Should we get rid of the estate tax?
via AP

Should we get rid of the estate tax?

#EndTheDeathTax
#TaxTheRich
Join the conversation and vote below

The estate tax, a federal tax on assets left by deceased persons to their heirs, is a bête noire of the right. Dubbed "the death tax" by Republicans, Donald Trump campaigned on the promise to repeal it. Opponents say it's grossly unfair—why should people be taxed again after their deaths? But proponents say the inheritance tax provides essential revenue and only affects a tiny percentage of estates. Plus, Paris Hilton and the Trump kids are rich enough to afford it. Do we need the estate tax?

The Votes Are In!
#EndTheDeathTax
#TaxTheRich

President Trump claims eliminating the estate tax would lift a burden on many family businesses and farms.

"To protect millions of small businesses and the American farmer, we are finally ending the crushing, the horrible, the unfair estate tax, or as it is often referred to, the death tax," Trump said in a Sept. 27 speech.

But Trump's claim about "millions of small businesses" being ruined by the tax was rated "Pants on Fire" by Politifact. You have to be worth more than $5.49 million to even to file an estate tax return, and the number of people who end up paying it is vanishingly small.

Only 5,460 estates even pay the tax each year, according to a credible estimate, and of those, about 80 represented small businesses or farms.

Here's the thing: we actually need the money the estate tax generates from that tiny group of people.

At the Wall Street Journal, Michael J. Graetz argues the estate tax is an inheritance tax that is absolutely fair, and our country needs that revenue. The American system enabled the superrich to create their wealth in the first place—there's nothing wrong with requiring them to give back.

Is it fair for Paris Hilton to inherit her great-grandfather Conrad's fortune without paying any tax on it? Or Yankee owner George Steinbrenner's 13 grandchildren? This is exactly what happens when there is no estate or inheritance tax on the bequests of the very rich.Indeed, that's what the case for the estate tax boils down to: basic fairness. The tax affects a small number of people who inherit large amounts of wealth—and who can afford to give up a portion of their windfall to help finance their government. 
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But others say it's just immoral. Even if people have millions of dollars, they should be allowed to leave that money to their children.

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Others say the Trumps, the Hiltons and the Waltons can damn well afford it.

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