Death Tax Lunacy

By May 31, 2006General

Comes now lefty columnist Harold Meyerson with an op-ed entitled, “Estate Tax Lunacy” in today’s Washington Post, opining on the death tax. It is a veritable cocktail of class warfare and conspiracy theory, at one point invoking, “A decades-long campaign by right-wing activists” aimed at repealing the tax. Do our small manufacturers look like right-wing activists to you? They’re busy making stuff, like prosperity, and driving the economy. He refers also to the “super rich” who pay this tax. Our small manufacturers are hardly that.

No matter — his piece is rife with wild near-facts. We have some real facts of our own to set him straight:

— As we noted here a little while ago, according to the non-partisan Joint Economic Committee the estate tax has cost the economy more than it has brought in, costing $847 billion in capital and raising only $761 billion in the process.

— Manufacturing is a capital-intensive industry. While a person with $10 million in cash may be considered rich to most, the fact is that a manufacturing company worth $10 million is a very small company. It is not uncommon for one piece of machinery to cost many millions of dollars.

— In order for a small manufacturer to pay the estate tax, they need to either sell the company or take on enormous debt. Why on earth would we do that to small manufacturers, who are already up against the stiffest global competition we’ve ever seen? If the company stays in the family, why would it be a taxable event?

In any event, here’s a link to the full article. Click on this link if you want to drop a note to the Post, telling them what it’s really like out there in the real world, and setting the record straight. If you want to drop a note to Meyerson, you can do so by clicking here.

And, while you’re at it, click here to weigh in with your Senators and tell them to make the death tax repeal permanent. Let’s bury the death tax for good.

Join the discussion 9 Comments

  • David Barge says:

    It’s hard to believe that a publication such as Washington Post would publish an
    editorial that claims that the estate tax is a needed tool to weed out
    inefficient heir operators from family businesses. I can assure that just
    being able to stay in business when you’re competing globally is a big
    enough hand to keep any business efficient. We don’t need the help of the
    estate tax. This tax just puts American private businesses at a
    disadvantage with our global competitors who have repealed this misguided
    tax. This tax is a factor in family businesses having to sell the
    business entirely, or partially, to large corporations

  • Robert L Amend says:

    My wife and I started our company in 1969. We currently employ 46 and ship our wall decor product to every state in the union in addition to exporting to 4 countries. Our son and daughter and their spouses are active in the business and will be highly impacted by unfair death tax. Diane and I and the “kids” have worked very hard for what we have accomplished and to think that it will be depleted by the government when we die is shameful.

  • Gerard D. Straub Sr. says:

    Meyerson’s jargon re the “super-rich” reminds me of the liberal cry to “get the rich” with a luxary tax in the early 90’s. Well the rich stopped buying boats in this country, putting thousands of boat builders & marine industry people out of work, and bankrupting many fine boat manufacturing companies. The luxary tax cost more to collect than collected, which is also the case with the estate tax system. The wealthiest Americans will hire the best attorneys & accountants to establish an estate plan to avoid most or all of the “Death Tax”. However, the privately held manufacturing companies may be forced to liquidate in the event of the owner’s death. Owners who have built their companies up over many years of hard work, paying their fair share of income tax along the way, have to worry about what would happen to their families in the event of their untimely death. If the company stays in the family, why would it be a major taxable event? And I do not consider myself a right-wing activist to ask that question! There should not be a Democrat or Republican answer, but rather one of common sense. Mr Meyerson should take his blinders off, and wake up to the realization that reinvested profits into manufacturing processes is what drives & grows our economy. Why take away the incentives by taxing it twice?

  • George P. says:

    what more can I say. GPD

  • Neil Archer says:

    I have spent a lot of money paying for insurance to protect my business from the “death tax” This money that I could have spent for expansion of the business or employee benifits. This is truly a tax that needs to be killed.

  • I would like to invite Mr. Meyerson to visit our manufacturing facility in Upper Marlboro Maryland. It is less than a one hour drive from the Post’s offices in Washington. I could show him a 4 million dollar building with 14 million dollars of manufacturing equipment that is family owned and operated. This company produces about 13 million dollars of aerospace hardware a year and employs 80 people, most of which are highly skilled machinists. The inheritance tax can be devastating to a company like ours. I do not believe Mr Meyerson understands the small manufacturing companies in this country

  • Richard Hardy says:

    Anything over 20% is usury!! Most of the businesses in the USA are family owned and you would kill off the successful ones with confiscatory 55% estate taxes. Shame on anyone who thinks $10 million or even $100 million is super rich. George Soros keeps his overseas I hear.Ask him to pay up 55%of his wealth!

  • Jerry Coleman Sr says:

    The death tax should definately be repealed. it should not be a taxable event. Most Small manufacturing companies are under unmerciful forign competition and many are losing the battle. The giant corporations with leverage are pitting the forign competitors against the small manufacturer at every turn. Most small US manufacturers are paying their employees a good wage and bennifit package and are honoring all safety and inviornmental regulations which in most cases the forign competition does not have to pay.

    If a small manufacturing business can survive untill the owner passes, why should the business have to be sold to pay inheritance tax? ultimately capital gain taxes will be paid when a business is sold off by the owner.

  • G. H. Schirtzinger says:

    Mr. Myerson is not interested or informed about the main people who would benefit from repeal of the death tax, or the equity of it. He is simply jealous of people with more toys than he has, or who inherited more.

    Were the death tax any more punitive, I could not have hoped to continue my parent’s business, and that was a near-run thing as it was. Now I employ more people than I did a year ago, generate tax revenues every day in every way the government can clip us, and can build a future for my kids.

    How is this wrong? so what if everyone did not start from the same spot I did. The only way to equalize things is to ensure we all start from the same level of poverty with the same schooling, same intellectual gifts, same drive to succeed, etc. That is not a free soceity, nor would it be productive. the Soviets got as close as possible-disaster-and apparently neither they nor Mr. Myerson learned anything. Envy is indeed a corrupting influence.