Thursday, November 15, 2007

Death Tax Resurrected

You Say Fake Ads, They Say Satire - I should have been posting on Craigslist. Johnna Gatinnella gets a nice NY Times write up for a fake Craigslist posting - she's looking for a new boyfriend named Roy, but Troy, Leroy or Elroy will do, she just won't remove her "Roy" tattoo. Fun idea, didn't we see this somewhere before - See Dr. Tartoff, I Presume.

Buffett Says No Estate Tax Would Be A Gift To The Rich - Mr. Buffett is speaking plainly, taking a position contrary to most monied senior citizens and walking the talk by donating most of his estate to charity without worrying about where the estate tax will be at his death. There is some devil in the estate tax details, however. The estate tax generates so much planning that I suspect it produces more income for lawyers and accountants than revenue for the government. For those really dedicated to tax planning, consider dying very soon. Effective rates are low and falling, but with sunset provisions and a Democratic Congress this once in a lifetime opportunity will not last long. The minimum size of an estate subject to tax has changed much of late, but an estate tax can produce pain for the middle class and force the break up of productive family owned businesses. If the goal is to break up plutocracies of inherited wealth, then impose a tax only on estates of $30 Million or more. I bet Mr. Buffet is leaving at least this much to his daughter, notwithstanding his concern for plutocracy. Do not revive this white elephant as a revenue producing measure or it will bring with it a counterproductive universe of middle class tax planning, Accept the fact that you will not make much revenue by taxing a few billionaires, develop a simple, avoidance proof tax that is levied only on extremely large estates and live with the fact that the result is better at preventing plutocracy than raising revenue.

No comments: