Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Estate Tax: A New Conspiracy Theory

Post by David Held

The political fight over the estate tax, the subject of a weekend article in The Wall Street Journal, may soon be re-engaged in Congress.

In 2001, President Bush pushed through a law that gradually decreased the levy on heirs over the course of a decade, until the estate tax finally disappears altogether in 2010. In 2011, though, the tax will rebound to its pre-Bush levels.

This policy quirk has spawned lots of “throw momma from the train” jokes among tax wonks, since potential heirs stand to gain a lot by having their rich relatives die in 2010. But the estate tax law also has implications for the federal budget.

Let’s say Congress, distracted by health care reform, leaves the current estate tax laws untouched. If a rich person dies at 11:59 p.m., Dec. 31, 2010, the government won’t get a dime. But if, through the wonders of modern Medicare-financed medicine, he manages to hang on another minute and instead dies at the stroke of midnight on Jan. 1, 2011, the government collects 55 percent of his net estate worth over $1 million.

Hmm. I smell a new job for those “death panels.”

Click here to read on!

1 comment:

  1. I think this estate tax post December 31, 2010 is absolutely absurd. If someone has more than a million dollars of wealth, most likely that will have a couple million and be very rich. However, taking 55% of ones hard work is insane. The person worked hard all his/her life to earn that money and now wants to leave it behind to make sure the designated person(s) is financially comfortable. The government should have no right to enforce this law.
    -Shawn Chandok