Senate Republicans failed on Thursday to muster the votes needed to abolish the estate tax on inherited wealth, but supporters of a compromise held out hope for a deal this year that could attract enough Democrats to pass.
Few tax measures have generated as much passion. The estate tax currently affects less than 1 percent of families, and it is the most progressive tax in the country because its impact is almost entirely on the nation's richest families.
Well, folks, take it from me: it's fair now, but it didn't used to be that way. Time was, if you inherited anything over about 40 grand, you paid estate tax. I inherited an estate valued at $150,000 a little over thirty years ago. It consisted of $900 cash, that's 'hundred', a house, and some personal effects. I had to dispose of the house to pay $40,000 estate tax. That was more money then than it is now, if you figure a car cost three or four thousand dollars back then.
It didn't actually cost me jack shit. It was 'third party' money. I just got to put less in my pocket. Real estate brokers and probate lawyers did OK off me, too. I still made out like a bandit.
They raised the limit a little while later, mostly due to inflation. The tax was starting to hurt smaller inheritors because the money got worth less so the numbers went up. More and more people had to pay the tax that shouldn't have had to. Sort of like the AMT now.
I think anybody who inherits the $2,000,000 necessary to qualify for the tax should thank their lucky stars for the over $1mil they get to keep cuz Auntie croaked and pay up with a smile. It's free money and it wasn't theirs to begin with. They didn't work for it or earn it.
To them I say: Count your blessings for being smart enough to pick the right family to be born into. Pay your share, you lucky bastards, take what you get and be happy with it.
Bush to tour mansions ravaged by estate tax.