GOP Rolls Out Tax Cuts For The Rich Proposal


Senate Republicans are rolling out a plan to permanently extend an array of expiring tax breaks that would deprive the Treasury of more than $4 trillion over the next decade, nearly doubling projected deficits over that period unless dramatic spending cuts are made. The measure, introduced by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this week, would permanently extend the George W. Bush-era income tax cuts [. . .] rein in the alternative minimum tax and limit the estate tax to estates worth more than $5 million for individuals or $10 million for couples.

Dems can not duck a vote on this issue, and of course, there is no reason to want to. But politically stupid is the defining phrase for Democrats. In any event, the issue will not go away. So it is time to put the Obama middle class tax cuts to a vote. In BOTH houses of Congress.

Speaking for me only

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    The deficit (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by MO Blue on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:52:08 AM EST
    Cost of Republican proposal $4 trillion dollars over the next decade. Republican plan to pay for tax cuts.

    Asked how McConnell would cover the cost of his proposal, the Tax Hike Prevention Act, aides noted that he has backed a bipartisan plan to freeze spending that would save an estimated $300 billion over the next decade - a drop in the bucket compared with his $4 trillion-plus plan.

    For the rest of the cash, McConnell has said he will turn to the same place as Obama: a presidentially appointed, bipartisan deficit commission that is due to issue its report in December.

    "This is not going to be your typical commission that's going to issue a report, sit on the shelf and gather dust," McConnell said last month on NBC's "Meet the Press." "We'll wait for their report. And I intend, if it's a responsible report that I can support, to encourage my members to support it."

    Oh, please...everyone knows that tax cuts (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by steviez314 on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:40:37 AM EST
    pay for themselves.

    It's been true as long as the Universe has revolved around the Earth.

    Ever since the cowboys rode the dinosaurs.

    Just like the Iraq (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:48:38 AM EST
    invasion would pay for itself..

    The Intelligent Designer had it all worked out six thousand years ago. And if we keep our word, he'll keep his.


    I would really like to see (none / 0) (#1)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:50:13 AM EST
    some Republican justify the estate tax change.  SMALL BUSINESSES, NY IS EXPENSIVE!!!! doesn't really apply in this case.

    How rich is rich?  I guess we finally have an answer.  $5 million dollars per person.  Nothing less than that will suffice.

    Those poor $1 million-aires...

    Even if the estate tax rates and (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:47:13 AM EST
    lifetime exclusions went back to their previous levels, good estate-planning will still mitigate - as it did before - a significant amount of tax that will have to be paid if people do nothing to protect themselves.

    But the same is true with income tax: those who have high income levels will continue to utilize every opportunity to shelter income, while those with garden-variety income from wages will not.

    The GOP will once again boo-hoo about "family farms" that will have to be sold if the estate tax goes back to its former levels - but this is just a crock - what a surprise!  If family farms are being sold, it is more likely because no one in the family wants to farm than it is because of a high tax bill on a non-liquid asset.

    The current exemption is $3.5MM per individual - which is plenty large enough to shelter a lot of estates from taxes.  A lot.  But, it doesn't shelter them from state estate taxes - at least not in MD.  When the state death tax credit was phased out, MD went back to the $1MM exemption and the old rates for figuring the credit so that it could recoup some of the revenue that was lost.

    The exemption amount doesn't even tell the whole story about the size of one's estate, since, as I mentioned above, there are things people can do to avoid even counting some assets toward that exemption: put assets in an irrevocable trust that you, as the grantor, cannot change, and you have just exempted those assets from being included in your estate.  Which is not to say that at some point down the road, someone or some entity will not have to report those assets, but if you can kick them down the road to individuals with smaller estates, you can still derive a benefit from this kind of planning - assuming you are willing to cede control over these assets during your lifetime.

    The exemption is fine at the $3.5 MM level - going higher, now, is just greedy.


    What $3.5M level? (none / 0) (#23)
    by coast on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:59:02 AM EST
    It goes back to $1M Jan '11, if Congress does not act.

    The level for decedents dying in 2009 - (none / 0) (#30)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:14:46 PM EST
    the last year of the Bush rates - was $3.5MM.  Sorry if I was confusing - it's just that I have been wrapping up some returns for decedents who died in late 2009, so I have those rates in my head!

    There was talk leading up to 2010 that if the rates were extended, the most likely scenario was that it would be done at the 2009 levels; even though there would be less revenue than if the levels went back to the pre-Bush rates and exemptions, it would still be more than if the exemption went up to $5MM.  And it would be easier to sell politically.

