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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press USA Today Goes off the Deep End on the Estate Tax

USA Today Goes off the Deep End on the Estate Tax

Wednesday, 21 July 2010 09:31

USA Today had a major story warning that middle-class families may be hit by the estate tax. It warns that people with estates of just a million will be subject to the tax if the law is not changed. The article never points out that the tax will only affect the amount of the estate over $1 million, nor does it mention that the exemption is per person, so that a couple can easily pass $2 million on to their heirs and escape all tax liability. In short, this article gave readers absolutely no idea of the issues involved and it is likely to make many people, who will at most be trivially affected by the estate tax, to believe that they face serious liability.

The article also bizarrely asserts that partisanship has prevented a resolution of the issue. This is not true as can be clearly seen from the evidence presented in the article. While most Republicans support lowering or eliminating the estate tax, there are also some Democrats who have held out for lower rates. The article presents no evidence whatsoever that partisanship is preventing a resolution, as opposed to a conflict between people who want to pay lower taxes and others who want them to pay higher taxes.


Comments (7)Add Comment
Media bias...
written by scathew, July 21, 2010 12:46
Liberal media bias my...
"Contempt for Workers is the Religion of Elites"
written by Scott ffolliott, July 21, 2010 4:48
"Contempt for Workers is the Religion of Elites"
Any billionare can escape the death tax this year
written by Dirk, July 21, 2010 5:26
If the rich are so much against having to pay the estate tax, they can escape it if they act this year. Afterall, by definition, the rich can afford a handgun and a single round. Put up or shut up I say.
written by Pete, July 21, 2010 5:34
Thanks Again, Mr. Baker,

Another thing I noticed was the use of terms like "comes back with a vengeance" and that some people are "vulnerable", etc. This seems like pretty inflammatory language.

This language seems especially screwed up considering the language used to describe welfare. Shouldn't we be trying to institute a 100% estate tax, after all it would be a real shame if people got a big gift they didn't work for. it might lead to a culture of laziness and sloth - people need to have incentive to work, and if they get huge gifts from their parents they won't be willing to get a job. In the end, by allowing rich kids to inherit from their parents, we end up just hurting them.

written by zinc, July 21, 2010 7:36
Of course, dead guys have no estate so they allready pay no taxes. The term "death tax" is more correctly described as the "tax on transfer of unearned income". The fact that some asshole croaks only serves to trigger the transfer, just like winning the lottery.

Why would we want to empower the children of the elite. Our founders put a stop to the tradition of entails and other forms of aristocracy building through wealth accumulation, transfer, and concentration. We only have to look at the previous President of the United States for a preview of the dangers of untaxed transfers of income. The tea bags ought to be salivating over the chance to stomp on this one.
written by izzatzo, July 21, 2010 9:12
Since Facebook discovered it can't tell whether its members are dead, there's some great opportunities to revive dead estate owners just long enough to convince the IRS for a refund of the death tax on grounds of mistaken identity. See our new publication for the ultra rich who can afford our fee:

Avoid Even More Taxes, Dead and Alive, In That Order
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written by timberland for you , September 11, 2010 3:36
Tucked away in our timberland for you subconscious is an idyllic vision. We see ourselves on a long trip that timberland 6 inch spans the continent. YQ

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.