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Bush Literally Stealing From Orphans & Widows

Cy Guy (56083) writes | more than 8 years ago

Republicans 15

I had already heard on Air America that Bush's latest budget proposed eliminating the vestigial $255 "death benefit" from Social Security(one commentator noted the irony of cutting this while at the same time wanting to make the elimination of the Inheritance Tax (which the GOP incorrectly call the "Death Tax" - a levy that soley effects the estates of multimillionaires). Well today I see that is not the only cut he has planned for Social Security, he also plans to

I had already heard on Air America that Bush's latest budget proposed eliminating the vestigial $255 "death benefit" from Social Security(one commentator noted the irony of cutting this while at the same time wanting to make the elimination of the Inheritance Tax (which the GOP incorrectly call the "Death Tax" - a levy that soley effects the estates of multimillionaires). Well today I see that is not the only cut he has planned for Social Security, he also plans to eliminate survivor benefits for teenagers that drop out of school.

Long-time readers of this journal might be aware that we have close friends who lost the father/husband in their family about two years ago. Such a loss has long-term emotional effects on kids, emotional effects that may contribute to problems in school. The thirteen-year-old daughter in this family is currently having some academic problems, and I don't know if she will be able to stay in school through graduation. So this change could have a direct effect on them.

I also find it yet another ironic proposal from the President that brought us "No Child Left Behind" because it seems directly targetted to leave behind some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

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death tax (1)

eglamkowski (631706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669020)

Isn't just for millionaires.

A lot of people sitting on land they bought 50 years ago might find their estate with millions of dollars in value.

Farmers who barely made ends meet with thousands of acres of farmland might have estates valued at millions of dollars.

Hell, anybody who buys their own insurance policy on themselves has to add the proceeds for that insurance payout into their estate, and even people in lower income levels can potentially get large insurance policies. Middle class folks might wind up with millions in estate value after adding in insurance proceeds, pensions, annuities, etc.

You don't need to be a millionaire in life to be a millionaire in death. Those who have millions in life are NOT the ones screwed by the death tax, since they can hire the expensive tax planners to escape most or all of the tax. It's the lower income folks who become millionaires upon their death who are the most screwed by these taxes.

Re:death tax (1)

crawling_chaos (23007) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669379)

So raise the amount at which the tax kicks in or exempt capital gains due to land used for agriculture or by the inheritor. You can fix it short of enshrining a permanent aristocracy in this country, which we already damn near well have.

The real core problem there (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670570)

Is an irrational housing market that inflates land value at a rate many times that of inflation. Seems to me a correction would be a nationwide Land Use Plan with strict urban growth boundaries and use restrictions. There is NO reason why a farm that can barely be profitable should be worth millions- there should be a closer link between land value and productive capacity.

On the insurance problem (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670754)

Anybody paying for more insurance than is needed to cover the cost of their loss the insurance is for is either getting ripped off or is gambling- and any insurance company that is allowing such payouts in excess of need is doing their stockholders quite the disservice.

Re:death tax (1)

SiliconJesus (1407) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671489)

You don't need to be a millionaire in life to be a millionaire in death. Those who have millions in life are NOT the ones screwed by the death tax, since they can hire the expensive tax planners to escape most or all of the tax. It's the lower income folks who become millionaires upon their death who are the most screwed by these taxes.

My parents bought their home in 1978 for $68,000. It is now worth about half a million. Its just a small split foyer, but its situated on nearly two acres, and within an hour of Washington DC and Baltimore. No matter what we do to try to alleviate the tax, because of that large boom in the housing market in this area, we're going to get destroyed in taxes.

My father-in-law lives in a small house on a small lot near Whitemarsh Maryland. His house is only worth about $200,000, but he's also a collector of cars. He has a 1966 Corvette with 6,000 miles on it. Thanks to the death tax, odds are we're not going to see that car after he dies.

The solutions to both are not very palatable. In order to reduce our risk of losing more to death tax, we have to start to assume the resources of our elders at a younger age. This leads to more issues, as it raises our 'worth' in the government's eyes, and makes us exempt from government assistance programs such as financial aid for college.

