Who gets buried if death tax is killed?
Congressman Doolittle’s recent “My Turn” guest column (“It’s time to bury the death tax” Sierra Sun June 12), was a folksy attempt to highlight his efforts on “our” behalf. Doolittle wants us to believe the estate tax is poised to heist the fruit of our labors as we depart this world. He quotes Ben Franklin on death and taxes to let us know that he’s on “our” side. Well, here’s another Franklin quote: “If Jack’s in love, he’s no judge of Jill’s beauty.”
That is, Mr. Doolittle, if you serve the interests of money, the voter has reason to suspect your judgment and efforts on “our” behalf. How many of us in your district are subject to the estate tax? Remember, sir, the tax exempts estates valued under $2 million.
According to the IRS site: most relatively simple estates . . . with a total value under $1 million don’t require filing an estate tax return. The amount was $1.5 million in 2004 and 2005. For 2006 through 2008, the amount is raised to $2 million.
Moreover, the IRS lists five categories of deductions to the tax. And if your efforts do snooker us and somehow pass into law, we’ll feel the pain. The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation itself has found that repeal of the estate tax will cost the federal government $56 billion in 2010. In the span from 2001 to 2021, it will cost the federal government $980 billion, and guess who will have to make up that loss of revenue?
You know, sir, a congressman can’t get elected without huge (and sometimes questionable) cash contributions. Please don’t pretend the federal government, which is obliged to provide for our security and safety and liberty, can operate without taxes. Please don’t tell us that mom and pop farms, valued by the USDA at about $550,000 on average, will lose “half of their assets” to Uncle Sam. They come in under the current $2 million limit ” a limit soon to rise to over $3 million.
If you want to do something, don’t repeal the estate tax. See to it that our interests are protected. We citizens are not wooden-headed demagogues. Revise the estate tax. Raise the limits to $4 million, with $8 million for couples, which in fact was suggested by Daniel Patrick Moynihan. That could work in our interests, and the interests of prosperous small farmers, although not in the interests of the elite 2 percent of super wealthy whiners and free loaders who sometimes begrudge their country even the funds necessary to protect American soldiers in combat.
Joe Calabrese is a Truckee resident.