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A Horrible Thing to Think About Casey Johnson

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Casey Johnson, who the New York Post called "the baby powder heiress," is dead. She was a human being and it's a terrible thing. Sad for her family and friends. A reminder to the rest of us to take a moment, like Xerxes at Abydos, and reflect on the fact that everyone we know has a hundred years at the outside. So, sad for her, sad for us, sad for everyone.

Here's the good news: At least Tila Tequila won't have to pay any estate tax.

Not a penny.

She can spend all that money creating jobs. Just like ranchers and family farmers do.

Thank heavens.

And Congress.

This may shock you, if you think you live in a free country that respects private property and honors honest work, but if Casey Johnson had died last week, her fiancée, the future Mrs. Tequila -- Johnson, would have had to pay onerous confiscatory taxes on her hard-earned inheritance. Well, not the first $3.5 million. But after that.

Why even bother being born rich, or marrying money if the government's just going to take it?

Luckily, America's inheritance tax disappeared at midnight, New Years Eve. Some congressmen tried to extend it, but they couldn't get the votes. Let me rephrase that. Your Congress couldn't muster the nuts to not repeal a tax on the super-wealthy that had existed in its present form since 1934. Let me rephrase that again. Two and a half million Americans will die this year. Fewer than six thousand will leave estates worth more than $3.5 million. Had any of these multimillionaires died between The Great Depression and last Thursday, their heirs would have been taxed. Now they won't.

A Democratic Congress in a time of war just cut a tax on the richest of the rich to zero.

The Estate Tax was created to pay for wars and emergencies. America's first estate tax was levied to build a navy in 1797. It was temporary. It came back in 1862 to pay for the Civil War, went away again and came back to pay for the war with Spain. FDR brought the tax back again, during the Depression. America is in a recession now, and two wars that have lasted longer than the Civil War and the Spanish-American War combined. And the Estate Tax just went down to zero.

If you think talking about Casey Johnson is tasteless, but you're okay with that, I welcome your comments.

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