Tomorrow in New York City, prominent liberal billionaires Bill Gates, former Treasury Secretary and co-chairman of Goldman Sachs Robert Rubin, Abigail Disney, Richard Rockerfeller and Vanguard Founder John Bogle will call for a hike in the federal death tax in order to "avert the fiscal cliff austerity bomb." In 2009, President Obama brought back the death tax after President Bush attempted to abolish it.
President Obama's budget keeps the estate tax at its 2009 level, which means the government gets 45 percent of a dead person's estate valued over $3.5 million dollars or $7 million for a couple.
In 2001 and 2003, Republicans helped push through President Bush's tax cuts that lowered the estate tax from 55 percent to 45 percent this year and would have eliminated them next year.
Democrats contend that keeping the tax rate at 45 percent in 2010 is still a break from the 55 percent and insist the federal coffers would take too much of a hit if Congress completely repealed the tax.
These rich billionaires are doing what they classify as being responsible with their wealth but this move is hypocritical considering people like Gates have already given away their wealth to private charities rather than the government. If these people really want the government to tax them more after they die, they should donate to the United States Treasury before getting settled in the grave. Not to mention, the death tax doesn't hit rich billionaires the hardest but instead destroys family farms. A hike in the death tax would force family farmers to sell their farms in order to simply pay those taxes.