    The Congress could have acted in 2009 to make permanent the then-current rates and exemptions, but they sat on their hands - they are still sitting on their hands.

    So, I just started working on an estate of someone who died earlier this month with an estate that is on the order of $30MM; the feds will collect NO revenue from this estate (unless whatever the Congress does somehow is retroactive to some date that this decedent would not be covered by).


    Had you pegged for a doctor of some kind, (none / 0) (#36)
    by coast on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:42:35 PM EST
    not a CPA. :)  Good luck with the trust returns.  I'm still getting stuff in for corp and partnership clients....only a few more hours then its time sip on some tequila!

    Not a CPA - just a paralegal (none / 0) (#41)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:48:47 PM EST
    who's been doing E & T work for a long time, and preparing income, estate tax and fiduciary returns for that same long time...

    I don't get into the actual planning part - thank goodness - that's lawyer work; tax work is part of the overall estate admin work that I do, though - and it's been at the front of my brain most of the summer as I get these 2009 estate returns done.


    Don't envy that task at all. Good luck (none / 0) (#42)
    by coast on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:52:13 PM EST
    with them all the same.

    "But the same is true with income tax" (none / 0) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:07:31 PM EST
    But the same is true with income tax: those who have high income levels will continue to utilize every opportunity to shelter income, while those with garden-variety income from wages will not.

    When I was a waiter making 10-12K/year, I certainly utilized every opportunity to reduce my taxes/shelter income. I think you're really off-base here.


    I guess you were awfuly lucky to (none / 0) (#32)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:22:56 PM EST
    be able to shelter an income of less than $15,000/yr - your living expenses must have been miniscule, because most people at that level can barely afford to pay for shelter, food, utilities, health care and incidentals.  And that is why their opportunity to keep more of their money is much less than someone who is making 25-50 times what you were making.

    Those making a lot of money can and do get a lot of advice about how to invest and shelter their income and assets to reduce their tax burden; that's not an off-base opinion as I see it being done all the time.

    I work in a firm that does a lot of high-end estate, gift and income tax planning, so it may be that my experience and what I see on a daily basis is a lot different from what you see and have experienced.


    context (none / 0) (#34)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:35:49 PM EST
    I have a feeling that was a while ago.

    In 1992 the average cost of a home in my neighborhood was $25,000.  By 2002 it was $250,000.  At the peak it was up around $500,000 but now it's back around $250,000.

    In any event, you get my point, $15,000 used to go a lot further than it does today.  My parents bought their first house for less than they bought their last car.


    I "worked" as an actor back then, (none / 0) (#35)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:39:18 PM EST
    I took every QPA write-off I could.

    I guess my comment was directed mostly at the idea, which you wrote but may or may not have meant to write, that those with lower incomes choose to not utilize every opportunity to reduce their taxes, quite unlike those scummy higher income people.

    But the same is true with income tax: those who have high income levels will continue to utilize every opportunity to shelter income, while those with garden-variety income from wages will not.

    "Will not?"

    That says that those with lower-incomes have the choice to reduce their taxes, but choose not to do so. Presumably because lower-income people are imbued with some automatic societal uber-goodness that higher-income people are not?

    No matter what the income level, people generally do everything they can to pay the least amount in taxes.


    I see your point - I didn't mean to suggest (none / 0) (#37)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:44:58 PM EST
    that those with lower incomes "won't" take the opportunity to lower their tax burden, but that, most often, they just don't have the same kinds of opportunities as those at higher income levels.

    Fair enough. (none / 0) (#39)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:47:15 PM EST
    Oh and btw (none / 0) (#38)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:45:41 PM EST
    I spent 4-5 years at that income level in my mid-late 20's, and I always spent way less each year on "shelter, food, utilities, health care and incidentals" than I earned. There is always a way to put money away.

    You do have a much different experience at your job than I and thousands and thousands of others see and have experienced...


    Would that my compensation put me (none / 0) (#43)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:53:18 PM EST
    at the same level with the clients, lol...

    Shoot, at the rate at which my firm bills me out - and I'm not even a lawyer, mind you - I don't think I could afford my own services...

    My dad always said, "pay yourself first - it's the only way you can save!" and it's still good advice.  Figuring out the difference between "wants" and "needs" is another important skill that would serve people well.


