They call it the “death tax”

Politics this year has focused on personalities and not on issues.  And that is a shame.

But one issue that has come up is the inheritance tax or the estate tax.  The Republicans call it the “Death tax,” and oppose it and seem to want it repealed all together.   They argue that it kills family farms and small businesses—the assumption being that everyone who inherits money will keep the family farm or business going.


I don’t like paying taxes but I do understand that taxes go to pay for things we need—roads, schools, police forces, courts, and national defense.  So someone has to pay for that stuff.  I just think the taxes should be as fair as possible

I did a little math, and greatly simplified some of the calculations.

Let’s say you are on the low end of the pay scale.  You make an average wage of $10.00 per hour.  You work 40 hours a week, and work 45 years then retire.

You will earn $936,000 over your lifetime, and if you pay taxes at this year’s rates  (filing at the single rate) you will pay $119,508.75 in federal income taxes.

Let’s say you average $100,000 per year.  Your lifetime earnings are $4,500,000, and you have paid $946,620.  You paid taxes at a higher rate than the person earning less.  You work hard, he works hard also.

Now let’s say someone dies and you inherit five million dollars.  I am sorry for your loss.

How much do you owe in federal inheritance tax?  Zilch point shit.  Nothing.  It is not counted as income, either.  You did not work to get this income.


So one guy earns almost a million and pays over a hundred thousand in tax.  The next guy earns four and a half million and pays almost a million in tax.  The last guy gets five million, does not work at all for it, and pays no tax.

I’m no tax expert, but that does not seem fair at all.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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2 Responses to They call it the “death tax”

  1. Dirk Ver Steeg says:

    Perhaps you should look at it from the perspective of the person doing the earning (over their lifetime) and the dying. Although you site “roads, schools, police forces, courts, and national defense” as things we all need, the federal government is in to much more than that, including much larger items (health care) of incredibly wasteful spending and the redistribution of wealth to people who did not earn it. No, when I die, I would at least like to decide where my wealth goes, placing it where I think it will do the most good, as I define it. That’s called freedom. And besides, even if there is a “death tax”, I can easily get around it using existing laws and vehicles such as irrevocable trusts, but I shouldn’t have to spend legal money to have that structured. The issue is much more complex than you outlined. Your blog is great….when you stick to nature.

  2. Thanks for your perspective. I don’t like taxes at all, but I think they should be as fair as possible. Unfortunately, when you die your wealth is no longer your wealth, and it becomes somebody else’s.

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