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March 26, 2003
Death and Taxes

Mostly I agree about the estate tax. Sort of.

What I think Avedon Carol and others are missing is that the estate tax is not entirely about rich people leaving trust funds for their slacker kids. Nor is it all about families building multinational dynasties with the accumulated wealth of generations.

The estate tax is about a few other people, too. Family farmers and ranchers, for instance.

People bemoan the disappearance of this way of life and write warningly of the dangers of huge conglomerates producing irradiated and bio-engineered food on high-efficiency farms, but do any of you stop and wonder why the family farm is disappearing? It's not because the "next generation" doesn't want to stay down on the farm, okay? Some of these families have farmed or ranched the same land for over a hundred years and there's only one way to get them off the land.

Tax the hell out of them every time a generation passes.

So, while I don't think that the Rockefellers of the world should be given a free ride to pass their billions from generation to generation, untouched, I do think the Wilders of the world should be given just that...a free pass.

What we need is a revised estate tax, one that exempts "real property" maybe, I don't know. I'm not a tax or legal expert, but don't just sit there and shout about "rich people" and the estate tax. Some of those seemingly "rich" people are rich only because of the assigned market value of the land they're living on. They're not living lives of idle luxury, I promise you.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:03 AM