Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thoughts on the estate tax: Avarice is insatiable.

By Eleanor Arnason

[Senate Republican leaders failed this month in their attempt to repeal the federal estate tax, but have vowed to continue their effort to end the tax on the nation’s richest people. Eleanor equates the GOP with dragons and passes on her thoughts about the tax and some other columnists perspective of it. – Diane]

This quote comes via Digby’s web log. It’s from Paul Krugman, whose fine op ed pieces are now hidden behind the dread New York Times subscription wall. I think they put the wall up when they realized that many people were reading the Times on line only to find out what Krugman was saying. He wrote:
The campaign for estate tax repeal has largely been financed by just 18 powerful business dynasties, including the family that owns Wal-Mart.You may have heard
tales of family farms and small businesses broken up to pay taxes, but those
stories are pure propaganda without any basis in fact. In particular, advocates
of estate tax repeal have never been able to provide a single real example of a
family farm sold to pay estate taxes.Nonetheless, the estate tax is up for a vote this week.

… Let me remind senators that this isn't just a fiscal issue, it's also a moral issue. Congress has already declared that the budget deficit is serious enough to warrant depriving children of health care; how can it now say that it's worth enlarging the deficit to give Paris Hilton a tax break?”
I find this amazing. 18 families, each with enough money to solve the problems of many countries, are fighting to pay no inheritance tax. Even if taxes on income and estates were raised to where they were in the good old days of the 1950s, these people would have enough for all necessities and any luxury the rest of us can imagine. What we are looking at here is simple avarice, the Gollum saying, “mine, mine,” or a dragon sitting on its pile of hoarded gold.

I don’t think we should try to satisfy this avarice. Avarice is insatiable by its nature. The dragon will always want to add to its hoard.

No comments: