Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Death Tax Should Die

The Bush-era tax rates live on! Despite the very best efforts of those of the Democrat persuasion to raise tax rates on the "rich," they were unable to do so. Their rationale was that the "rich" had no right to keep the money they earned. They should forfeit it, I guess, so that those less "rich" could enjoy its redistribution. And you know what "rich" is. That's anybody who makes more money than you do. Thus, the rates that have been in effect for nearly ten years will continue without change. Notice there will be no tax cuts for anybody, including the "rich." Just a continuation of the existing rates of taxation for two more years. But fret not. Two years from now we'll get to revisit this fight when the next general election rolls around. Don't know about you, but I can't wait...

But another aspect of this tax compromise (the Mainstream Media calls it a "compromise" when the Dems had no choice but to capitulate) is that the estate tax will go from zero percent to 35% on estates valued at more than $5,000,000. The Dems wanted 55% over $3.5 Million. The Republicans wanted the estate tax to be abolished once and for all. And so the compromise was one that neither side liked. And one that will once again be rehashed in a couple of years.

Let us take a look at this estate tax deal. You earn some money and you're taxed on it. You invest a little bit of what's left and realize a return and you're taxed on it. You keep investing and earning and you're taxed still more. Yet if your investments fail and you lose, none of that money the government confiscated from you in the form of taxes over the years is returned. So why, I ask, if for no other reason than fairness (WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAW SOME OF THAT?), should your heirs be taxed on your estate when you die? And if a little bit of taxation is good, why isn't more better? Instead of 35% or 40% over a certain amount of valuation, how about a taxation rate of 75% from the first dollar? How about 100%? Would that be fair? Would that serve to benefit society? Or would it just make those who like to engage in class warfare feel warm and fuzzy all over?

The heart of an estate may well be a family farm or a machine shop or a couple of 7-11s. They may generate an annual income but may not have liquid assets sufficient to pay off the tax man hovering over the death bed. The farmer dies and his heirs have to borrow against the farm in order to satisfy the taxes. And what if the farm cannot generate enough profits to cover the loan payment? Then the farm has to be sold to make the Democrats and the IRS happy. And the farmer's heirs now have to start all over because of the redistributionist philosophy so warmly embraced by the lefties among us. The business is destroyed for no reason other than to punish those whose forbears were able to amass an estate. Does this make sense to you? It doesn't make sense to me...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Infuriating Phrases

Are you as tired as I am of political speak? You know, the phrases pols use interminably to shovel their pablum down our collective throats? Whether left or right, liberal or conservative, or even independent, these elected preening elites and talking head pundits seem to always use the same catch phrases to make their points. Need examples? Here's a few:

"On the ground." This is usually used to describe what's actually happening where people live and work, or where soldiers are digging foxholes, or in the real world, as opposed to the theoretical and ethereal ivory tower hoped-for results, this phrase would go something like this: "Events are unfolding almost exactly as envisioned, because the successes "on the ground" bely the results correctly anticipated by our highly-qualified supporters and widely vilified by our Godless adversaries." It's simply a way to cap an argument with gobbledygook and sound like you know whereof you speak.

"At the end of the day." A politician or pundit rambles on and on for several paragraphs about this or that with some "on the one hand" and a little bit of "on the other hand" posits, creatively covering all the bases, and winds up with "…so, at the end of the day," we can expect such-and-such to likely occur. This means, I guess, that when all's said and done, the results should be as projected. Unless they aren't. In all fairness, President Clinton used a variation on this theme. His preferred paragraph capper was, "…when the last dog dies."

"Created or saved." This is the one which infuriates me most. The Obama Administration has, it says, "created or saved" 3.5 Million jobs since it stuffed the more than $800 Billion stimulus plan up our collective arses a year and a half ago. "Created," I can understand. But "saved"? The Plan was guaranteed to keep unemployment below 8%. And then it zoomed to nearly 10%. And has, as we're all aware, stayed there. So what's a politician to do? Simple. You just figure out how many jobs you need to have saved, an immeasurable quantity, don't you know, in order to stay in power, and that's the number of jobs you saved. Clever, huh?

"Going/Moving forward." This is pol speak for pay no attention at all to what just happened. Let's focus on the future. So if an elected official wishes to deflect your steely gaze from failed policies, wasted resources, missed opportunities, shaded truths and ethical lapses, he or she only has to say, "…and in summation, 'going forward…" to create a bookmark between the chapters of his bloviation. Don't look back, Mr. and Mrs. America, even though that's where my track record and every indication of what the future holds can be found. Absolutely not. Look only forward. Because that's where the (my) future lay…

There are many others. I'm sure you have some of your own. But let's all agree that we shouldn't need a Rosetta Stone to decipher what our employees in D. C. and Sacramento and even City Hall actually mean by what they are saying. Or, then again, maybe it's better that we don't actually know. At least we won't get sick to our stomachs that way…