T Nation

We Need to Get Rid of the Death Tax


We really need to get rid of this absurd, travesty of a tax. I wonder what our founding fathers would think of the estate tax. This tax really bothers me and is, IMHO, one of the worst taxes that this nation has imposed on it's citizens.

And btw, I don't give a shit if this tax only affects the wealthiest Americans, they're still Americans that are getting punished for being wealthy. What claim does the government have to these peoples inheritence? What right does the govt. have to tax something that's already been taxed? This is bullshit, and it needs to end.

I know, I know,..... but their rich!, and we're gonna get those rich fucks!........for being rich! Those rich bastards!


In Estate-Tax Battle, One Man Does What He Can

[i]By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum
Monday, May 15, 2006; Page D01

Whenever the chief executive of a big shareholder-owned auto retailer sees Jack Fitzgerald, he goes out of his way to say hello. But Fitzgerald, owner of Bethesda-based Fitzgerald Auto Malls, knows that the guy is not just being nice. He wants to sweet-talk Fitzgerald into selling his thriving business, which Fitzgerald does not want to do.

But he may have no choice. Fitzgerald's 40-year-old chain, which operates dealerships in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Florida, is too large for him to pass easily to his heirs without their being crushed by the estate tax. As a result, Fitzgerald, 70, has become a part-time lobbyist, meeting with members of Congress and peddling his own version of estate-tax repeal.

Unfortunately, Fitzgerald, though amiable and determined, is learning the hard way what generations of executives before him have come to know: The nation's capital is a difficult place for any one man to make things happen. Even though Fitzgerald is a native Washingtonian -- having grown up not far from the Capitol -- and is well-liked by many lawmakers, changing laws is a frustrating exercise. He isn't likely to succeed this year, lawmakers and analysts say.

Still, Fitzgerald, like the good salesman he is, remains optimistic. "I think there's an interest in making some sort of deal," he said. "But it has taken a lot of my time -- too much time."

Fitzgerald knows that he isn't a sympathetic character, at least from the standpoint of a publicly elected official. He's simply too wealthy. His company owns a twin-engine jet that Fitzgerald loves to fly. His more than 30 auto franchises in 14 locations bring in hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year. "Nobody loves rich people," Fitzgerald said. "When I was poor, I didn't like them either."

So he doesn't emphasize his personal well-being when he talks to lawmakers about the unfairness of the tax. Quite the opposite. He makes clear that he could sell his company and protect his family financially without any problem. He worries, instead, about his 1,400 employees, a large number of whom a new owner would probably get rid of, to cut costs and boost profits. "These people are important to me," he said. "I don't want putting a lot of them out of work on my conscience."

Fitzgerald has always run his business like an extended family and has never laid off an employee. Many of his top executives have been with him their entire careers and their children are on the same path. Harold Redden, a vice president, started as a floor sweeper 32 years ago. Now he has two sons in the business. Garry Jenkins, an executive vice president with the same length of service, also has two sons in the company. A few longtime employees have grandchildren on the payroll.

"That's what makes this place special," Fitzgerald said. "It's a compliment to us when they want to bring sons or daughters or cousins into the business."

But Fitzgerald does more than tug at the heartstrings. He also makes a compelling case against the estate tax on policy grounds. He notes that privately owned businesses like his are the nation's most effective engines for economic growth and job creation. Yet the estate tax has for years forced owners to sell to corporate giants, which often stifles innovation, expansion and good feelings between workers and their bosses.

Fitzgerald is so worried that he's been wearing down his shoe leather meeting with people in a position to help -- and donating to their campaigns. He's talked to several members of the Maryland congressional delegation -- though he said that Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) will barely spare him the time. He has also been making his voice heard through the American International Automobile Dealers Association, the National Automobile Dealers Association and the National Federation of Independent Business, the chief small-business lobby -- each of which pushes constantly to repeal the estate tax.