    Yup. (none / 0) (#44)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:56:31 PM EST
    I think losing family businesses have (none / 0) (#10)
    by Buckeye on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:31:26 AM EST
    a lot to do with the support repealing the estate tax has.  For example, a farm that has been in a family for generations could be lost when the dies and leaves it for their kids unable to pay the estate tax.  I am not sure that is right but it is what I have heard from those wanting it abolished.

    The problem is that the threat of losing (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Farmboy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:51:55 AM EST
    the "family farm" because of estate taxes is about as great as a crocodile attack in Iowa. Few family farms out here betwixt the Miss and the Mo have a value that places them with the estate tax zone. The ones that are that valuable (that I know of) have incorporated with multiple generations of the family owning the shares, taking it out of estate tax eligibility.

    A couple years ago Mayor 9/11 was out here trying to find a farm to give the "death tax" speech on. He gave up in failure.

    During the S&L debacle of the 80s many farm families did lose their land. Since then the ones that survived have covered their financial bases better, including dealing with inheritance issues.


    This is the sob story that always gets (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:54:48 AM EST
    told whenever estate taxes come up - and it is a bunch of baloney.  For one thing, the IRS allows you to "specially value" farms and closely-held businesses and extend the payment of any taxes over a 10-year period (assuming the ratio of this kind of property to the overall estate is above a certain threshold).

    Anyone who has property or assets that fall into this PLANS for this kind of situation, either by buying insurance and putting it into an irrevocable trust, such that the policies and proceeds are not includible in the estate, but are available to pay the tax bill, or by establishing a program of gifting that gradually reduces the total property one owns at death.

    There is no way the family farmers across America are unaware or uninformed or unadvised on the situation - and that is exactly why there are few documented cases of farms being sold to pay taxes - they may, indeed, be sold, but not because of tax bills, but because family farms are labor-intensive operations that many in the succeeding generation neither want to continue nor have time to continue.

    Please do not get sucked into this argument - it's just pure bunk.


    a few years ago (none / 0) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:36:41 AM EST
    I knew a democrat who was pretty much down the line except when it came to the estate tax.  I never understood why until his father died and he quit work and bought a big house in the country.

    I suspect this would be the reason many people "oppose" it.


    But hasn't it been shown that hardly any family (none / 0) (#22)
    by DFLer on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:55:29 AM EST
    farms and small businesses have been lost to an estate tax?

    Myth 6: The estate tax forces the sale of family businesses and farms to meet the tax bill.

    There have been occasional cases where an estate dominated by a family business or farm has been hit hard because the household failed to plan for the estate tax. But the rarity of such cases can be seen just by looking at the numbers. In 1998, about 2.3 million people died in America. Of these 47,500 (fewer than two percent) left taxable estates. Of these, 1,400 left estates in which a family business or farm constituted at least half of the total estate. Such family-owned businesses or farms receive special treatment in the estate tax law so only a small fraction of these 1,400 estates could be forced unexpectedly to liquidate a family enterprise. Of course, such sales might be forced by the need to divide assets among a number of children, but that would occur with or without the estate tax. If the specter of losing the family business or the family farm is the basis of the attack on the estate tax, it is a mighty slim reed to lean on. And the obvious remedy is not to abolish the estate tax but to reform it.


    What is the estate tax change (none / 0) (#26)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:02:50 PM EST
    you are referring to? I've not been following the issue.

    in 2011 (none / 0) (#31)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:16:14 PM EST
    the estate tax exemption is due to go back to $1 million.  That means you don't have to pay taxes on the first $1 million you inherit, but you have to pay taxes on anything greater than that.  Note, if you inherit $2 million, you will still only be paying taxes on $1 million of that two million.

    The GOP wants to raise the cap so you do not pay any tax on anything up to $5 million for an individual, and $10 million for a couple.  That means if you are an individual who inherits $7 million, you only pay taxes on $2 million of that $7 million instead of on $6 million of that $7 million.


    your question?
    I would really like to see some Republican justify the estate tax change.

    if you feel so inclined (none / 0) (#46)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 01:34:10 PM EST
    go for it.

    But let me add a further question before we get bogged down in semantics of an estate worth $1.1 million dollars.

    Why so high - $5 million/individual, $10/couple?

    That doesn't seem excessive to you?  They could have gone with $2 million, or $3.5 million which is what it was in 2009.  But no, they went all the way up to $5 million.

    I ask this, because honestly I am not clear on whether it is reverting back to $1 million or $3.5 million.  There are a some indications that it might be $3.5 million.  In any event, they could have chosen a different number.


    OK, here it is, no semantics: (none / 0) (#47)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 01:51:01 PM EST
    No, it doesn't seem high to me.

