How the establishment likes to play with our heads! Long years ago, one of their think tank monsters came up with the devious idea of labeling the estate tax as a “death” tax. For people who take in catchy phrases like that without using the gray matter of their brains to think, this automatically sounds like a horrible idea since we don’t like death. The automatic thought runs through their heads: Oh no! I’ve been paying taxes all my life, and now they want to tax me when I’m dead?!?
In reality, non-rich Americans are never touched by the estate tax. Rather, the estate tax is a half-baked attempt to return some of the loot stolen from the rest of us by the super rich to their victims by financing the government which, if all goes as it should, uses its budget to serve us in many useful ways: toll-free roads, free public education, public safety, and social safety net programs like unemployment insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and so on. The estate tax is simply a way of taxing the rich and placing a restriction on the otherwise unlimited passing-on of business empires to heirs who were not even born when these empires were created — a grievous misuse of the concept of personal property which creates and sustains a kind of feudal system of working people below and asset “owners” at the top.
The amount at which our federal estate tax comes into play at all is a whopping $5,450,000. So, an individual can pass more than $5 million on to his heirs (a married couple $10.9 million!) without any estate tax being taken out of it! That’s right. No estate tax charged at all on such a fortune.
Think about it for a second. Think about what this means. If I had received $5 million at birth (less wealth than ever gets to meet the federal estate tax), I would have never had to work a single day in my life. I could have done exclusively what I liked to do; and I would have been raking in more money per year in interests than I have been able to earn through my labor most years of my non-rich life. With such a wonderful inheritance, I’d have had a great life, with a nice comfy house, replete with a swimming pool, orchard, and a dog — and maybe my own scientific research lab after finding out, as I did, how corrupt the academic establishment is. I’d have been able to contribute to our world the scientific work I had planned as my life’s work but was prevented from doing in my unprivileged life by back-stabbing, in-fighting professors whose collateral damage I became, casting me into a never-ending journey of fighting for financial survival in umpteen changing careers and entry-level jobs, me being the human equivalent of a leaf in the wind, a ball in a pinball machine.
Since I didn’t inherit anything and didn’t luck out in the professions lottery, I have had to rent small apartments or mere rooms for shelter, and frequently relocate to new and far job locations (once a year for the last ten years!). And I am only one of BILLIONS who have been denied a good life and a chance to contribute significantly to humanity’s progress. What a self-destructive and woe-generating turd of a society we have!
Yeah, but with wealth inherited at an amount too low for our federal estate tax to remove a single cent from it, I would have been saved from all my tribulations. I would have been independently wealthy, with not a single cent of that wealth actually earned. I would have been my own master. I would have been rich, and with not a cent lost to the estate tax. The federal estate tax is only something hitting the very rich. And they totally can afford it. Only any wealth someone inherits above those 5 to 11 million dollars gets taxed. The first 5 to 11 million are never touched. Only the top 0.2% of estates in the U.S. ever see the estate tax come around to snip off some of the excess. Smearing it with words like “death” tax is something that unscrupulous think tank members come up with for that handsome pay they get from the robber billionaires. It is a dirty smear that is promulgated by the equally unethical corporate media figures. And it is a brainwashing pill that none of us working people should swallow.
Related readings: other articles about taxes.