When The Old Man, is Dead and Buried

Discussion in 'Politics' started by pal_of_poor, Aug 27, 2009.

  1. pal_of_poor
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    pal_of_poor VIP Member

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    Another excerpt. Facts won't kill you, but they may just enlighten you.

    When The Old Man Is Dead And Buried

    “ To keep farms in the family we’re going to get rid of the death tax, “ The second President Bush said shortly after it took office, restating a major theme of the successful campaign. It was a powerful message, resonating with deeply rooted cultural values about the human farmers who long ago cleared the eastern forests, broke the Midwest sod and herded cattle to market across the fossil territory, evoking nostalgia among many for common experience largely lost to a world of urban and suburban office workers.

    Soon after president bush took office, both White House and the American farm bureau federation were asked for information identifying families who had lost their farms to the estate tax. After all, but that said repeatedly that to save the family farm, the estate tax had to be killed.

    Weeks passed without any answer. The White House could not find one example.

    The best that the farm bureau could do was R. Elain Gunlad, whose California grape vineyard was hit hard when her husband died unexpectedly and she had to mortgage the land to pay taxes on his estate. But that case was two decades old—In Congress made sure it could never happen again in 1981 when it voted to defer Estate taxes until the death of the second spouse.

    Of course, even though White House and the farm bureau might have just been unable to find specific cases to support their rhetoric. So a reporter and a photographer from a televised The New York Times knocking randomly on the doors of farmers, every one of whom turned out to be an republican who had voted for bush in many of whom were local elected officials. Not one of them had ever heard of a farm lost to the Estate Tax. Nearly all of them wanted to keep the estate tax, but without higher threshold before any taxes due. The most common suggestion was applying the tax only to fortunes greater then 5 million.

    One of these farmers was Harlyn Riekena, who started out teaching public schools as a young man, but quit to farm, spending four decades growing corn and soybeans with his wife Marilyn and raising their children. The Riekena’s worked hard and watched their money, like most farmers who managed to stay in business through bad weather tight credit and unfavorable prices. Over years they bought more land until they own 950 acres of thick loam on the gently rolling hills outside Wellsburg in the best corn growing region in the state, a comfortable home, several cars and investments. Their land alone was worth $2.5 million in 2001, but with what the couple described as a modest tax planning they said that everything they had built up with one day pass to their children untaxed.

    “For most farmers around here, the estate taxes is not high in their minds,” Harlan Riekena said.” “What we need are better crop prices.”

    At the Marshall County Courthouse, where the county supervisors, farmers all, were having coffee and discussing their community’s problems, a reporter’s question about how many farms had been lost to estate taxes true leg-slapping laughter. The supervisors called in that county treasurer, who also farms part time, and asked a local who is in the hallway, but none of them could recall any farm being lost because of the Estate taxes.

    Many of the farmers said there repealing the estate tax was not about helping them—more per bushel for their corn and soybeans would do that—but about helping billionaires. Repealing the estate tax, they said, was about helping the Mars candy making family and Bill Gates and, a few volunteered, the leaders of their party, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, both very wealthy men.

    Neil Harl, In Iowa state university economist who stack seminars are so well attended that he is a household name Amman with Midwestern farmers, search far and wide for three decades for a farm lost to estate taxes without finding a single one. “It’s a myth,” Harl said.

    Harl was aware of one case, from a television newscast, where a family blamed the estate tax for the sale of their farm. But it turned out that the widowed father would not prepare a will, would not take advantage of any of the estate tax breaks in the law and was in debt for unpaid income taxes when he died, a careful viewer of the newscast could discern. In this one case in the loss was the fault of the Farmer not the law.

    That the White House and the farm bureau could not find any examples to substantiate their claims is not surprising because of because few farmers in America have the kind of wealth that would even make them subject to the estate tax. The IRS statistics on estate tax returns show why. Only 2 percent of the 2.4 million Americans who died in the year 2000 left an estate that owed any taxes. Of the 52,000 estates that paid taxes only 2,765 had any farm assets and their average value was $149,000, far below the threshold for Estate Taxes. Compared to other forms of wealth, farms were almost insignificant, equaling $3.16 out of every $1000 of estate taxable wealth. Art in estates was worth more than twice as much as farms, but a campaign to save the family Rembrandts and Picassos would not have won much popular support. Nor would one to protect bank vaults stuffed with cash and bonds, each worth more than 20 times as much as farms, or stock portfolios, which totaled 115 times as much as farms. As the farmers in Iowa knew, estate tax repeal was not about the family farmer.

    Perfectly Legal, the Covert Campaign to Rig the Tax System to Benefit the Super Rich, and Cheat Everyone Else, by David Cay Johnston, pp. 71-73
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  2. Lumpy 1
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    Lumpy 1 Diamond Member Supporting Member

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    ***As the farmers in Iowa knew, estate tax repeal was not about the family farmer.

    Would you believe, family businesses? The question really is, does the government deserve a cut of the inheritance in any case ? They have taxed you your whole life and wasted most of that, how have they earned the final cut?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  3. pal_of_poor
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    pal_of_poor VIP Member

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    Yes, yes they do. In a way, all businesses are family businesses, and only those that are very successful pay these taxes, and there are many devices, trusts, generation skipping trusts, and such, that one can pay a few hundred dollars to a tax accountant and not pay for a lot of them.

    Rich people, in one way or another, use much more of the "commons" which are put in place for all of us to use, from utilities, to the mail, to the roads, to fire, and police protection. Besides, these aren't common joes here, these people are vastly wealthy, and even after the tax, they still have plenty left, they ain't hurtin' like starvin' Marvin.

    And once again, if there is a surviving spouse, they don't pay until they die.

    And once again, do you want to pay, or do you want very rich people to pay. Are you going to give up your useless wars for oil? What are you willing to give up? We need the money, and it isn't a question of whether or not we need it, we do, we've chosen to do all these things, most people don't want to give up any of the small things the government does, we want health care, and further taxing the poor, will directly hurt an already smarting economy. Taxing someone who has millions, will not reduce their power to buy significantly, and our economy depends on spending by 2/3 to thrive. The problem of maldistribution along with globalization (cause for said maldistribution, at least one of them), is they cut the spending ability, as well as a general supply-side policy.
     
  4. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    Wow. You might want to right for Krugman because he might be the only person who get things wronger than you.

    Taxing the poor will hurt the economy? THE POOR DON'T PAY ANY INCOME TAXES!

    Taxing productive people hurt the economy
     

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