    It's the decedent's freaking estate, he should be able to do with it whatever he wants with no godam interference from the gvt or anyone else!

    Seriously, it's that simple.


    and that (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:14:35 PM EST
    is exactly how you end up with a permanent class structure.

    I am a firm believer in Carnegie's gospel of wealth.  And I have no qualms about saying "if you won't do it yourself, we'll make you do it anyway".


    The argument that always gets (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:09:41 PM EST
    dragged out - in addition to the one about the "family farms" - is that it is unfair to impose a tax on the value of assets acquired with funds that have already been subject to income tax.  The problem with that argument is that the appreciation between acquisition and death has never been taxed.

    And, because assets were stepped up in basis at death, the vast appreciation in those assets wasn't subject to any capital gains tax when the asset was sold post-death.

    So, you buy a house for $15,000 - which a lot of people did 50 years ago - and when you die, it's worth $500,000.  It gets included in your estate, and if you were lucky or savvy enough to have built an estate over the exemption amount, your estate might owe some estate tax on it.  But, if the estate isn't large enough, there is no tax at all.  And if your beneficiaries sell it, the basis for gain or loss isn't $15,000, it's $500,000, so unless it appreciates beyond that, there's no income tax associated with the transfer of that house.

    That being said, with the disappearance of the estate tax this year, we are now faced with a hybrid "carry-over basis" that does take into account the decedent's basis, although there is a $2MM basis adjustment amount that can be used to increase basis - but not all of it to any one asset; it's too esoteric to get into here, but it's going to be a real headache, trust me.

    I get that those who have worked to create their own wealth want to keep it, and want as much of it as possible can be passed to the next generation, but I truly don't understand the mind-set that doesn't understand that, when Mom or Dad kicks off with a big pile of assets that their children had nothing to do with creating, those children will still have more than they had before, regardless of whether Uncle Sam gets 10% or 30% or 50% of it.

    I see several kinds of wealth in the work that I do, but regardless of how that wealth is created, the ability of succeeding generations to build and accumulate more wealth gets a big head start through inheritance; it really is easier to make money when you have money.

    That is exactly how the gap between those who have and those who don't gets bigger; I honestly don't understand how those who have so much can feel so little responsibility to contribute to the greater good in proportion to their good fortune.  


    First of all we only tax appreciation (none / 0) (#64)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:21:44 PM EST
    on the sale of an asset, because, well, we tax appreciation on the sale of an asset. Before we did that, we didn't do it. We now expect it to happen, but should we do it?

    Second, who are you (or anyone) to decide what the "greater good" is, and how much of that person's stuff should be taken from them by law to contribute to that "greater good?"

    Third, how do you know that someone who does not support an estate tax, or does not support the level of estate tax you support, feels no responsibility to contribute to the "greater good?"


    Then, isn't there an argument that (none / 0) (#82)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 06:25:52 PM EST
    the money I receive in exchange for my work should be all mine, too?  I mean, who is the government to decide that after laboring for however-many-hours a week, I have to give back some of what I earned?

    So, where does the money come from to pay for all the things we take for granted?  Do we just not have a government at all, and make this an every-man-for-himself kind of country?

    I know as sure as I'm sitting here, that those who don't want an estate tax on the transfer of appreciated assets aren't likely to support a system where the basis in the hands of the beneficiaries is the same as the original basis in the hands of the decedent.  Try explaining to someone that if they sell Mom's house after she dies, they will pay capital gains on whatever the difference is between her original cost and whatever it sells for - think that one flies?  I guess we will see, because at least for now, for this year, and with some modifications, that's what's happening.

    You tell me how we fund the government, please - flat tax?  Value-added tax?  National sales tax?

    I come into contact with a lot of people of significant wealth, who have made an equally significant contribution to some very worthy causes.  But donating to charity does not run the government, on either the federal or state level.  And, lest we forget, there is a tax benefit to charitable contributions, and that is often what drives people to make them.

    I guess you have to decide what you are willing to pay for the privilege of the services and other things the government does on your behalf, and whether you think it is fair for everyone - regardless of their income or assets - to pay the same.  Yes, I know that if I want to buy a car, I don't get it for less because I have less, but I also know that the sacrifice I make to buy that car is significantly greater than the one made by the person of means.  The sales tax we pay represents a greater percentage of my income than it does of someone with far more wealth.

    So, you seem to have all the answers - let's hear your plan for paying for government, please.


