Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Murder Tax

On my way to a group meeting, I heard one of the dumbest lines on NPR it has been my horror to contemplate. They were discussing the Estate Tax and the complexities that uncertainty about what Congress will do about it bring up. It's possible for Congress to reinstate the tax for people who die this year while the tax is 0%, so some (but NPR's approach makes it sound like 'all') estates aren't paying out lest the government pull a rabbit out of the hat. Wills and living trusts are being rewritten to say "if I'm a vegetable in this year, pull the plug; but if the estate tax has been reestablished, do keep me alive."

The closing thought, the joke to show NPR is smarmy as well as smooth, was that if Congress has not announced what they will do come November - and I'm close to quoting this exactly - Grandma had better not come to Thanksgiving Dinner unless she brings a food tester with her.


And this, right after they acknowledged that even in its hay day, the Estate Tax affected less than 6% of households. Boy, if this is what we really think of people, the tax's proponents just have to rebrand the "Death Tax" as the "Save the Grandmas Tax:" Estate Taxes Save Lives. You know you're an economist if you believe there is a price of coal above which people would burn their grandmothers.... You know you're a journalist if you generalize that to explain why grandmothers move to Florida.