Hooray for the Death Tax!

Larry Kudlow
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Posted: Jun 09, 2006 4:05 PM
So the estate tax cut went down in the Senate, to the cheers of class warriors everywhere. Congratulations to Democratic senators Evan Bayh, Mary Landrieu, Ron Wyden, and Mark Pryor -- all of whom voted against death-tax repeal after voting in favor of it a few years ago. At last, they’ve come to their senses!

Our rich people don’t need another tax break. No, they need higher taxes. And they should be vilified, too. That’s right: America should attack rich people. In fact, we must abolish wealth, which is a tremendous drag on our economy. It’s high time that we made the rich poor.

As for all the xenophobes who want to deport the illegal immigrants who toil in this economy, may I respectfully suggest that their generals (i.e., Lou Dobbs, Pat Buchanan, and Tom Tancredo) consider expanding their dragnet? Let’s deport rich people, too!

These rich people are bad for America. We don’t need their ingenuity, their entrepreneurship, or their capital investment. In the name of egalitarian socialism, the only thing we need from them is more tax dollars. We now tax their incomes as salary, corporate profits, dividends, capital gains, and at death. But we must do better.

Perhaps we can tax them when they contribute to charities, or the building of a new church or synagogue, or a symphony orchestra, or a small-town cultural center; or when they create another college; or when they finance private scholarships for inner-city educations.

But we can’t stop there. Let’s criminalize the entire class of successful American entrepreneurs. Let’s haul out the distributional tables from the Joint Tax Committee and the Congressional Budget Office and target all upper-end earners for special wealth taxes.

Maybe we can even impose jail sentences on rich people. No more interest income at all, just like the radical fundamentalist Muslims do it!

Here’s a thought: Let’s publish the names of all rich people in the newspapers and on the blog sites. Even better, when fat cats venture out in public, let’s swarm them like those animal-rights advocates who throw paint on women wearing mink coats.

Simply, we must strive to make America more like France and Germany -- those great income-leveling, income-redistribution states. But it’s gonna take some work. When I last checked the international tax tables, I found that the U.S. has the third highest estate-tax rate out of 50 countries. We should be ashamed. Only third? We tax estates at a 46 percent marginal rate, but Japan is the best at 70 percent, followed by South Korea at 50 percent. We are pikers. How can we dare let Japan be ahead of us on taxing rich people?

The fact that 24 countries have a zero estate-tax rate, including China, should not concern us. They don’t know what they’re doing. And we do. We don’t want to be competitive in the world economy. We’d prefer to hang out a sign reading: “Capitalists are unwelcome in the U.S.”

This whole idea of keeping more of what you earn and own is just plain stupid. In fact, this whole capitalistic notion is just one of those bizarre global trends that undoubtedly will be reversed as people come to their senses.

The Czech Republic, Estonia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico -- they’re obviously all nuts with their zero tax rates on estates. Did I say Mexico? That’s perfect. Instead of creating thousands of new businesses and millions of new jobs in America, our rich can do this for Mexico. If we deport them, that is. What a great idea!

Forget Sen. Jon Kyl’s fallback position of a 15 percent death-tax rate, after exempting the first $5 million of an estate. That would move us too close to Canada, Australia, and Argentina, which also have zero rates. It would also promote the foolish idea that there is a link between reward and work, and reward and risk.

The whacko ultra-right-wing idea that it must pay after-tax to work and invest is simply insane. Forget what the brilliant Arthur Laffer says. The best way to generate more saving and investment is to tax both more.

This may all sound wrong, but our soak-the-rich liberals are deep thinkers. They have their fingers on the pulse of the hundred-million-strong investor class. They know that the worldwide spread of free-market economics, which was launched by Reagan and Thatcher twenty-five years ago, which has raised global prosperity to record heights, and which has caused the phenomenal growth of the middle class in places like India, China, and Russia, is absolutely nuts.

After all, capital is the enemy of labor! Forget the obvious facts that you can’t create a new job without a business and that you can’t fund a new business without capital. That’s obviously wrong.

Once again, capital is the enemy. Rich people are evil. We have to put an end to all this capitalist, supply-side nonsense.

By the way, when is Karl Marx’s birthday? I have to stop writing now, so I can go look it up. Next May? Well, at least that will give me time to prepare a triumphant celebration for the greatest soak-the-rich advocate of all time.