    If your interpretation of my comments (none / 0) (#85)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 09:03:27 PM EST
    is that I reject taxation and funding the gvt outright, then I have failed miserably.

    I reject the estate tax. I reject being deprived of the right to do with my personal property what I wish. Kinda like what the 14th Amendment says.

    And before you trot out the "due process of the law" part of the 14th, remember that same "due process" once gave us legalized slavery, male-only voting rights, etc.


    Your alma mater's founder (none / 0) (#49)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:37:41 PM EST
    was an interesting cat.

    I'm sure he has been part of Gate's & Buffet's, etc, pledge to give away the majority of their wealth.

    Carnegie based his philosophy on the observation that the heirs of large fortunes frequently squandered them in riotous living
    this has been my observation as well. They still remain part of the "class" they grew up in, just not as wealthy...

    Carnegie's philosophy (none / 0) (#50)
    by jondee on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:44:25 PM EST
    probably stems from the fact that, unlike many others, he actually knew what it was like to poor, or comparatively poor.

    business practices...

    It's not that simple to me (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by sj on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 02:52:45 PM EST
    What is "simple" and obvious to me is that investing in our shared society is a greater imperative and has a greater return than investing in an already large stock portfolio or more real estate or buying more things.  

    For the life of me, I fundamentally do. not. get. this hoarding mentality.  This feeling of what's mine is mine (whether I can use it well or not) and should stay "mine" beyond my lifespan (when I definitely can't use it).

    Say what you will about old Joe Kennedy and how he may have made his money, he instilled the right values in his offspring.  He raised them to see beyond themselves into the larger world.

    I'm getting choked up yet again remembering RFK's words at Capetown -- words I've never heard, only read.  That message is simple.  That imperative is simple.  

    Each individual's choices matter and make a difference in this world.  A choice to be selfish is just as significant as a choice to share.  A choice to see suffering and do nothing about it is as significant as a choice to lend a helping hand.  And just as a parent sometimes needs to insist that a child share whether s/he wants to or not, sometimes society needs to insist that adults share.

    Okay, that may sound a little melodramatic and over the top, but it's really how I feel.

    And that's why I'm a liberal.


    Sorry that you don't understand (none / 0) (#53)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:16:17 PM EST
    why people consider their stuff, well, their stuff. It's a pretty common sentiment.

    Just about everyone believes in and gives at least some of their "stuff" to, and invests their "stuff" in, our society. Some people give/invest all or most of their stuff.

    However, since it is their "stuff," most people like to be able decide for themselves how and when their own stuff gets distributed.

    Some people think they should be able decide what other people are forced to do with their stuff.

    Some people think that they should be the judge and jury on whether or not that guy over there is using his stuff well enough, and if he's not, they think they shold be able to take that guy's stuff.

    I fundamentaly do. not. get. this mentality.


    frankly (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:39:19 PM EST
    I see this as an argument against all tax, not estate tax.

    How is estate tax any more "your stuf" or "earned" than income tax?  If anything I'd see it as the other way around.

    If you don't believe in taxes period, that's one thing.  But to be okay with an income tax, and not an estate tax - I just don't get that.  I work hard for the money I earn at work.  I consider that to be my "stuff" way more than any money my parents earn at work.


    It would seem to (5.00 / 1) (#73)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:03:18 PM EST
    better serve economics as well as democracy and meritocracy  to decrease income tax (for all levels) and increase estate taxes.

    Interesting idea. How so? (none / 0) (#74)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:07:46 PM EST
    because it places (none / 0) (#75)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:19:24 PM EST
    a higher value (for the user) on money you've earned over money you've been given.

    Very GOP Idea (none / 0) (#76)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:26:35 PM EST
    Which points to the utter hypocrisy of most who claim to be GOPers.

    Anti-big government only means gutting social services.

    Anti-deficit, means creating record deficits.

    No handouts, except for the rich and the corporations....  

    Self reliance, except when it comes to estate tax.... lol


    Ya, I see what you mean. (none / 0) (#78)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:29:34 PM EST
    It seems to me, though, if you place a higher value on the money you earned it stands to reason that you would even more want to be the person who decides where your money goes.

    If I want to decide (none / 0) (#86)
    by CST on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 10:49:30 AM EST
    where it goes, I can spend it while I'm alive.  Once I'm dead I have no say - whether it's under the control of my kids, the government, or a charity - that's not me.

    I believe that once you're dead, that's it, there's no reaching out from the grave to influence anything.  You do what you can while you're alive, and then it's out of your control.

