I don't know which is funnier and weirder in this July 14 Investment News article about the death of George Steinbrenner and its relationship to estate taxes -- the amounts being discussed, or the panting greed of the politicians.
Here are a couple of excerpts, see what I mean:
"...The loss of tax revenue from Mr. Steinbrenner's death will no doubt have lawmakers in Washington clamoring to make the 2010 death tax retroactive to the '09 rate. Already, three other billionaires have died this year, including Houston oilman Dan L. Duncan, who left behind an estate believed to be worth nearly $10 billion. That's a lot of tax dollars being left on the table.
"In June, three U.S. senators sent a letter criticizing the lack of an estate tax, citing the deaths of Mr. Duncan and others. “At a time when we have a record-breaking $13 trillion national debt and an unsustainable federal deficit, people who inherit multimillion- and billion-dollar estates must pay their fair share in estate taxes,” said the letter, which was signed by Sens. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I."
OK, point 1: Private citizens have money, and we, the Congress, want some! "That's a lot of tax dollars being left on the table." Is that drooling I see? Let's disguise our bald greed with the judicious if inane use of the word "fair" as in "their fair share." A "fair" share, to a Congressman, is every nickel he can get from you. Preferably all of it. Don't waste your time trying to pin one of these jerks down to a definition of a "fair share." You got it? They want it. You big mean greedy SOB -- you just want to keep it because you earned it, you created it, you made it grow. And you can't pass it on to your heirs, like any normal human being would want to! That's "unearned income!" Which makes me wonder what the Senators who signed that letter have done to "earn" George Steinbrenner's billions?
Point 2: Look at all these billionaires getting away with their money! A couple at a billion each; one guy at ten billion! Damn! Hey wait a minute -- how much did they say that deficit was? Thirteen trillion?!?! Jesus, if you took every nickle from these billionaires you couldn't make a dent in that deficit! You couldn't add up the top 100 earners in the country to retire one of those thirteen trillion dollars in planned spending!
There's literally not enough money in the US economy to cover that deficit! And attempts like this to grab other people's money will have the consequence of depressing economic performance even further!
I have an idea! Why don't you go back and unravel some of that planned deficit spending, since we don't have the money and never will. Oh, I forgot -- no Congressman ever got elected or reelected by cutting spending.....