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Estate Tax

July 14, 2010 | By Robert P. Murphy
In his July 6 Op-Ed, law professor Ray D. Madoff made a case for the estate tax, claiming that it promoted tax fairness and economic growth. Madoff is wrong on both counts. The estate tax violates common principles of justice and stifles economic growth. Congress should permanently lock in this year's special moratorium on the estate tax. One standard argument against the estate tax is that the wealth of the estate was already taxed (perhaps several times over) while being accumulated.
March 9, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - You may have seen reports about a major tax reform proposal floated recently by Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. But you probably didn't see the grisly list of long-standing home real estate tax benefits that would be eliminated or sharply reduced under Camp's plan. Here's a quick overview. But first, some basics: •This is no back-of-the-napkin set of proposals. Camp and his committee - the primary tax-writing panel in Congress - have been working on this for two years.
July 13, 2000
Somehow I had gotten the impression that, in our free-market, capitalistic society, one earned wealth through a combination of working hard and working smart. If this is true--if we really espouse capitalism--then the estate tax rate should be 100%. JOHN WILLIAMS Hermosa Beach
October 3, 2013 | By Michael Hiltzik
Mickey Kaus, the neoliberal (whatever that is) blogger from L.A.'s Westside, writes in the Daily Caller that he has just discovered he had no taxed income last year. "I am the 47%," he declares, referring to Mitt Romney's celebrated rant about non-tax-paying Obama voters. On this shallow foundation he erects a towering thought-edifice about whether and why Americans who pay no taxes are pro-government, as dictated by Republican "makers vs. takers" dogma.  When your adjusted gross income falls, "suddenly all sorts of deductions and breaks seem to open up to virtually guarantee that you pay no tax," Kaus observes.
July 16, 2010 | By Lisa Mascaro, Tribune Washington Bureau
If you're rich, 2010 is a great year to die. This is the year that Congress has allowed the estate tax to lapse, allowing heirs to receive their windfalls without Uncle Sam taking a cut for the first time in nearly 100 years. A reminder came this week with the passing of billionaire New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. The baseball titan's heirs are likely to escape about $500 million in taxes, experts estimate, a fortune that has spotlighted Bush-era tax policies and the long debate over whether government spending or tax cutting is best for a shaky economy.
June 5, 2001
I take issue with the statement that "the estate tax applies only to enormous incomes acquired by people who did absolutely nothing to earn them" (letter, May 30). I have no doubt that there are many people who have accumulated substantial estates by a lifetime of hard work and saving. Income tax has already been paid on these earnings and continues to be paid on the investment returns. Elizabeth Bennett Los Angeles
June 24, 2000
Re: "A Boon for Multimillionaires," editorial, June 18: It's a moot point whether they are called death, estate or inheritance taxes. It is a tax on people who chose to live below their means and invest after-tax dollars into their growing businesses. And their heirs have often participated as children, both by working in the family business and by living in a household that plowed its money back into the business instead of into a more affluent lifestyle. Taxing these estates basically punishes good behavior.
April 18, 2001
Re "Estate Tax Relief Is Aimed at Wrong Group," Commentary, April 15: From his lofty ivory tower, Robert Kuttner seemingly can't lower his "estate tax repeal critique" sights to focus on those impacted most devastatingly by today's tax rate--the middle class, like myself. I inherited nothing from my parents except a strong work ethic. I worked hard all my life to create an estate that would both enable me to live a comfortable life in retirement and to provide something to my three children, who also are hard workers.
December 15, 2010
Who's in charge? Re "Obama enlists help in tax-cut battle," Dec. 11 Not too long ago, he was touted as an intellectual eminence, the measured, cosmopolitan orator, the man of audacity who would change the way business was done in Washington. Barack Obama was the messianic vanquisher of the Clinton machine. Now, President Obama has had to enlist Bill Clinton to stave off a massive revolt from the "backbenchers" in Congress. And Clinton obliged. He moved to the White House podium and held court there with the natural and commanding ease of a prince returning to his palace.
August 9, 2013 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - Since Congress has taken off on its annual summer recess, you might assume that nothing is happening on Capitol Hill that could affect the taxes you pay on your home. Quite the reverse. Staff members of the House and Senate tax-writing committees are busy putting together legislative drafts that may determine the fate of real estate's most prized tax benefits - first and second home-mortgage interest deductions, property tax write-offs, capital gains exclusions and others.
March 28, 2013 | By Robin Abcarian
It is not always easy to follow the audio transcript of the last two days' Supreme Court arguments over gay marriage. Just when you think you grasp what's going on, someone starts talking about “suspect classes” and “Article III” and “complementary authorities,” and you're lost again. Today, however, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in her hesitant but steely way, offered up perhaps the most easily understood analogy of the season to describe the two-tiered marriage system that has taken root in our country: “The full marriage, and then this sort of skim-milk marriage.” FULL COVERAGE: Same-sex marriage ban The courtroom erupted in laughter.
January 5, 2013
Re "Pawns in 'fiscal cliff' con game," Column, Jan. 2 Michael Hiltzik writes that there is an estate tax con: "There's no purer giveaway to the wealthy than this. " Excuse me? This is their money. No wonder Republicans can't make good law with Democrats who think money belongs to the government before it is returned to taxpayers. And the reason only 50 small farms and businesses paid any estate tax in 2011 is because the first $5 million in inheritance was exempted from being taxed.
January 3, 2013 | By Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Washington's avoidance of the so-called "fiscal cliff" is generally good news for California's finances. But the deal approved by President Obama on Wednesday will still take a bite out of the state budget. The legislation won't allow California and other states to keep a portion of revenue from the federal estate tax, a levy on wealth inheritance. California hasn't received any revenue from the tax since 2004, and analysts doubted that Congress would reverse course and restore the money.
January 2, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Whatever the ultimate shape of the "fiscal cliff" solution that has preoccupied all Washington, and a fair swath of the rest of country, in the final days of 2012 and into the new year, Americans of all walks of life should be asking themselves this question: How do we like being conned? The deal, passed by the Senate on New Year's morning, was made final late Tuesday when the House of Representatives signed on. Its essential elements include expiration of the President George W. Bush-era income and capital gains tax cuts on couples' incomes over $450,000, and a modest increase in the estate tax. Unemployment benefits and tax credits for lower-income families will be extended.
November 17, 2012 | By David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
One of the largest public employee unions at Los Angeles City Hall handed a potentially costly setback to a plan for a new half-cent sales tax, announcing Friday that its political advisory board opposes the measure. Service Employees International Union Local 721's political education committee recommended unanimously Thursday night that the group take a position against the tax, which is backed by City Council President Herb Wesson for the March 5 ballot. The council's final vote on that tax is slated for next week.
October 17, 2012 | By Jon Healey
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney could not have been surprised when his tax plan came under attack by President Obama at Tuesday night's debate. After all, both Obama and Vice President Biden had focused on the plan before, contending that there was no way it could work as Romney claimed. So why, then, did Romney stick to the same vague response? Not only that -- he punted on a telling follow-up question about how he'd respond if he could get some but not all elements of his plan through Congress.
August 1, 2012 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - House Republicans voted to keep tax rates at their current level through next year, using one of their last votes before recessing for most of August to approve politically symbolic legislation that President Obama has vowed to veto. The vote Wednesday was intended to showcase the contrast between the GOP view on taxes and the one pushed by Obama and congressional Democrats. The Senate, with its Democratic majority, already has approved a measure that would allow income tax rates to rise on annual earnings above $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples - a move that would affect the top 2% of earners.
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