1) the rest of the taxpayers, i.e., the middle class, has to make up the difference in increased taxes somewhere else, or (2) the deficit has to increase, meaning "Grandma Beth's" heirs will really have higher taxes to pay in future years.

In short, the repeal of the estate tax is nothing less than another class-based shifting of the tax burden from the very wealthiest Americans onto the backs of the largest taxpaying class, the middle class. You are being played for a sucker by the GOP's

Note: I can't post to your blog -- get server 500 error messages -- but maybe you can post this response for me.....

David 2 said...

re: the estate/death tax...

In all honesty, I was only made aware of the $1.2mil minimum after I initially posted the rant, but it still does not detract from my opposition to the estate/death tax. My opposition to it is based on principle, not politics. I believe that people shouldn't be penalized simply because of the wealth they accumulated in life, and that's exactly what this kind of a tax is. It's a penalty for dying. And the fact that there is a minimum based on wealth makes it even worse... it's a penalty for dying successful.

And if most people find ways to get around this tax, as you said, then that only further supports the belief that the tax needs to be abolished. That's like having a stop sign that nobody pays attention to except those who are "foolish" enough to get in an accident. Either everyone pays it or just get rid of it.
That's one of the reasons why I support efforts to scrap the tax system as it is and put in one that is equitable for everyone, not just for certain groups of people rich or poor. Personally, I'd still favor an absolute flat tax with no exemptions or deductions for ANYONE, but since politicians love to control the power of the tax purse, I just don't see that happening. I've read Congressman John Linder's Fair Tax proposal, and I think this would probably have a better chance of being put in, simply because it actually GIVES taxpayers money up front instead of just taking it away.

Just because someone can "afford" to pay more taxes doesn't justify forcing people to pay it, any more that it would justify forcing nuns to surrender their ovaries. Hey, they can "afford" to give that stuff up right?

Look, I'm not big fan of Republican spending either. They were supposed to be "better" than the Democrats when it came to fiscal responsibility and they're failing miserably at it. I'm still waiting for Bush Junior to use his line item veto power, which the GOP bitched and cried for since the 80's. Then again, he hasn't used ANY veto power at all since he took office.