A 89 year old lady lost her farm
because of what sounds like a case of some one not paying attention. It is easy to blame the county in this case, but individual responsibility plays a big part even if the woman is 89. Her relatives should have stepped in to help her manage her affairs. It is a sad case of neglect.
The problem the lady's estate would have had if she held on to the land was that they would have had a huge death tax bill to pay - probably around $80,000. They would have probably had to sell the property to pay those taxes. The real estate taxes of $572 would have been small potatoes.
The opponents of the death tax like to claim that the tax is on the "rich" and this is example of how it can rob those who are far from rich. The 89 year old lady was 'paper' rich. The death tax is not a tax on income but the worst kind of tax, a tax on capital. It did not tax the person who owned the estate but those who receive it who may or may not be 'rich'.
TrendMacro Talking Points
covers a N . Gregory Mankiw speech about the death tax:
N. Gregory Mankiw, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, recently gave an excellent speech on why the estate tax should be abolished. He made two key points. First, the presumption that the tax falls on the rich is wrong because it assumes that the burden of the tax falls on the deceased, which is obviously wrong. In fact, taxes can only fall on the living, namely decedents, who are almost always less well to do.
Second, the estate tax is a direct tax on capital, which not only punishes the thrifty while relieving the profligate, but hurts workers and others far removed from the direct effects of the tax by reducing capital formation and, hence, productivity and living standards.
Mankiw concludes: "The estate tax unfairly punishes frugality, undermines economic growth, reduces real wages, and raises little, if any, federal revenue. There are no principles of good tax policy that support this tax, and I support the President's calls for its permanent repeal."