From Pine View Farm

The Party of Privilege 4

Still making the rich richer, the poor poorer, and destroying the middle class:

A decades-long campaign by right-wing activists (brilliantly documented by Yale professors Michael Graetz and Ian Shapiro in their book “Death by a Thousand Cuts”) has convinced many Americans that the estate tax poses a threat to countless hardworking families. That was always nonsense, and under the estate tax revisions that almost all Democrats support — raising the threshold for eligibility to $3.5 million for an individual and $7 million for a couple — it becomes more nonsensical still. Under the $3.5 million exemption, the number of family-owned small businesses required to pay any taxes in the year 2000 would have been just 94, according to a study by the Congressional Budget Office. The number of family farms that would have had to sell any assets to pay that tax would have been 13.

Nonsense is the wrong word.

Lie would be better.



  1. Opie

    May 31, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    I’m sure glad I’m not the one who has to sell the idea of an estate tax. The DNC would be well advised to give it up and maybe go for some kind of wealth tax; it would be more palatable to the voting populace. People already pay income taxes all their lives, and the concept of levying another tax after they die on what you didn’t get the first time around just strikes a lot of people as over-zealous.

  2. Frank

    June 5, 2006 at 2:18 pm

    That comment is a tribute to how effectively the Republican crusade to rename it the “death tax” and bamboozle the polity into thinking that it somehow threatened those who, in fact, would in no way be subject to it.

    Personally, I think that those who have been able to become filthy rich because of the benefits provided by living in this country should return proportionally more of their wealth to the society in the form of taxes than the rest of us.

    Sebastian Mallaby states it well:

    The nation faces rising inequality. Since 1980 the gap between the earnings of the top fifth and the bottom fifth has jumped by almost 50 percent. The United States is by some measures the most unequal society in the rich world and the most unequal that it’s been since the 1920s. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Identify the most progressive federal tax and repeal it.

    The nation faces the prospect that inequality will damage meritocracy. When the distance between top and bottom widens, it becomes harder to traverse the gap; people of low birth are stuck at the bottom, and human talent is wasted. What is the dumbest possible response to this? Take the tax that limits what the super-rich pass on to their children and get rid of it. Send a message to hereditary elites: Go ahead, entrench yourselves!

    When evaluating any product, evaluate the product, not the packaging.

    And evaluating the Republican product, hidden under their misleading packaging of spurious concern for the well-being of the average person and religious posturing, is a product of making the rich, richer; the poor, poorer; and erasing the civil liberties that the Founders enumerated in the Constitution of the United States of America.

    They dishonor the blood and treasure sacrificed to build and preserve this nation.

  3. Opie

    June 6, 2006 at 8:40 pm

    I don’t see where I said that I thought it threatened anyone who wouldn’t be subject to it.

    As far as the need of some people to make sure the rich have to pay more, I said they’d be better off to levy a wealth tax. I don’t even know if that idea would pass muster, but it would be more sellable than the estate tax.

  4. Frank

    June 9, 2006 at 8:03 pm

    I was extrapolating from your comment about not wanting to argue in favor of an estate tax.

    As for a “wealth tax,” we used to sorta kinda have one of those. It was a progressive income tax.

    It’s going away too.

    I repeat, the current Federal Administration’s loyalty lies with the very, very rich–look at the behavior and put the rhetoric to the side–and the rest of us be damned.