    I understand needing to know that your family is taken care of after you're gone.  I don't understand needing to know that your money is taken care of.  Money is not flesh and blood.  It's just cloth.  Especially if you have millions of it.


    Boy, two days on the same thread. (none / 0) (#87)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Sep 16, 2010 at 11:59:42 AM EST
    We must be kooks! Anyway...

    Everyone "reaches out from the grave", everyone has their "say" after they die, at least if they're smart they do, via their will and living trusts, etc.

    What I think is interesting is the seemingly absolute conviction of many of those who are resolutely for estate taxes that, absent the estate tax, essentially nothing from any estate would go to anything good.

    Regardless, if you really are just weirded out by the idea of caring about what happens to your stuff after you die, but are totally OK with caring about what happens to your stuff while you are alive, then join me in supporting the raising of the existing, paltry, living-person's tax-free gift limit of $10K/year to, I don't know, $500K/year? $1,000K? $10,000K?

    This would make it much easier for people to do what they want with their stuff while they're still alive.


    Yet we (mostly) all agree that there has to be some gvt, and taxes fund the gvt.

    The argument is always over how much.

    Of course you consider the money you work hard for to be your "stuff." I feel the same way. So does my dad.

    He feels like he should be able to decide where and how his "stuff" gets distributed. If I own anything when I get to his age I also will want to be able to decide where that stuff goes. We're far from alone on this.

    You seriously just don't get that? Or you do actually get it, you just don't agree with it?

    Even if YOU are OK with the gvt taking your "stuff" (and I know that you are, iirc you're the one who tries to pay more taxes than you owe every year) how do you not get that someone else might not feel the same way? It's their stuff.


    Of course the argument is over how much (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:06:07 PM EST
    Which is why my original question was - how is $1 or $3.5 million not "enough" before it even starts to be taxed?

    And you responded with essentially "all taxes are bad, they're taking my stuff".

    But you then clarify that you think the government should in fact exist in some level.  So I assume that requires some taxation.

    I don't see any reason to have such a high deductable for an estate tax, especially as you compare it to income tax.

    For me the decision about "how much" is "enough" is much simpler.  Rather than thinking about whether money is mine and what I'd like to spend it on, I consider the fact that a rising tide lifts all boats.  And without essential government functions, such as education, and infrastructure, and yes, a police force, health care, etc... - society cannot reach a critical mass of productivity where the economy functions for everyone.

    And again, it's not like we're saying if you have $10 million we're gonna take anything over $1 million and that's your lifetime cap.  What's going on here is that after a certain point some percentage of that additional income should go back to the society - from which you earned it.  No one becomes a millionaire in a vacuum.


    No, MY response was (none / 0) (#66)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:29:43 PM EST
    regarding estate taxes, not all taxes. But of course it can be made for all taxes, which of course I'm not doing.

    You work hard, you pay your taxes, you save, you do without, and after all that you have your "stuff."

    Why should anyone else be able to tell you what you have to do with your stuff? It is yours, after all.


    as to the question (none / 0) (#77)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:27:07 PM EST
    why should anyone else be able to tell you what to do with your stuff...

    because we are codependent, we are a democracy, and people get to vote on things.  With more money comes more power.  The flip side to that is the power of the masses to decide you have too much money/power and vote to take some of it away from you.  

    Personally I find that much better than the alternative of a highly disgruntled "masses" like oh say, the French or Industrial revolution when people were being beheaded or starving to death over questions of wealth and power.

    Again, people don't become millionaires in a vacuum.  No one makes that kind of money without leaning on the back of society to some degree.  I think it's perfectly fair for society to ask for some of it back.


    who think that, generally, you get what you want out of life by helping enough others get what they want. iow, generally, your "millionaires" have gotten that way by doing a lot of good for others.

    Also, what if your "millionaire" could have been, say, a "decamillionaire" if he/she hadn't spent so much time, I don't know, volunteering w/in the community, funding doctors w/o borders, or something.

    iow, are you sure that someone's net worth when they die is a reliable measure of whether or not they've given back enough to society?


    its a measure (none / 0) (#80)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:45:58 PM EST
    Of how much they are capable of giving back.

    Some have already, some haven't.  Either way I prefer taxation to the alternative chaos.


    "using his stuff well enough" (none / 0) (#54)
    by sj on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:32:32 PM EST
    As for using something well -- if one is well-fed, housed comfortably and securely, well cared for health-wise, well educated and has no need to fear for their stability, and well-being?  That's well used.  I'm not saying that one should be forced to give up anything that keeps him or her on a level higher than pure subsistence level.  Stability, comfort and well-being are what we all strive for.