A couple of weeks ago, Fitzgerald sat at a front table during a speech by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Kyl is one of Congress's leading advocates for estate-tax repeal. and after the address Fitzgerald buttonholed him to express his support and to say that he had a plan that would eliminate the tax without the government losing all the revenue it produces.

Fitzgerald wants to pay his estate tax "in advance." He has calculated a series of surtax rates that, if applied to people at various levels of income, would replace the revenue generated by the estate tax each year. He said he is more than willing to pay what he owes through such a method rather than saddle his family with the entire burden when he dies. Fitzgerald is scheduled soon to lay out his plan in detail to an aide to Kyl.

President Bush has long backed the idea of ending what he calls "the death tax." But budgetary constraints allowed him only a partial victory in 2001. Bush signed into law a bill that eliminated the tax for one year only -- 2010. It will come back to life in 2011 unless Congress acts to change it. The Senate will probably vote on the issue next month.

Opponents of repeal argue that only a small number of people would benefit directly from such a change. Of the 2.4 million adults who died in 2003, only 28,600 left estates that were liable for any tax, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. In other words, the levy fell on the richest 1.2 percent of Americans with the highest taxable estates. What's more, they contend, a sharp reduction in the estate tax would deprive the government of many billions of tax dollars each year that are now slated for food stamps, health care and the like.

Fitzgerald says his plan would keep government whole while also keeping his business and employees together. And that kind of good deed, he hopes, would ease his entry into heaven. At the same time, he knows, quoting scripture: "It is simpler for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a man with much money to go into the kingdom of God."


It doesn't affect the rich.

It affects the children of the rich, who have done nothing but ride into existence on the right dick.

This tax applies to less than 0.5% of the country and I am assuming you are not one of them.


Close the current loop holes and then get rid of the tax.

Until then, tax 'em.


Tell that to the numerous small businessman that i meet with every single day that say the biggest deterent to them being able to pass their business on to their children is the death tax. And I am not talking about Microsoft here.

I am talking about landscaping/nurserys with two or three shops or home builders who have started out smacking nails in and now have a viable home building operation with 10-15 employees.....say by by to that operation under current law.


It does.

I would love to amass a shitload of money to pass on to my children, not the government.

When did it become the responsibillity, let alone any sort of a right, for the government to decide who's "earned" what? Do you want a government that had the power to usurp whatever it feels you haven't earned? Punish someone for being born well? That's ridiculas.

This is unfair taxation and I think you know it.

I'm actually far from that. But does that matter? This sort of taxation, IMHO, is at it's very core, UNAMERICAN!

Wealth redistribution. I can think of two individuals that would think this is a good idea.

Robin Hood and Hugo Chavez.


What, "loopholes," are you talking about?


That sucks, and is an example of what I'm talking about.

What's funny, is that the same people who think the govt. has too much power under the patriot act, think this sort of wealth confiscation/redistribution at the hands of the govt. is fine. WTF!!


It applies to all of the children of parents who worked hard to pass down a few bucks. And the government DOES NOT deserve to share in it!


Who are you guys to want to keep your money? What gives you the right to selfishly keep your lifetime savings and businesses? There are hungry and homeless people in Louisiana and all around this world! It is your obligation to feed and clothe every needy person on this planet before you even think of keeping anything you've earned!

That's the true essence of altruism. And if you guys don't like it, we've got guns and jail cells waiting for you, courtesy of the IRS!




Wealth distribution like the current round of tax "cuts" that will cut the rates on people making over a million bucks by $40,000 and people earning $50,000 by 20 bucks?

Bush has been redistributing wealth since he got in office, only instead o trickling down, everything gets sucked up.


Would you like for me to list them one at a time or can I just suggest that the wealthy of this country pay less percentage of tax than the middle.