How fair is it to exclude the offspring of the boon of their parents? Why should the successful be punished at nearly 50% for doing well for themselves? Why is this allowed in a pro-free market country.

Re:death tax (1)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14674173)

My parents bought their home in 1978 for $68,000. It is now worth about half a million. Its just a small split foyer, but its situated on nearly two acres, and within an hour of Washington DC and Baltimore. No matter what we do to try to alleviate the tax, because of that large boom in the housing market in this area, we're going to get destroyed in taxes.

I would suggest they look into getting a reverse mortgage which provides a steady stream of payments from the bank to the homeowners. They could then use this stream of funds to disperse their estate by each making $10,000 gifts to each of their heirs each year. If they have say 4 heirs this means they could reduce the size of their estate by $80,000 each year.

My father-in-law lives in a small house on a small lot near Whitemarsh Maryland. His house is only worth about $200,000, but he's also a collector of cars. He has a 1966 Corvette with 6,000 miles on it. Thanks to the death tax, odds are we're not going to see that car after he dies.

The exempt amount is now $2M, if his car collection is worth $1.8M then he has a lot more than that one car. If it looks like his estate is over $2M, I suggest that he signs over the pink slips of one or two of the cars he plans to will to heirs each year to lessen the chance he goes over the limit.

Re:death tax (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14675006)

Isn't just for millionaires.
A lot of people sitting on land they bought 50 years ago might find their estate with millions of dollars in value.
Farmers who barely made ends meet with thousands of acres of farmland might have estates valued at millions of dollars.


So it's not for millionaires, except when it is. When/if the estate is sold, it creates a millionaire.

It's been five years, and we're still waiting to see one person who was kicked off a family farm as a result of the 'death tax'. Kicked off for failure to repay loans? Sure. But that's a screed for another day.

nclb (1)

eglamkowski (631706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669037)

The No Child Left Behind Act was a horrible idea from the beginning, I think most people agree with that. The only thing is that people agree to that for different reasons. I think it was horrible because I believe the federal government has no business in primary education. You may want to see it repealed and something better put in place. I'll help you get it repealed, but you're on your own in getting something else to take its place.

Re:nclb (1)

ellem (147712) | more than 8 years ago | (#14669113)

Sen. Brownback is a blight on America... however, he was right to want to abolish the Department of Education.

Not giving someone else's money to someone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14669523)

...is not stealing.

Re:Not giving someone else's money to someone... (1)

eglamkowski (631706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670043)

Oh come on - lefties only accuse you of greed for wanting to keep your own money. It's nothing to take your money, especially if you are "rich", but just insist on keeping it and damn you're a greedy bastard!

Re:Not giving someone else's money to someone... (1)

Cy Guy (56083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14670317)

It's money the parent put into Social Security while they were working. While it's more like an insurance policy than a savings account, changing the payout of the insurance policy to cut off dependant children would certainly be considered stealing by most people.

Re:Not giving someone else's money to someone... (1)

eglamkowski (631706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14671231)

Except the "putting money into Social Security while they were working" part actually IS stealing, since they had no choice as to whether or not to put money into SS in the first place.

If I took your money from you by force, even if I put it in a bank account with your name on it (which is NOT what happens with social security!!), it would still be theft, I'd still be arrested, and still go to jail.

Just because the government does it doesn't mean it's not theft. And they don't even do that, since there's no account at the SSA with your name on it.

more signs that america is bankrupt... (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14672454)

when a person can be too poor to be able to afford to die ;)
the death benfit is meant to cover basic funeral expenses but you can't even get thrown in an incenerator in a cardbord box for the money they're giving.

and yeah estate taxes apply to everyone from business owners, to farmers, but who wants to bet that when sam walton died they had a fleet of tax professionals making sure the absolute 'minimum' tax was paid. that's not something your typical 'family farm' is going to have available to them.

Moo (1)

Chacham (981) | more than 8 years ago | (#14726330)

levy that soley effects the estates of multimillionaires)

Without debating the actual subject (of how it affects many), i'd like to comment that even if it did only affect millionaires, that still is not appropriate.
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