    Hoarding is another matter entirely.

    As for this:

    Sorry that you don't understand why people consider their stuff, well, their stuff. It's a pretty common sentiment.

    If course it's a common sentiment.  Selfishness is a very common sentiment.  Ask any pre-school teacher.


    is selfish. Words fail me.

    And you are the judge and jury on how much "stuff" someone should be allowed to have. You know, just enough to be "well cared for" in your opinion. Everything above that should be taken from him.

    I repeat; I fundamentaly do. not. get. this mentality.


    When You Are Dead (none / 0) (#57)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:46:36 PM EST
    You cannot hold on to stuff, or at least conventional wisdom supports that notion.

    You should be able to do with your stuff (none / 0) (#59)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 03:57:33 PM EST
    basically whatever you want, within reason.

    Not Possible (none / 0) (#62)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:08:41 PM EST
    When you are dead there is no "you" to do anything.

    I would think that the Republican purists would argue against any type of welfare, particularly for those whom they care most about, namely their children.


    Oy. (none / 0) (#67)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:30:44 PM EST
    Oy? (none / 0) (#69)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:38:19 PM EST
    You are the one making the silly argument that one should have control of his or her stuff after they are dead.

    Quite illogical, imo.


    for that!

    And that's why people have Wills... (none / 0) (#83)
    by Anne on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 06:34:33 PM EST
    so they can control where their money goes after they die, so they can limit the damage the IRS wants to inflict, so they can protect the daughter with the ne'er-do-well husband from getting his mitts on her share of the money, so they can make quite clear that Mom didn't love someone best (yes, I've seen punishment from beyond the grave, and it isn't pretty) - believe it or not, some people feel better knowing that, as much as they could, they directed what happens after their death, and not the state laws of intestacy.

    And, in case you didn't know, passing on one's estate is never considered by the testator to be "welfare" for their children - and from the children I have dealt with over the years, I can assure you that most children consider it their right to get what was Mom's or Dad's and throw quite a fit when they find out Mom or Dad structured it so that it wasn't like winning the lottery!


    As they say, shrouds do not have (none / 0) (#72)
    by KeysDan on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:50:01 PM EST
    pockets.  No money managing from the grave: use it or lose it.

    Yes I do (none / 0) (#63)
    by sj on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:19:17 PM EST
    Considering your excess stuff to be your stuff is selfish.

    And your protectiveness of your "stuff" is affecting your reading skills.

    What I said

    I'm not saying that one should be forced to give up anything that keeps him or her on a level higher than pure subsistence level.

    Is the opposite of your interpretation:

    Everything above that should be taken from him.

    Based on your comments, it doesn't surprise me at all that you fundamentally do. not. get. the concept of sharing.


    YOUR definition of "excess stuff." (none / 0) (#65)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:23:16 PM EST
    Who are you to decide?

    Nope, not me (none / 0) (#68)
    by sj on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:35:00 PM EST
    I don't want to decide about your excess stuff.  Heck, I don't even necessarily do a good deciding about my own excess stuff.  

    I don't like where all my tax dollars go, but I sure as heck am grateful I have something to be taxed on.

    But clearly some people need to be "encouraged" to share.

    And now, I shall leave you to hoard your "stuff" in peace.


    No worries, if you ever get in a jam (none / 0) (#70)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 04:40:06 PM EST
    I'm happy to help you out. That's often what we who do without to build hoards choose to do with a good chunk of our hoards every year...

    I know I said I was done, but... (none / 0) (#81)
    by sj on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 05:55:35 PM EST
    ...I just wanted to say, hey thanks.  I'll keep that in mind.  My contract just ended last week so you never know...

    "Obama's tax cut" plan adds (none / 0) (#3)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 10:55:30 AM EST
    $2.7T - $3.1T over the next ten years.  But, let's play "lookey over there".

    Who is on the front lines (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:00:48 AM EST
    screaming about the deficit?  Dems or Republicans?

    I guess hypocracy is irrelevant now.


    Where I come from (none / 0) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:00:58 AM EST
    4 is more than 3.



    Where I come from (none / 0) (#6)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:14:29 AM EST
    you can drown in 3 inches of water just as easily as in 4.

    More likely to drown in 4 than 3 (none / 0) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:17:13 AM EST



    possibly more to the point (none / 0) (#8)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:28:40 AM EST
    the last inch goes to 2% of the population.
    which we will all be paying for on the countrys credit card.

