Without an estate tax and the related gift tax, huge untaxed fortunes could be built and passed on generation after generation tax-free. No one knows it better than the richest man in America, Bill Gates. Microsoft began with a gift from his parents, Bill Sr. and the late Mary Gates. And in significant ways it was the taxpayers who made that gift possible. The father went to college on the GI Bill. The couple bought their first house with a VA loan. Those investments by the taxpayers paid off for the Gates family, as they did for millions of other Americans. The father became a successful Seattle lawyer. The couple had money to give their son to start his business, after he dropped out of Harvard, because the taxpayers also paid a salary to Mrs. Gates when she taught public school. So not only did the country's largest fortune begin with a gift that was tax-free, but also the gift money was there because of the taxpayers. Many wealthy Americans who favor the estate tax do so because they understand that taxpayer investments like those made in the Gates family helped build our society and economy. That the supporters of an estate tax are led by Bill Gates Sr., along with billionaires Warren Buffett and George Soros, is an inconvenient fact for Soldano and her backers. They have worked so hard to create the impression that opposition is universal among all but estate tax lawyers and the random socialist or communist, yet here are these rich men saying keep the estate tax. While Bill Gates himself has not lent his name to the cause, there is no question that he supports his fathers work. He made his father president of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the largest private foundation in the world), which works to improve the chance that children born in poverty will get a shot at a healthy and successful life. And he has his own plans, which he will announce in his own time that will eventually demonstrate his own awareness that his fortune was not the result of just his negotiating skills and smarts, but of public investments in his family, in education and scientific research and in the precursor to the Internet. What makes America great are the things we have done to strengthen equality of opportunity, Bill Gates Sr. and Chuck Collins wrote in their slender book defending the estate tax, Wealth and our Commonwealth. Perfectly Legal, The Covert Campaign to Rig our Tax System to Benefit the Super-Rich--and Cheat Everybody Else, by David Cay Johnston p. 83 I keep plugging on this issue because I hope to keep people informed with the truth of the issue, and the motivations behind it, because it will come up again in 2010 (no estate taxes) and 2011, back to old levels. I actually advocate a higher cap, and perhaps a slightly lower tax. But for the same reasons it was put in place, I believe this tax on the richest families in America, is a good thing, to keep the cream rising to the top, rather than a plutocracy of American Royalists, keeping the smartest people down. In some small way, it levels the playing field a bit, and allows our most talented people to rise. Often second, and third generation rich atrophy from the initial generation, or the kids of the rich end up being Paris Hilton-esque, though our country is so messed up that idiots like her are worshipped for the stupidest things.