‘In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes. _ Benjamin Franklin, 1817
Ben certainly knew what he was talking about, didn’t he? Life and death are two sides of the same coin. We also know there is no such thing as a free lunch; so it is no surprise to anyone that government is not free. We have to pay for the government we want and, sadly, we also have to pay for government we don’t want. So, we pay taxes for all of our different governments. The problem, of course, is most people feel they pay too much in taxes and we pay too much in taxes because we have too much government; at least, we conservative/libertarians feel that way.
Life invariably ends in death. With our federal government, however, we can not escape taxes even in death. In my opinion, there is a no more diabolical tax than the inheritance tax; aka, Death Tax. (Property tax is a close second.) I can’t think of any tax that is as immoral as the is the death tax.
Think about it. It matters not if a person expects to leave an estate worth $10, 000 or $100,000 or $100 million. In each case their estates or their assets or their wealth _ whatever you want to call it _ was acquired over their lifetime from their AFTER TAX INCOME. Their estate is the sum of what they have been able to accumulate after paying taxes. But, the federal government currently has the right the benefits from your lifetime income again. And, it is a big tax! How can that be moral? It’ not moral.
So, who supports the government penalizing people for having died? It’s not a trick question, is it? It’s the usual fiends; liberal Democrats and their crony capitalists pals, who keep their campaign coffers full. The Democrats have never seen a tax they didn’t like and the Crony Capitalist are always looking for a way to profit at someone elses expense.
Timothy P. Carney has an excellent article at Reason.com titled Crony Capitalism vs Market Morality. His article covers several subjects and one of them is the Death Tax:
It’s 2005. While Republicans are fighting to permanently repeal the estate tax (or “death tax,” in their phrasing), a nonprofit called the Coalition for America’s Priorities spearheads the counterattack, deriding the proposed repeal as the Leave No Heiress Behind Act. One television spot, run by a coalition partner called United for a Fair Economy, features a lithe, flaxen-haired, Paris Hilton-esque narrator named “London” thanking the GOP for trying to maximize her inheritance.
Typical class warfare rhetoric (nothing more than envy) of divide and conquer by implying that inheritance is something only the rich enjoy. How sons and daughters have lost their family’s farm or the family’s business or Granpa’s coin collection due to their inability to pay the Death Tax? They don’t mention those things, do they? And, who was funding the liberal think tank, Coalition for America’s Priorities? The insurance companies, of course. The same crony group who partnered with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to bestow us with ObamaCare. Carney writes:
…Yet the entire thing is funded by the life insurance industry.
Why? Because the death tax creates business for life insurers. A major selling point of life insurance is that its benefits, unlike inherited money, can be totally tax-free. Take the estate tax away, and that selling point disappears. Hence the campaign.
The life insurers’ partnership with the left to save the estate tax is a classic case of Baptists and bootleggers, to borrow a famous phrase from the economist Bruce Yandle. In Yandle’s account, the Baptist preacher provides the anti-alcohol campaigner with a moral cover story for his efforts, while the bootlegger, who will profit from Prohibition, bankrolls the effort.
George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cut included a gradual repeal of the estate tax. But because the Bush bill was scheduled to sunset in 10 years, the tax was set to rise from the dead on January 1, 2011. After voters re-elected Bush and increased the Republicans’ Senate majority in 2004, permanent repeal of the estate tax became a GOP priority.
Many liberals wanted to keep the tax, arguing that it helped slow the growth of economic inequality. But the real muscle opposing permanent repeal came not from liberals but from insurers. Steve Ricchetti and his brother Jeff founded Ricchetti Inc., a K Street firm, in 2001. (Jeff still runs the lobbying firm; Steve is now Joe Biden’s chief of staff.) In 2004 the Association of Advanced Life Underwriting hired the Ricchettis to lobby on “issues affecting estate tax repeal,” according to a filing with the Senate Office of Public Records. Ricchetti Inc. was also retained by a larger industry group, the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI).
I have no doubt that if we were to investigate, we would find a 99% correlation between those in Congress who voted to pass the Death Tax with those to whom the insurance companies made campaign contributions.
I don’t have a problem with lobbying per se. All citizens have the right to lobby their government in their own interest. That right is protected by the First Amendment. And, companies do have an obligation to their shareholders to increase profits. The problem comes crony capitalist conspire with the government to benefit at the expense of others. That is not only immoral; that is criminal. And, what could be more immoral and criminal than the Death Tax?
Well, that’s what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?