    The 4 vs. 3 is not the winning argument though (none / 0) (#11)
    by Buckeye on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:34:26 AM EST
    as I am sure you know.  Current polling shows people support a tax increase on wealthier people (probably due in part to the outrages of Wall Street).  Raise it for the wealthiest, maintain the middle class rates, and make republicans vote no.  

    Sure (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:37:00 AM EST
    I do not argue about the defict. But Republicans do.

    dont think (none / 0) (#14)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:37:51 AM EST
    that is the argument being made generally

    It is not and I was not trying to imply (none / 0) (#25)
    by Buckeye on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:59:29 AM EST
    this site was making that argument.  Just that I don't think it would be good for the dems to let this argument turn into a hazy debate over whether we pay $3 trillion or $4 trillion over ten years.  A much more powerful argument can be made that taps in well to the current mindset of voters - start hitting the rich (i.e. bankers) with higher taxes to help shore up the deficit while not raising/cutting middle class taxes.  If the republicans vote no, that will resonate with voters.

    We don't have to "lookey over there" (none / 0) (#9)
    by Farmboy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:31:15 AM EST
    Bodies are still being pulled out of the wreck you and yours caused.

    As of 2007, Bush's tax cuts have cost the US 1.3 trillion dollars. Letting them expire as scheduled costs the US nearly another trillion. That money is gone.

    Projections claim that extending the middle class cuts for another 3 years adds .5 trillion to the debt - less if the economy doesn't recover. In context, that's small potatoes when compared to the 2.2 trillion you've blown already.


    That's some very fuzzy/funny math (none / 0) (#19)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:49:55 AM EST
    The GWB cuts cost 1.3T yet allowing them to expire costs another trillion?  Just how does that work?

    Comparing 3 years vs 10 years is apples and oranges.  10 years cost $2.7T - 3.1T.  Nice try but that is a pure "lookey over there" argument.


    Thanks for the flashback to the 2000 debates (none / 0) (#24)
    by Farmboy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:59:12 AM EST
    with the "fuzzy math" comment.

    Read this slowly: 1.3 trillion is the deficit increase from when the Bush tax cuts went into effect up through 2007 (the beginnings of the economic collapse). Add another .9 trillion for the deficit increase from 2008 through the end of 2010 (this would have been greater if not for the economic collapse). This equals 2.2 trillion.

    Sorry pal, but you're gonna have to dance with them what brought you.


    Still apples and oranges (none / 0) (#29)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:13:09 PM EST
    Your statement:

    Letting them expire as scheduled costs the US nearly another trillion.
    is not correct as they expiration is not until the end of this year.  Slicing and dicing the last 10 years has no bearing on what the costs of the next 10 years will be - that being $2.7T to $3.1T by just extending the GWB $250K and below rates - the aka "Obama tax cuts".

    Which part of the fact that this year is 2010, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Farmboy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:26:45 PM EST
    and that the Bush tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the end of 2010 are you unable to comprehend?

    Wait a minute... are you the same guy who said this?  "I'm not sure 80 percent of the people get the death tax. I know this: 100 percent will get it if I'm the president."

    Sure would explain a lot...


    You are still not answering the orginal question (none / 0) (#45)
    by BTAL on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 01:19:02 PM EST
    regarding the cost of the "Obama tax cuts".  What has been already spent has been spent.  The issue is the new/additional costs.

    As matter of point, 2007 deficits were the first year the Ds controlled the budgets.  Spending has just as much effect on deficits as tax revenue cuts.


    BTW, 2007 is magic because that's the year (none / 0) (#28)
    by Farmboy on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 12:09:17 PM EST
    that the projections made in 2001 and 2003 went drastically off the rails. Had the economy not crunched the deficits were projected to be much higher by the end of 2010 when the cuts expire.

    With the economy in flux as it is now, projections longer than 3 years aren't worth the time it takes to run the spreadsheet.


    Deficits Matter (none / 0) (#16)
    by squeaky on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 11:45:04 AM EST
    That is why the GOP has everything in its power to exponentially increase the deficits, all the while cynically blaming the deficit on "big government democrats".

    Of course tax cuts on the top 1% will increase the deficit, that is part of the secret plan.

    Spin (none / 0) (#84)
    by diogenes on Wed Sep 15, 2010 at 07:38:08 PM EST
    "Obama middle class tax cuts"???
    Hardly.  How about "an extension of the Bush middle class tax cuts while not extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy."