NOT ALL DEATHS ARE SAD. The federal estate tax died at 12:01 A.M. on January 1, an occasion of joy if there ever was one. Allowing it to expire was one of the few sensible things Congress accomplished in 2009. Keeping it dead should be a congressional goal for 2010.
Estate-tax repeal was one element of the tax cuts George W. Bush signed into law in his first year as president. But the legislation was perversely drafted. It phased out the tax over 10 years, reducing the rate from 55 percent in 2001 to 45 percent in 2009, and then eliminating it entirely in 2010 – but only for a year. If Congress does nothing else, the estate tax will reappear in 2011, at the old rate of 55 percent on all assets above $1 million.
Needless to say, this temporary vanishing act is wreaking havoc on estate planning, and many analysts expect lawmakers to revive the tax sometime this year, perhaps even making it retroactive to January 1. But if the goal is clarity and certainty in the tax code, a far better option would be to make the repeal permanent.
To class warriors, of course, abolition of the estate tax is a disgrace. The American Prospect's Tim Fernholz wonders why foes of the estate tax are so keen on "lining the pockets of the already-wealthy," and bristles at the thought of not taxing "folks who inherit huge fortunes" when their parents die. "It makes little sense," declaims USA Today in a recent editorial, "to shower tax breaks on a tiny sliver of the nation's wealthiest citizens."
But the nation's wealthiest citizens aren't the ones the estate tax hurts. The Rockefeller, Buffett, and Kennedy fortunes are secure, shielded from the IRS by flocks of tax lawyers and accountants. As Henry J. Aaron of the Brookings Institution and Boston College economist Alicia Munnell have sardonically observed, estate taxes "are penalties on those who neglect to plan ahead or who retain unskilled estate planners." Populist rhetoric notwithstanding, they add, American estate taxes "have failed to achieve their intended purposes. They raise little revenue. They impose large excess burdens. They are unfair."
Far from affecting only billionaires and pampered heiresses -- inheritance tax supporters love to invoke Paris Hilton -- taxes on estates are mostly levied on small- to medium-sized businesses and family-owned farms. Between 1995 and 2004, the congressional Joint Economic Committee noted in a 2006 report, estate taxes were paid by the owners of more than 37,000 "closely-held businesses," as well as 24,000 farms, 50,000 limited partnerships, and nearly 28,000 other non-corporate businesses. "These data clearly indicate," said the JEC, "that the estate tax has broad and significant costs for thousands of family businesses."
Since many such businesses operate without large cash reserves, a hefty tax bill can leave them with no option but to liquidate valuable assets or sell off the business entirely. The cumulative cost to the economy can be measured in lower growth, lost jobs, and diminished entrepreneurship. According to a 2009 study by Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the former director of the Congressional Budget Office, permanent abolition of the estate "would raise the probability of hiring by 8.6 percent, increase payrolls by 2.6 percent, and expand investment by 3 percent. . . . [T]his translates to roughly 1.5 million additional small business jobs." It also translates to higher federal revenues -- not the first time a tax cut would yield an increase in tax dollars collected.
But while the practical and economic arguments against the estate tax are many and strong, it is the moral argument that really hits home.
The estate tax is pernicious because it punishes precisely the kind of behavior society should want to reward -- work, prudence, savings -- and it rewards behavior that should be discouraged -- profligacy, overconsumption, and leisure. The easiest way to avoid all death taxes, after all, is to spend your money before you go. Work hard, reinvest your earnings, and leave your life's savings to your loved ones, on the other hand, and the IRS becomes one of your heirs. As economist Arthur Laffer memorably put it in an essay last year, "Spend It in Vegas, or Die Paying Taxes." That is hardly the message we should want our tax laws to convey.
NOT ALL DEATHS ARE SAD
BY JEFF JACOBY
THE BOSTON GLOBE
SUNDAY, 03 JANUARY 10
BARRY SOETORO aka BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA
He is not eligible to be
President of the United States
because he is not a Natural Born Citizen
as required by Article Two, Section One, Clause Five of the United States Constitution.
This is a fact REGARDLESS of
where he was born (Mombassa, Hawaii, Chicago, Mecca or Mars).
He is not eligible
because he was not born of
BOTH OF WHOM WERE UNITED STATES CITIZENS
AT THE TIME OF HIS BIRTH
as required by the Constitution.
Barack Hussein Obama Jr. is not eligible to be President of the United States because – according to public admissions made by him – his “birth status was governed” by the United Kingdom. Obama further admits he was a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies at birth.
Since Barack Hussein Obama Jr. was, if born in the state of Hawaii, a dual citizen, who – according to his own State Department – owed allegiance to the Queen of England and United Kingdom at the time of his birth – he cannot therefore be a “natural born” citizen of the US according to Article 2, Section 1, Clause 5 of the US Constitution.
His father, who did not live in the United States for more than a couple of years, was a subject/ciitizen
of Kenya/Great Britain at the time of Barack’s birth and afterwards, AND further, as Barack himself admitted on his website during the 2008 campaign, Barack was therefore born SUBJECT TO THE GOVERNANCE OF GREAT BRITAIN.
Here is a direct quote from Obama's "Fight the Smears/Fact Check" 2008 website:
‘When Barack Obama Jr. was born on Aug. 4,1961, in Honolulu, Kenya was a British colony, still part of the United Kingdom’s dwindling empire. As a Kenyan native, Barack Obama Sr. was a British subject whose citizenship status was governed by The British Nationality Act of 1948. That same act governed the status of Obama Sr.‘s children…’ “
The FACT that he was not born of TWO US CITIZEN PARENTS is all that matters. The question of his birth certificate is a distraction (a distraction fostered by Obama’s supporters?) that ought not to occupy our time and resources. BUT if you are really convinced of the value of the COLB (certificate of live birth) that Obama posted on his website, see this:
Also, it is possible that he is not a United States
citizen at all through his mother if he was born in Kenya, as three witnesses have testified. The reason is because his mother could not pass her US citizenship on to her son because she did not live continuously in the United States for five full years after her fourteenth birthday as required by the US immigration law in effect during that period of time.
Check it out:
Also, an excellent introductory primer on Obama Presiidential Eligibility is to be found at:
His usurpation can only be corrected (1) by Congress through his Impeachment and Removal [something which will never happen in a Congress controlled by Pelosi/Reid], or (2) it can be
corrected by his resignation, which could happen if the public presssure on him to resign becomes great enough, or (3) by his removal by the United States Supreme Court affirming a Quo Warranto decision of the United States Federal District Court for the District of Columbia [which process Attorney General Eric Holder would never allow to even begin] or (4) by an amendment to the Constitution,
which will never happen because that again would require the agreement of a Congress controlled by Pelosi/Reid.
HERE IS THE QUESTION WHICH EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN SHOULD BE ASKING HIS OR HER CONGRESSMAN AND SENATORS
“During the 2008 election, then Senator Obama published a statement at his website which said that his birth status was ‘governed’ by the British Nationality Act of 1948. Can you please tell me, and the American people, how a person governed - at birth - by British law, can be a natural born citizen of the United States and thus constitutionally eligible to be President of the United States?”
- Leo Rugiens