BlogSeptember 1, 2005 11:42 AM ET

yearly political discourse

Ok, please pardon me while I bitch about something I'm sure like only 4% of you care about -- the "death" tax.

Do you know what the death tax is? It's actually called the estate tax, however, Conservatives have labeled it the death tax. Why? Because they know how to play political ball. They're good at so-called framing the debate. Take an agenda, cast it in just the right light, and you can convince anyone with half a brain that they're doing the proper thing. The phrase "estate tax" doesn't inspire preconceived notions. However, call it the "death tax" and suddenly it's as if they heavily tax people upon death. How could that be good? I'll never support that! Consider the debate framed. Score one for the Right. This is exactly what they did with the Clear Skies Initiative. Sounds great, right? Wrong. It actually results in an environment further polluted by big business and power plants. But by calling it the Clear Skies Initiative, they've already won the battle. "Tell me Bob, you're actually going to vote against the Clear Skies Initiative?!" People shudder. The room goes silent. The Bush administration is quite adept at this tactic. It's a pragmatic move when the majority of your constituency would rather watch the Daytona 500 than turn on CSPAN for five minutes.

So back to the death/estate tax. Watch this commercial. This particular ad was just released by the Club For Growth (link), a group that prides itself as a purveyor of Reagan economics. This particular advertisement is actually directed at John McCain, bane of all Conservatives; a Republican most non-Republicans actually like and respect. Bush destroyed McCain prior to the 2000 election and Conservatives want to destroy him again prior to the election of 2008. That's another story though. The commercial obviously makes it seem as if you and I will be taxed again when we die, taking more of what little money we want to pass onto our beautiful children for nefarious government agendas. Yeah, ok. Trust me, grandpa fisherman was unaffected by the death tax. That is unless he happened to have $2 million sitting in his bank account. The Democrats should re-frame the debate and call this the "rich tax," because that's exactly what it is. The tax affected less than 1% of Americans in 2004 and only applies to estates in excess of $1.5 million. Furthermore, that amount will likely be raised to $3.5 million in the very near future (John McCain himself actually proposed a threshold of $5 million in 2000, a fact which that stupid commercial blatantly ignores). The estate tax was originally created to promote a level playing field when it came to the poor and the rich. So a few rich conservatives are pissy because instead of inheriting $12 million, their bratty children will only receive $9 million. No average American is going to feel sorry for them. So... let's call it the death tax, act as if it's going to screw everyone, and skewer any politician that doesn't support us. Fuck you.


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frenetic_ 9/1/2005 8:44:33 AM

first post. tlnr.

StreetForce_ 9/1/2005 9:11:17 AM


generic_gimmick_ 9/1/2005 9:13:00 AM

deez_nutz_ 9/1/2005 9:31:21 AM

yeah, is the way to go, there is no reason to essentially discourage people from earning more money, as by moving up into a higher tax bracket, more of your money is taken away. A perfect example is making roughly $50,000 (arbitrary numbers) a year, if you move up to $60,000 a year, you end up taking back less than you did when you earned less.

JOE_ 9/1/2005 12:13:48 PM

Its 4% for this tax, 2.5 for city, 7 for ohio sales tax, 5 for ohio state tax, and upwards of 39 for fed income tax, and then property, but that is proportional. So that 57.5% of MY income someone else does whatever they want with. And I know fully that both parties fck me over on taxes, and I do NOT care about the poor starving kids because the money that should go to them never does because of politics. Oh, and I tithe 10% too, so yeah I take home around 30% of what I should.

deez_nutz_ 9/1/2005 12:52:21 PM

The tax structure in the U.S. made much more sense when you recieved your full amount of pay and then wrote a check to pay your taxes at the end of the year. With that system, you had greater control over how your tax dollars were being spent, since they were actually going into your pocket and then back out, people cared more about how their money was used. The only reason the government deducts money from your payroll check is because it's easier to collect and harder for someone to not pay

bolognapony_ 9/1/2005 2:08:20 PM

Bill Maher has great things to say about the "Death Tax." Frame it that way, and every Johnny Dipshit thinks the same thing: "Gee, death...that could happen to me." Rich pricks got rich with the help of our system, they should have to pay something back.

