While the Washington press corps was fixated last week on the latest developments surrounding President Obama’s trillion dollar co-pay in the guise of health reform, followed by backyard beer swilling, IRS bean counters quietly went about their business.
Their mission? Find a way to pay for the massive zeroes this administration continues to add at the end of the government’s mounting debt. In what some privately likened to an ancient an archaeological find teeming with treasure, revenue agents discovered a potential $80 million golden pot of money – at the home of Michael Jackson.
That’s what the Feds stand to collect if they enforce a massively onerous and confiscatory tax on the King of Pop’s estate, affectionately referred to as the death tax. And you can bet they’re coming to a neighborhood near you.
Until President Bush’s tax reforms of 2001 that lowered the levy to 45%, the death tax in America ranked second only to Japan as the highest in the world – stifling enterprise in subtle yet noticeable ways.
The Obama Administration, however, has no plans to keep the Bush reductions in effect. They have too many bills to pay to surrender the approximately $60 billion in revenue the tax generates each year.
But what the Left fails to recognize is that by keeping the tax in place (or worse, allowing it to return to pre-Bush levels), they are planting the federal boot on the necks of an emerging class of survivors from this economic crisis.
Both sides frame the debate as an issue of fundamental fairness – spreading the wealth versus keeping what is rightfully yours. But when Americans are posed the question directly, the death tax is decreasingly one of social justice with left and right parameters, but instead a fatally-shortsighted policy with a base of support shifting beyond traditional party lines.
According to a recent survey conducted by Strategy 360, the polling arm of Dutko Worldwide, 55 percent of America’s “middleman” – the independent voter – favored a continued phase-out of the estate tax.