Death Tax: In Their Own Words

By June 6, 2006General

The reaction to our posts from yesterday and last week on the death tax have been impressive. We have heard from a bunch of small manufacturers who have posted comments, who have written their Senators and who have written to the WaPo to set the record straight. This week as we anticipate the vote in the Senate to permanently repeal the death tax, we’ll feature some of the comments we received from the smartest damned blog readers on the planet, manufacturers talking about the death tax in their own – sometimes blunt — words.

This one comes from a small manufacturer whose fourth generation started work on June 5th, who said, “I hope that he will not be adversely impacted by a death tax that hurts so many.” His letter to the Post, taking issue with Harold Meyerson’s piece from last week, is excerpted below:

“Obviously Harold Meyerson does not understand small business issues…. We are hard working families that don’t have a net worth of $50,000,000. As the third generation leader of a small business, I watched early in my career as my grandmother (1st generation) passed away thinking she had done everything right. She saved so that her children would have something, she cared about the people in the company and hung on to the business she loved and that her family had a passion for. Little did she (or our associates) know that her entire savings plus another 20% of the company’s stockholders’ equity would be needed to pay the IRS so her stock certificate could move from her safe deposit box into my father’s. Fifty people and their families were in jeopardy of having their jobs shipped off to another competitor or suitor had we not been able to pay the death taxes.

It’s a good headline to talk about the rich versus the poor, the same old liberal argument. The reality is that the middle class and poor workers suffer whenever a small business is weakened by this tax or forced to sell the business. In our case it took six more years of operations to get the stockholders’ equity back to where it was before my grandmother passed away.”

Let’s hope your Senators will keep this in mind when they vote to permanently repeal the death tax this week. Please drop them a note and remind them how the real world works.