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May 07, 2008

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There is no such thing as a "death tax". I believe the author means estate tax, but is using the right-wing talking point instead. That alone invalidates everything he says. Too bad, because if not for that, he would seem to know what he's talking about.

He does know what he's talking about. Don't let your bias get in the way of good information.

He does know what he's talking about, but there is no such thing as a "death tax". There is such a thing as an "estate tax". If you want to call it something else in order to convey meaning, an accurate term would be "inheritance tax".

RWH --

I think the tax is commonly called "estate tax", "death tax" (because it occurs at death), and "inheritance tax."

To me, it's just as bad when someone ignores good information because they have their own political leaning than it is to write the post with a political bias in the first place -- that's my comment to "non". If he wanted to be heard, how about making an intelligent comment instead of a snarky response?

I'll agree that intelligent communication is preferable and there is an effective and an ineffective way to respond.

I also think the person who wrote the post had a reason for the terms he chose to use and it's fair game to discuss it.

There is little question that the term "death tax" had its origin in GOP strategy sessions as a talking point and that origin is fairly recent, within the last 10 or 15 years, or roughly about the same time we starting hearing the term "Democrat Party". I'll even concede that it has been quite effective as a rhetorical tool. But in my opinion it is a politically charged term, intended to stifle debate rather than stimulate it.

But he did give good advice for the <2% of the estates that are subject to the tax.

Your "<2%" is grossly under the facts. Those hardest hit by this death tax, so called because it applies at death [and did not originate with either political party, as a matter of fact, but with those who sell products to help individuals avoid death taxes], are the middle Americans, the small mom-and-pop owners of businesses, those businesses with inventory, farmers, etc. whose heirs have to sell/dismantle/end the enterprise in order to pay federal death taxes - on money they have already paid income taxes on. The really wealthy have all kinds of devices to avoid these huge tax bills. It's the little guys that get hurt. They work all of their lives to built up something for their families, contributing all the time to the rest of us with their taxes, their job creation, and their provision of goods and services, then they get their earnings taken away from them. And the valuation process is not what you could call fair, either, so settling up with Uncle Sam is just a fire sale for most of these folks. The label may be "inheritance" or "estate" tax in the IRS lexicon, but the facts make this a death tax. Intelligent communication requires attention to facts, not just giving lip service to the labels spun to make something this distasteful palateable to those whose throats this is being stuffed down. Those of us who suffer from it know it's a death tax, and a double dip at that.

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