Commentary by James H. Shott
The US tax system is 13,400 pages of complicated gobbledy-gook that confuses nearly everyone who encounters it. Just ask Charlie Rangel, Tim Geithner, or Kathleen Sebelius.
One of its most immoral features is the Death Tax that will, if President Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats have their way, confiscate 45 percent of estates of at least $3.5 million ($7 million for couples), despite the fact taxes have previously been paid on the assets of these estates. The federal government justifies this second taxing at one’s death because … well, because you died. But according to The Tax Foundation’s last poll, 68 percent of Americans oppose the Death Tax.
Seeking an explanation for just why it is fair to confiscate nearly half of what someone has earned during his or her life, Fox News interviewed New York Democrat Rep. Anthony Weiner, who plainly was not up to the task of defending the Death Tax. And who could be?
Instead of answering the straightforward question “why is the Death Tax fair?” he offered this dodge: “The only question here is not whether or not there is going to be a tax on that, the question is where the limit should be and how much” should be taxed.
Many liberals have great disdain for wealthy people, and it‘s not important if they earned their wealth through years of hard work and sacrifice. Rep. Weiner told us, although not so directly, that he and other liberals believe that heirs to estates are not entitled to what their parent’s worked so hard to leave them when they die. They believe that people who inherit wealth should have a large chunk of it confiscated by the federal government. It’s how they define “fair.”
Since liberal ideas are often emotional in origin and not thought through, they usually create serious problems.
Here’s a very real scenario: A man invests everything he has to start a business. He works long hours to build the business and his spouse and children work in it and help it grow. After several years the man dies, leaving the business to his wife, who continues to operate it with the children. The business continues to grow in size and value, and employs several non-family members. And then the widowed spouse dies. Enter Anthony Weiner to tell the children that their inheritance is valued at $4 million and the government is going to take $1.8 million in Death Taxes. They are forced to sell the business to pay the taxes. It’s only fair, you know.
The Death Tax is a tax on American values that punishes savings, families, and investment in capital. It is a leading cause of dissolution among small businesses. It is an atrocity that is contrary to everything the United States of America stands for.
Another timely tax issue is continuing the Bush era tax rates.
President Obama and Congressional Democrats wanted to extend the tax rates for everyone except the “richest” Americans, defined as individuals making $200,000 a year or more, or $250,000 for couples (the couple in the example above likely fell into this category), while Republicans wanted to extend the existing rates for all taxpayers and were roundly ridiculed by liberals, who accused them of wanting to “give tax cuts to the rich,” that tired old class warfare aphorism.
But that is dishonest: keeping the existing rates is not a tax cut, for anyone; it merely continues taxing everyone at the same rate as for the last seven years. What the Democrats really want to do is raise taxes, but only on the “rich.”
All of which begs the question: Why should one group of taxpayers pay a higher rate than other taxpayers? Is this another of the liberal’s ideas of fairness?
Way back when the Founders were debating the details of the nation they were creating
Thomas Jefferson said, "To take from one, because it is thought his own industry … has acquired too much … is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it."
Liberals want the rich to pay more than everyone else. But they already do. According to The Tax Foundation, the top 5 percent earned 34.7 percent of the nation's adjusted gross income, but paid approximately 58.7 percent of federal individual income taxes - more than the bottom 95 percent of tax filers combined.
Taxes are a necessary evil to fund government. But how big should government be and how much should it cost? And shouldn’t all but the poorest pay something to support their government? Currently, 47 percent of households pay nothing.
People like Mr. Weiner arrogantly regard all money as government’s money. But it’s the people’s money, and elected officials are obliged to be frugal when they spend the people’s money. They aren’t entitled to spend taxpayer money to fund their self-serving excesses, like their superior health care plan, cushy pension and Nancy Pelosi’s personal jet upgrade.
In the last election a lot of folks who think like Anthony Weiner lost their jobs. We need to continue that trend.