Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Estate Tax Ideas Stir Up Whirlwind

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Estate Tax Ideas Stir Up Whirlwind

Article excerpt

"Don't tax you, and don't tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree."

AMONG THE THINGS I don't understand is money.

Twenty years ago, for instance, I was a young reporter on a nonunion newspaper, and I was making almost nothing. I drove a Honda Civic, and I didn't spend much money on clothes. Although I ate out a lot, I ate at moderately priced restaurants. At the end of every week, I was broke. Now, I'm a columnist on a union newspaper, and I make a very nice salary. I drive a Honda Civic, and I don't spend much money on clothes. Although I eat out quite a bit, I eat at moderately priced restaurants. At the end of every week, I'm broke. How can this be? Admittedly, I live in a nice house now, and part of my salary goes into a retirement program - so even though I can't touch the money, it isn't like I'm really broke - but still, it doesn't seem like my lifestyle reflects much of an increase in wealth. Hard to understand. Or consider this about the stock market: Whenever there is good economic news - decreased unemployment, for instance - the market reacts unfavorably. So good economic news is considered bad news for the stock market. Very strange. But one thing about money I thought I did understand because it was so simple. I pay too much in taxes. So do you. Any good reform would decrease our taxes and increase their taxes. They, of course, are people who make more money than you and me. Congress creates loopholes for them. To a lesser degree, they also include the people who make less money than you and me. The graduated income tax gives them an unfair break. So I always figured that a flat tax would be a very popular idea. No deductions at all. We'd just pay a certain percentage on all money we acquired. Forget a special capital gains tax. Forget a special estate tax. No matter how you got the money - whether you earned a salary, sold stocks or inherited a bundle - you'd pay a flat tax on it. No longer would it matter whether you had a clever accountant or a shrewd estate attorney. When politicians first began to talk about the idea, I figured that flat tax fever would sweep the country. …

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