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Estate tax is beneficial

Posted: August 15, 2010 1:40 p.m.
Updated: August 16, 2010 4:30 a.m.

While I believe we are overtaxed and need less government, I agree with Jim Amaral when he says that the estate tax benefits the regular folk (“How the estate tax benefits small businesses,” Aug. 12).

He is correct when he states most people don’t even have to file estate-tax returns. While everyone files income-tax returns each year, only those who die with assets in the multimillions of dollars have had to file the past few years. If the government needs money, I would rather it take from me when I’m dead than while I’m alive.

The immense accumulation of wealth by a few families is not healthy for the economy or the family. Without the incentive to meet current needs and obligation, those who receive these huge estates perform at the level that is required of them. That is to say, since all their needs are already met, they tend not to become overly productive members of society.

At the risk of being partisan, Ted Kennedy was the poster child for this condition. Never having to earn a living, he was given positions of power that were never earned. He was guilty of crimes for which the average person would have spent serious hard time, but because of his favored position was able to avoid all accountability. Money is power, and money can accumulate additional money.

By not having the redistribution via the estate tax, I believe we will increase the vast divide between the super-wealthy (elites) and hard-working overtaxed entrepreneurs and decrease the upward mobility available to the rank and file.

Having said this, effective Jan. 1, if Congress doesn’t get its act together, the exclusion from estate tax drops to $1 million and the tax rate goes to 55 percent. This exclusion is too low and the rate too high. Instead of a few people having to file estate returns at this level, many people will have to have estate returns.

When many people have homes with a value close to the amount of the exclusion, it is necessary and important to increase the exclusion level to remain where only the truly wealthy will be subject to this tax.



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