CommunityFDL Main Blog

Repeal the Bling Tax…Erm…Estate Tax Or Not?


[Huge thank you to Ian Welsh for sending this post along.  I’ve always wondered why people were so mean to Paris Hilton as to think that she ought to pay taxes…especially when all those pesky maidservants want a higher minimum wage.  How gauche!  Thank goodness those Senate Republicans are there to tell them to talk to the hand!  (Okay, so Paris Hilton may not actually treat her staff that way — it’s not like I know her and we partay or anything, but the Senate Republicans sure do think that folks working minimum wage jobs can keep feeding their families on dirt poor wages.  Nothing says "we’re for family values" like forcing people to work three jobs to make ends meet.  Classy.)  Ian regularly blogs at The Agonist, and is worth a read and a good conversation over a beer or four.  — CHS]

So we’re back to estate tax repeal time again. Because, in the US, the rich aren’t rich enough…

From Income Inequality in the United States, 1913-1998, Pikketty and Saez) share of top 10% wage earners to 98.jpg

As things stand right now here’s the breakdown (from the tax policy center):

estate tax table 2004.gif

To summarize:

  • The top 1% pays 94.8% of all estate taxes.
  • The top 1/2 a percent pays 86.5% of all estate taxes
  • The top .1% pays 51.3% of all estate taxes

Most people will never be effected by the Estate Tax. Ever. But you will be effected if it’s repealed.

The general estimate of the cost of repeal is a trillion dollars a decade. A hundred billion a year. The government is already bleeding money, in both deficit and substantial debt. Any tax repeal – whether estate, or capital gains, or corporate taxes, wille eventually have to be made up (yes, the creditors will eventually want their money back.) Estate tax repeal will be paid for at some point, by the middle class. And by your children.

TANSTAAFL – There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. If you want a tax cut now, you pay for it later – with interest. If the rich want a tax cut now, the middle class will pay for it later, with interest.

But I want to say something more about the estate tax.

There is no fairer tax. If it were up to me, it wouldn’t just be reinstated to it’s full 1999 level, it’d be increased to tax even more from the richest DEAD PEOPLE.

That’s right – dead people. By all means, let’s call it the death tax.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t expect to take it with me. I don’t think my money goes with me wherever it is I go when my heart stops beating. I don’t think I need money after I’m dead.

And I don’t think my heirs need more than a few million dollar head start over everyone else. Sure, if I ever have kids, I’d want to give them a head start, but I don’t deceive myself that they did anything to, like, deserve it, other than with the "lucky sperm contest".

Taxation is a zero sum game. You can take the money from dead people – who don’t need it or you can take it from living people who do need it.

You can tax it from the kids of the rich, who did nothing to deserve it and who can probably make it on a few million from Daddy and Mummy; or you can tax it from people who actually earned it by the sweat of their own brow.

Oh, and those stories about people losing their family farms to the estate tax? Myth – no one has ever been able to find even one.

The estate tax, the death tax, is about letting people have more money when they’re alive, and only taxing it when they’re dead.

And that, to me, makes it better than every other tax in existence.

So forget estate tax repeal – let’s turn it around and increase the estate tax. Because dead people don’t need money, and living people do, and no matter how much rich people love their kids they didn’t do anything for the money, and a head start of a few million is enough for anyone.

[Yeah…but Paris clearly needs more bling.  Whatevah.  –CHS]

(Fabu partay photograph found at Jump Cuts.  Nothing says money like a half-naked heiress and some guy in a mesh shirt and camo speedo thingy.  Or not. Is that Pauly Shore?!?  Isn’t his 15 minutes over yet?)

Previous post

Open thread - name your top LGBT flicks

Next post

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

His homeblog is at