The DEATH TAX! The Proliferation of Dumb costing practically all of US

Oh the priorities of Members of Congress and the bandwagon effect of misinformation.

We have 9 bills and 2 resolutions in Congress. These 9 bills combined have approximately 300 cosponsors (I did not take the time to see how many cosponsored multiple bills). [It’s true that all of these bills will not reach the Floors of the respective Chambers. I merely went to Thomas and typed ‘Estate Tax’ for the numbers listed above].

From the 15 April edition of The Hill:  “Both parties fired up over estate tax” concerning the vote scheduled in the House. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise  (R-LA) said Tuesday that it is “morally wrong” for a family’s toughest decision after a death to be figuring out the next steps for their business. “That’s not supposed to be something people have to deal with when they’re grieving for the loss of a loved one.”

“Morally wrong, Mr. Scalise?” We’re not talking about things that happened a dozen or years ago sir. Like I wrote my opinion of you did not change following the story first reported by Lamar White on his site cenlamar.

Here, however what is wrong Congressman Scalise is that REPEAL the DEATH TAX may be a popular cry to get votes, but please relate the facts.

  • A) The exemption level for an individual is $5.43 million (couple $10.86 million) so only amounts exceeding that amount are subject to the “DEATH TAX.”
  • B) Last year a total of 970 families would have benefited from a repeal of the DEATH TAX.
  • C) Repealing the DEATH TAX to benefit approximately 1,000 families per year over a 10 year period will cost approximately $270 billion.

I agree that many things that people must do following the death of a loved one can be some of the most difficult an individual experiences. The emotions and just one’s own personal grieving mechanisms can cloud judgments and honestly slow movement faster than a dense fog over the Atchafalaya Basin can stall traffic on I-10.

The truth, however, is that cancelling the Death Tax will not assist many people grieving the loss of a loved one. Most, meaning practically all of us, in the United States will never have to make any decision because we are not heirs to estates worth more than $5.43 million.

My Grandparents and my Mom left love, knowledge, and memories upon their respective passings which are priceless to me, but nothing that had any financial value. Most likely, unless I pass away first, the same will be true of my Dad.

I’m not an accountant so I’m not familiar with GIFT TAXES professionally or personally. Leaving the grief aspect out and assessing only in a fiscal sense if someone gives you control over property whether in life or death are financials between a gift recipient and heir really that different? Rates aside, the primary difference on the surface appears to be that instead of the donor paying the tax, the heir or person receiving a gift pays the tax.

Maybe this is representative of the mindset, perhaps not, of those who favor this House action supported by Congressman Scalise, but the highest rated comment on this Hill article reads:

“The sheer glee liberals exhibit when confiscating other people’s money and property tells me everything I need to know about liberals. For some reason, they feel rich people should be punished. If my grandfather had a billion dollars earned through busting his rear to build a company and he wants to leave that money to me, why does that make you so angry? We didn’t hurt anyone.”

Is There a Double Standard or is it just my perception?

  • Am I missing the part where this individual did anything to earn a billion dollars, or was that money earned because his or her grandfather busted his rear to build a company?
  • Isn’t the heir benefitting merely from being born into the family?
  • If taxing the value greater than $5.43 million is punishment, then what about that child born into a family with nothing?
  • What about that child forced to provide for his or her own shelter, clothing, food and well-being at an age where a child should be able to believe in Santa Claus and dream of unicorns?

If everyone truly had equal opportunities, why is one child punished and having to bust their rear for pennies while another is angry because they only receive $5.43 million tax free just because their granddad, great granddad, or some ancestor many generations passed busted their butts and the ancestors can merely sit on their butts and thrive financially doing nothing?

Privilege doesn’t exist?

We all have the same opportunities?

No, we can all work.

Here’s my personal example of privilege just from being born

Let us say that someone standing next to me might be able to outwork me 100 fold and may have 3 times my intelligence and ability, but at the end of our respective lives I’ll still be further along a path merely because I started life picking strawberries and that I’m not old enough to truly remember when my Dad did not work in retail for K&B.

Folks that’s real life and even though I cannot identify a specific individual in my example above, I accept that it is a fact because it has happened throughout the history of the United States. My ancestral prosperity might not sound great in a monetary sense. My Grandmother when she passed away had a closet full of washed clean assorted sized pieces of used aluminum foil to be reused. Every place I have ever lived, you’ll find a stick with a bent nail which I’ll take on a walk to pick up aluminum cans to sell at a salvage yard. Graduate degrees or not, I’d probably be the same mindset because that’s how the adults I respected as a child in the Hungarian Settlement lived.  Make do; waste not and want not.

My privilege was being born into an environment with love, encouragement to learn, and role models to instill the mentality that I’m supposed to earn things and to overcome obstacles. I recognize and acknowledge the importance of that as I try to teach others what was taught to me. What I had in those respects was far greater than some of my friends, and it was not because I was or am “better” than any of them.

The “morally wrong” thing is to repeal the estate tax because doing so only assures that privilege and aristocratic dynasties can continue merely because some ancestor succeeded and the heir feels like they have “earned” what someone else shed blood, sweat, and tears obtaining. Even if that ancestor earned those riches by suppressing or even stealing from the ancestor of one of the heir’s peers, it’s apparently that peers fault for being born in the wrong family.

The budgetary thing that Mr. Scalise and others supporting this repeal fail to mention:

 The Estate Tax Is a Significant Revenue Source

The estate tax will generate about $246 billion over 2016-2025 under current law, according to CBO. {Footnote: Congressional Budget Office, “Updated Budget Projections: 2015 to 2025,” March 9, 2015,}

While this is less than 1 percent of federal revenue over the period, it is significantly more than the federal government will spend on the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency combined. Most budget experts agree that more deficit reduction — on top of the significant measures of recent years — is needed to address our longer-term fiscal problems as the economy strengthens.

Even without the loss of estate tax revenues, deficit reduction is difficult. Cuts enacted so far will affect funding for programs ranging from education and medical research to law enforcement and environmental protection, as well as for programs that alleviate hardship and expand opportunity for low- and moderate-income Americans. It would be irresponsible for policymakers to add more than $246 billion to the task of deficit reduction by cutting the taxes of a few wealthy estates while at the same time asking for further sacrifices from less-fortunate Americans.

{Footnote: The cost of repeal would exceed the $246 billion that the estate tax is expected to raise over the decade because repeal would further encourage taxpayers to hold assets with unrealized capital gains until death to avoid taxation}.


Who is going to replace that amount of revenue?

How will we achieve deficit reduction by decreasing revenue in and never agreeing long enough to even hold cordial, let alone rational, discussions on what can be cut to reduce the deficit.

Equal treatment can at times be a noble thought, but as humans we are often unwilling to recognize that we have been the ones who have received special treatment and thus oppose that same treatment afforded to others.