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NY Times Dismayed Death Tax Didn't Hit Tycoon's Fortune

Make sure to die when an estate tax is in effect, or the New York Times will be upset.


In a June 8 article, Times reporter David Kocieniewski complained about an “accounting quirk” that allowed Texas pipeline tycoon Dan L. Duncan’s heirs to inherit his fortune without being subject to the “death” or “estate” tax.


“Had his life ended three months earlier, Mr. Duncan’s riches—Forbes magazine estimated his worth at $9 billion, ranking him as the 74th wealthiest in the world—would have been subject to a federal tax of at least 45 percent,” Kocieniewski wrote. “If he had lived past Jan. 1, 2011, the rate would have been ever higher—55 percent.”


The article stated that advocates of the estate tax think that it is “unconscionable that Congressional leaders have allowed the richest Americans to reap the new tax break at a time when deficits are soaring and the income gap between wealthy and poor citizens remains near historic levels.”


The income gap’s “historic levels” is a one of the media’s oldest obsessions and the Times loves is no stranger to complaining about income gap levels. Yet the Wall Street Journal pointed out that the liberal method of taxing the rich only pulls the top down but fails to bring the bottom up.


The Times quoted Chuck Collins as an advocate for an estate tax. While the article mentioned Collins “has worked with billionaires like Warren E. Buffett and Bill Gates to promote an estate tax,” it failed to mention he is a senior scholar at the left-leaning Institute for Policy Studies, which has a history of releasing studies promoting government involvement to close pay gaps between CEO’s and workers.


The Times article mentioned “opponents” of the estate tax, but didn’t quote any. Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, is not surprised by the Times omission of estate tax opponents and justified the argument against the “death tax.”


“If billionaires’ money is left out in the private sector and their cash is being used in a productive manner, their cash will generate investment and generate jobs,” Edwards told the Business & Media Institute.


Ryan Ellis, tax policy director at Americans for Tax Reform, added that not only is the estate tax unpopular with voters but it also brings in a very small amount of money to the federal government.


“It costs the Treasury almost as much to administer the [estate] tax as it raises,” Ellis said.


The media never miss an opportunity to call for higher taxes on the rich or erroneously rant about tax cuts for the wealthy. As the media would have, if you’re not taxed to death, at leat you’re taxed after death.

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