Editor’s Note: This column was co-authored by Pat Boone
Before the modern death tax was instituted in 1916 to raise funds for World War I, the death tax was a “temporary” tax, levied only during war time. Three times before World War I, the death tax was repealed shortly after hostilities ended. Unfortunately for family businesses and farms, an odd thing happened after WWI: the “temporary” death tax was never repealed. Now after almost 100 years, the death tax has become the last known survivor of WWI.
According to a 2012 Joint Economic Committee report, since its inception, the death tax has destroyed family businesses, raised little revenue for the government, and sapped nearly $1 trillion of productive small business capital out of the economy. The death tax has hindered job creation and forced businesses to divert money that could be used to expand into expensive estate planning and large life insurance policies – lining the pockets of lawyers and accountants at the expense of America’s family businesses and farms.
At the 60 Plus Association we are committed to leading a renewed fight to drive a stake through the heart of the death tax once and for all before its 100th birthday. In order to sow the seeds for repeal, our seven million seniors across the country will be pushing for votes on death tax repeal for the first time in eight years.
As it stands now after the recent fiscal cliff deal, the death tax confiscates 40% of a family’s lifetime savings but even that chunk of a family business or farm hasn’t satisfied big-spending liberals. On the heels of his victory to raise taxes on job creators at the end of 2012, the President proposed raising the death tax even higher to confiscate 45% of a family business or farm. The President is telling America’s family business owners that if they save, behave frugally, pay taxes, work to create jobs and pass their business to the next generation, Uncle Sam will confiscate nearly half of everything they have worked to build simply because they die.
The President’s position on the death tax is extremely unpopular with the public. Nearly 70 percent of voters consistently support complete repeal of the death tax when polled. The tax violates voters’ general sense of fairness; they rightly see the death tax as a double tax on achieving the American dream and many worry about their children having to one day wrestle with the tax. Simply put: the public does not think death should be a taxable event at all.
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