While Fox Newsies never seem to turn down an opportunity to divide our country into “makers and takers,” it seems that the children of the makers are automatically in that category by virtue of their birth. The talking heads love to argue about the importance of independence and not taking handouts but I never hear them saying that children of the wealthy should forego trust funds and learn the virtues of being self-supporting. In fact, when it comes to estate taxes, some might say these one percenters think that passing along all their money to their heirs is an entitlement. Fox & Friends made that clear today when they tried to argue that a group of super-wealthy Americans, including Warren Buffett and Richard Rockefeller, were somehow trying to soak the middle class “strivers” by arguing for higher taxes on estates worth more than $2 million.
“Are they really looking out for your children and their inheritance or just trying to make a quick buck?” Steve Doocy asked suggestively.
The “quick buck” apparently, was the money Buffett supposedly stands to gain by Americans sheltering their assets in his life insurance companies if the rates go up. But not even Stuart Varney, who acted as though $2 million estates are middle class, could deliver a full-throated argument that that was behind the impetus.
What they want is a $2 million exclusion. In other words, every dollar in your estate above $2 million will be taxed at a 45% rate… That is an extremely low exclusion rate. So it captures an awful lot of people. 500,000 family farms, for example, may well be caught with that kind of estate tax level.
Or maybe not. Forbes, hardly a liberal publication, said in an article about the proposal:
The (Buffett, et al.) group rejects claims made by opponents about the estate tax’s impact on small businesses and farms. Only 40 small farms and businesses are expected to pay any estate tax in 2012 according to the Tax Policy Center, and those that would pay it will pay only 3.1% of the estate’s value on average. And in most of those cases, they have enough liquid assets to easily pay the estate tax without having to touch the farm. Also, if they are cash-strapped, provisions in the law allow them to pay any tax liability over a 15-year period. Even in 2001, when there was only a $2 million per couple exemption, the Farm Bureau could not cite a single example of a farm being sold to pay the estate tax.
Not that anyone else picked that up. They listened attentively as Varney argued that Buffett and others would find ways to get around the taxes they were proposing.
And then Varney and company revealed what it’s probably really all about: they think that “makers” shouldn’t have to give their money to the undeserving 47% “takers.”
Varney asked, "Why shouldn’t all us strivers who try to make some money, why shouldn’t we pass it along to our children? We worked for it. Why can’t we do that? …Is this America or what?"
Doocy agreed. “Absolutely… I’m with ya!”