Friday, February 05, 2010

this scares me, actually.

I know it's meant to be a joke, but the "Throw Mamma from the Train Tax" could actually turn out to be a real thing. And what a stupid decision by congress-past.

Pull quote:

Now the U.S. Congress has granted us a social scientist’s fondest dream—or worst nightmare—the perfect “natural experiment.” As of January 1 of this year, the U.S. estate tax has been abolished for the year 2010, and is scheduled to be reinstated in 2011 with rates as high as 55%. ...Of course, the really morbid stuff will happen at the end of this year, when dying in December of 2010 will incur no estate tax, but dying beginning in January 1, 2011 can trigger a tax liability equal to more than half the taxable estate. It’s being called the “Throw Momma from the Train” tax provision.

My dad actually made a joke about how if he died in 2010, my brother and I would be "set for life," but if he hung on past that year, we wouldn't be.

Trust me. I make a decent salary doing what I do. I don't need to be set for life. I do need my dad for as long as I can have him.

(And no, I don't think he'd do anything incredibly rash...but I could see some folks who were not in good health kind of "willing" themselves to die before the end of 2010. And I could see some slimy, greedy heirs trying to off their parents before this year is over.)

The government should not do things that might inspire that kind of a reaction. Personally, I think the estate tax is awful - I know people whose parents owned small farms who had to sell them off when the parents passed to pay the taxes. And people who had small businesses and didn't plan well (with a LLC or whatever it's called) winding up leaving much less to their heirs than they intended.

Also, it seems like double taxation to me: you're taxed on the money when you earn it, and then again (at a higher rate) when you die. That just seems wrong.

And not because I stand to inherit money from my parents. Heck, if I could make it so that my parents had good health and long life so that they only died one day before I did, I'd make that so.

But I'm VERY creeped out by the idea of "die tax free this year! But if you don't die by midnight on Dec. 31 - Muhahahahahahaha! We get 55% of your monies!"

In an ideal world, the estate tax would be permanently abolished. But I don't see that happening, given the greediness of those with political power.


The Fifth String said...

I hear you, Ricki. A foul, evil, regressive abomination. My modest, middle class family has paid (several times) just to keep a family ranch in the family. Yet the Kennedys never paid a cent on papa Joe's hundreds of millions. They're still rich, my family's still middle class. And their rotten, spoiled, leftoid spawn, in between driving drunk and raping college girls, keep telling my how my family should pay estate taxes.

The Fifth String said...

Not that I'm bitter about it or anything...