deez_nutz_ 9/1/2005 2:36:28 PM

Poor people got something too, but they got it for free, rich people had to work/pay for it. Who is anyone to say to anyone else that they can't have what they have inherited/worked for? If your family happens to own some ranch out west that's worth a few million dollars, when they pass it on to you, do you feel like paying out $600,000 in taxes to the goverment for no apparent reason other than the fact that some people are jealous of your 'wealth' and don't think you deserve it. You yoursel

anonymous 9/1/2005 4:14:35 PM

wrong! most of the value of these estates consist of unrealized gains, which means they haven't been taxed yet. They're not getting taxed twice.

deez_nutz_ 9/1/2005 9:57:02 PM

Unrealized gains, as in appreciation of value right? So in other words, a piece of property was worth a certain amount, and taxes were paid on that amount, it then appreciated, and now the government says it deserves more taxes because of it?? that's like buying a pair of shoes, paying sales tax on them, then if they somehow became more valuable down the road, the government to come to you to say that you now owe them additional taxes, since they have experienced 'unrealized gains'....BULLSHIT

jerkface_ 9/1/2005 10:03:02 PM

One of webbie's best blogs yet.

deez_nutz_ 9/1/2005 10:23:29 PM

to add a few more comments about what webbie said....yeah, instead of getting $12 million, they will only get $9 million....and how much of that money will poor people actually get and how much will the government waste on useless programs?? what level playing field are they creating?? "Creating a level playing field" is just as framing the debate. This isn't Robin Hood, they aren't giving to the poor. They are stealing from the rich- private individuals, and giving to the rich - senators, g

RobertRedford_ 9/1/2005 10:33:46 PM

Look at what they do with your "death money" once they get their little fat sausage link finers on it.... This is more state gov than the federal gov, but same rules apply.... "Not only did legislators increase their salaries 16 percent to 34 percent to at least $81,050 -- more than any state except California -- they crafted the package in secret without debate or public scrutiny, then left town. Even more galling to Pennsylvanians, lawmakers found a way around a constitutional provision barri

bernie_ 9/2/2005 1:14:16 AM

it sounds like you just read al franken's book "lies and lying liars..." he referred to the estate tax as the paris hilton in the book. mccain is a republican, but he's not a "bush" republican. mccain is fiscally conservative and pro-life. however, mccain is also very vocal against the bush administration when it's not being true to the republican party mantra.

thetruth_ 9/2/2005 1:23:39 AM


bernie_ 9/2/2005 1:30:57 AM

i just saw that vile anti-mccain video. wow. it's funny seeing a black farmer working hard enough to earn two-million dollars and qualify for the death tax.

d4n_ 9/2/2005 2:00:13 AM

while the commercial was misleading i don't think the rich should be taxed on their death like that, that's bullshit. i don't care if they are spoiled bratty rich kids who are going to inherit 12 million dollars, it's their parent's money, it's bullshit if they have to pay the government 3 million dollars which the government is going to piss away as usual, fck that. i'm not going to ever inherit millions of dollars but that doesn't mean i want people who do to get taxed, good blog though

d4n_ 9/2/2005 2:02:08 AM

i agree with deez nutz last post

deez_nutz_ 9/2/2005 8:11:45 AM

The problem is that taxes are progressive, the more you make, the greater percentage the government takes out of it. The top 1% of wage earners bring in only 17% of all income, but they pay roughly 30% of all income taxes. What is fair about that? Oh wait, they have way too much money, they don't need give it to us. Because that would be fair. That's like saying Moron's vinyl collection is too big, and I don't have enough, so he should give me some of what he's got because he's got

xpissangelx_ 9/2/2005 9:23:06 AM

i kinda jsut want to kill all the conservatives and proclaim my own new government

LukeCubed_ 9/2/2005 2:15:05 PM

Republicans/conservatives are the masters at framing. They start and frame every single major cultural debate currently raging in the pop culture of America - the "War on Terror," abortion, guns, taxation. Until the left begins to get its shit in gear and get a coherent, coordinated attempt to frame social issues in moral language they will be doomed to be the responders to conservative rhetoric.

har_har_ 9/2/2005 4:44:58 PM


Mike_ 9/13/2005 2:27:42 AM

Two words why everyone should be against eliminating the estate tax: Paris Hilton.