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Too Expensive to Die

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The end is near.  Some kind of decision will be made on the fiscal cliff mess but it will more than likely be nothing substantial.  Knowing Congress, it will be a shot of morphine to ease our pain as we continue to be on death watch.

Speaking of death watch; no one other than financial gurus and geeks are talking about the impending rise in the estate tax.  Is no one paying attention to this blatant theft of savings and assets that have already been taxed once?

If nothing is done, on January 1, 2013 the estate tax will cripple more than what they are calling the “evil” rich.  It will reach down and squeeze the life out of working families who have managed to save money and assets for their heirs. 

Right now the combined lifetime and gift tax exemption is $5.12 million per person and the estate tax is 35%.  If nothing is resolved the combined estate and gift tax exemption drops to $1 million and the estate tax rises to 55%.  That may not sound like a big deal to some people, but in reality it affects more than you know.  Family farms will be hit hard.  Many people who have homes in the more expensive cities and states will be hit by this tax.  Let’s say that you have a home and some stocks, bonds or cash that you have sacrificed to save and put away for your children; if you die at the stroke of midnight your hard earned (already taxed) money will be confiscated by the government at the rate of 55% over a $1 million dollar exemption.

Democrat Senator from Montana, Max Baucus has sided with the Republicans on this issue because of the impact this rate would have on family owned farms.  He has seen how many families have had to sell family owned properties that have been passed down from generation to generation.  One in ten families are predicted to pay this increase in 2013 if nothing is done and these estates involve asset-rich, cash poor farms.

There could be a compromise where we go back to the tax rates of 2009.  That would be a 45% rate with a $3.5 million exemption.  Vick Patten, former President of the American Family Institute says “America’s family businesses and family farms and family ranches produce 63 percent of all the jobs in America.  When they are forced into a situation where, at the end of each generation, the government confiscates half of or---in terms of what they propose on Jan. 1, more than half of all their capital---this has very, very, very detrimental effects on the survival of the business.”  Even with a compromise it would still affect too many families and would be a drop in the bucket toward solving this financial crisis.

So the bottom line is, don’t die.  It is too expensive. The greedy government wants everything that you have worked for and saved during your lifetime.  They feel “entitled” to your assets and if you die they have the right to confiscate them. Why should you have the right to leave your hard earned money to your children or whomever you wish?  Obama will continue to push his “class warfare” agenda until there is no other class than the poor.  They will grab and steal from those who have contributed their blood, sweat and tears to build businesses and create prosperity.  With the confiscation of estates and assets after you die where will the incentive be to even create prosperity in the first place?  Is it just an exercise to see how much money you can make for the government?

In my opinion the estate tax should be abolished. If you work and pay taxes over your lifetime, you have the right as an American to distribute your assets after your death to whomever you choose without the sticky fingers of government stealing from you and your family.


Morgan Brittany


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