Or were you completely unaware of the fact that the wealthy have 'avenues' for which to avoid paying some taxes?


my father has been brining this up to me lately, since he does own a large buisness. he's not a "rich" man, not by the standards set today. his big concern has been taxes taking away what he has worked his whole life to create. there are some loop holes he has been researching, but i don't have any knowledge of the situation. seeing as i work for him now, it's in our best interest to figure this shit out.


Now I know that you are bright enough to understand the following concept:

If, for example there is a 10% tax cut that a man making $500,000 per year will get a reduction of $50,000 per year. Whereas a person making only $50,000 per year would receive a reduction of $5,000 per year.

It's completely fair!


You know I have knocked down a good amount of money each year. But, I have yet to take advantage of any of those tax breaks that they say all the "rich" are able to get.

So, please list these advantages and if they make any sense I will send them to my accountant who had better act on them so that I can take advantage of the system.

Becuase...so far it seems that the more I make the more I pay!

I am quite serious, and I thank you in advance.



It is a tax that effects the super rich and the super rich only. I'm not crying any tears for those it hits, because it certainly isn't going to be me, and it's not going to be you either.

As Harris said, tax cuts for those that need them least are already becoming a habit in this country. I don't think the estate tax is killing anybody, although it doesn't surprise me that they want to do this. Turn a blind eye towards poverty, and then give the rich tax cuts, and then get rid of taxes on their estates. And then they all wonder why the gap between the rich and the rest of us is getting larger and larger.


Fair, but not just. The man who makes 50,000, or, better yet,the single mother who makes 30,000, needs the money just a little bit more than the man making 500,000 a year.

With the tax cuts they just passed, a person making under $20,000 (me) gets a tax cut of $3. Good to know the government is looking out for me.


But you don't pay much either.

How can you expect to get a bigger tax cut when you make so little?

You get the same percent that The guy making 500-K gets. That that amount is less than the guy making 500-K is to be expected.

Come on you know that it's "just."

Naturally, you'd like to pay zero taxes, I think we all would.

But you can't keep looking at rich people and complaining. If a guy works hard and makes some money don't begrudge him of a tax break that he deserves.

Irish, what else can be done and still be called fair?


Because he doesn't need that tax break of 25,000. Fair is from each according to what they can pay, and then letting the government use it appropriately to make the country better.

Hell, you know the way I am. I would rather see national healthcare (at least a minimal system to help those without it) rather than a tax cut, or see us climb out of debt a little.

People who make over a million don't need to get 50,000 dollars back when the government is a kabillion dollars in debt. Not too mention when there are still people starving in this country.

I'm not asking for any tax cut. Keep the money, and put it towards making this country a better place.



the point you are missing is that those tax cuts, even for the wealthy, raise your standard of living, and the ability of the government to do those little pet projects you want to see.

The indisputable fact is that the Bush tax cuts have led to an increase in Tax revenue....why? because our economy, by almost every indicator outside of high oil prices, is doing better than it ever has. With more tax revenues coming in to the government, and lower taxes it is a win win situation for taxpayers and the goverment bean counters.

The estate tax was not covered by the bush tax plan that was enacted but dont you think it makes more sense to keep entrepeanurial businesses in the hands of their original owners or their families rather than forcing them to sell to corporations so they dont have to pay the tax burden upon death or leave that burden to their children. I sure do.


Good amount is different from the majority of people actually affected by the death tax. I'm talking about the people with huge net worths who DO shield a great deal of potentially taxable income.

You want to play semantics. I want everyone to pay their fair share. I gaurantee you people who pull $1 mil/yr are not paying 33% of their income in taxes. And I'll take the next step and say people who's net worth puts them in the top 10% of wealth figures take advantage of many of the loopholes and 'programs' not available to those of us who survive on a much more modest income.

And I'm not talking about the 'fake' rich here. Let's talk about old money.

I don't want to see the gov't take it away. That is not my point. I certainly don't want to see people who have worked hard not be able to help their children. My contention--again--is with the uber rich who probably have already figured a way to bypass this tax anyway.