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Rob Kall

Rob Kall

Posted: November 29, 2010 08:51 AM

cross-posted from OpEdNews.com

It is time for the congress to stop giving dynasty welfare to the richest Americans.

Conservatives love their word engineering for inheritance taxes, reframing them as "Death Taxes." Frank Luntz isn't the only one who can play the spin game. I say call estate taxes Dynasty Taxes.

Should inheritance taxes be eliminated? The issue will surely be raised again with the new incoming congress.

It is time to fight back with word engineering that reframes the tax breaks to wealthy inheritors as welfare for the rich and the tax on inheritances as a dynasty tax that makes it a little bit more difficult to build a multi-generational dynasty that gets a massive advantage just for being born.

A "Dynasty tax" is a great way for the nation, any nation, to recover assets and resources that were acquired and not re-invested into the community, into the nation that enabled the profits that produced the massive estate.

Already, generous exemptions are given to families inheriting large estates. It is unreasonable to ask the American people to help uber-rich families to consolidate their wealth with "Dynasty welfare."

America is not a land of dynasties. It should never have allowed their formation and it should actively work to prevent them from developing. We do not need a "royal class." If a person amasses great wealth there is no law, no constitutional right that requires the family, the descendants be allowed to keep it. There is no constitutional right to pass on $50 million dollar castles or mansions.

I believe that a Democracy has a duty to prevent the formation of dynasties, that dynasties can and have become a threat to fair elections and legislation. As the middle class in America becomes more and more marginalized, as the wealth in America becomes more and more top-heavy, benefiting primarily the top five or ten percent, it is more important than ever to INCREASE the dynasty tax on estates exceeding $5 million, even beyond the tax rates due to go into effect soon.

We should incrementally increase taxes on estate values over $20 million. There's no reason a family needs or deserves to retain full ownership of assets over $20 million or $50 million. Tax estate assets over $25 million at 80 percent , over $50 million at 90 percent. Tax estate assets over $100 million at 95 percent and tax estate assets over $500 million at 98 percent.

Opponents will argue that this will remove the incentive to make a lot of money. Perhaps this not a bad thing. We've seen the destructive power of too big to fail companies. Those companies are handing out over $100 billion in bonuses to people who produced the economic disaster we are still suffering. There are some who argue that estates are used to avoid paying capital gains. Dynasty taxes will recoup those taxes.

A strong middle class is an essential ingredient in any democracy. Dynasties are serious threats to any democracy that allows money to influence the political process. At the least, serious Dynasty taxes should be applied to the top one percent of estates. That will still represent a serious source of added revenues that the nation needs desperately to balance trillion dollar plus debt.

 

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