General Question

ItsAHabit's avatar

Would you end your life for the good of your family?

Asked by ItsAHabit (2282 points ) July 14th, 2010

You have worked hard since your teen years, bought some land near Wichita and began ranching. Over time you bought more and more land and ranched it. You later bought a struggling auto dealership and turned it around, through hard work, to become very successful and hired a number of employees.

You’re now terminally ill in the hospital. Christmas, 2010 has passed. As a wise person, you know that the death taxes will rise from zero this year to 55% next year.

December 31 is approaching. Do you take enough sleeping pills so you expire before the deadline, thus permitting your family to enjoy the fruits of your decades of hard work?

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107 Answers

MaryW's avatar

No, I would not kill myself. I might give family all the deeds and money though as gifts. Or already have done so.

Ltryptophan's avatar

move assets whilst alive…call your attorney.

perspicacious's avatar

I heard someone else discussing this a while back. I was, and am, of the opinion that transferring (and selling) property before death is the better plan. You have some control over how much the government takes without having to make the subject decision.

zophu's avatar

If it came down to something like that, sure why not? I thought this question was going to be hard.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

If no other options as far as being able to maneuver the assests then yes, I’d expire myself.

missingbite's avatar

As a side note. Steinbrenners family saved about 400 million because he passed when he did. The Yankees would not have stayed in his family if the taxes were imposed. source Some will say the poor government is losing billions from the lack of tax. I say….IT“S NOT THEIR MONEY!

marinelife's avatar

Euwwww, no. And any family member who wanted them to is disgusting and worth no legacy.

perspicacious's avatar

@missingbite I agree with you about the death tax in general. I understand the thinking behind it when it was adopted with the common law, but I do not agree that the government should take a deceased person’s assets to keep his children from being nonproductive citizens.

josie's avatar

Terminally ill? If so, why not?

Vivilamew's avatar

Sad to even be thinking about, makes you look at other options.

tinyfaery's avatar

This is just sad. Putting money above a life? I hope saving a bit of extra money is worth the destruction left in the wake of suicide.

Coloma's avatar

No.

The only thing you need to concern yourself with is YOU and your well being.

The family will figure it out when the time comes.

Being of sound mind I plan on spending all my money while I am still alive.

I say book a world cruise and take your loved ones along…whats left can be dealt with when the time comes.

That’s what I would do.

Forget all the legal BS, it’ll work itself out.

jaytkay's avatar

Your loaded question left out some important details, including

—98% of estates are exempt (because very few estates exceed the $1Million exemption)
—Everything willed to your spouse is exempt

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’d transfer the assets that I felt needed to be transferred and enjoy spending what money I had left afterwards.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

Suicide hurts your family for years and it seems that the financial concerns can be handled within the law.

If you are contemplating suicide despite this new information, please seek out professional help.

AmWiser's avatar

Hecks no! Who’s to say after I’m gone, my family would even pay the taxes. Why commit suicide when you can’t be sure of the outcome.

missingbite's avatar

@jaytkay Neither of those facts should matter. If your spouse dies first, should your kids not inherit the fruits of your labor no matter how large. When are we going to stop demonizing rich people? Just because they have money should not mean the government should be able to take it. BTW, suicide is way worse than your family having a tax hit.

jaytkay's avatar

@missingbite Yes, they matter.

The idea that rich people are demonized is ludicrous. Wealthy Americans are doing better than ever, with the lowest taxes in decades and the lowest taxes of any developed country. They have achieved a hold on the nations’ wealth unequaled since the 1920s.

Warren Buffett famously pointed out that his secretary paid a higher percentage of income in taxes than he did.

josie's avatar

BTW interesting that everybody is focused on the suicide angle, and not the fact that government greed might actually inspire the choice. Lots of folks on this site seem to think that government is benevolent, not greedy to an extent that would make CEOs and oil industry execs look like altruists. And yet, they intend to take 55%. That fact alone might cause some folks to consider suicide.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I think it’s important for people to remember that suicide could mess up any life insurance policies that are in place. Definitely better to hand over assets before hand.

missingbite's avatar

@jaytkay I won’t argue that the tax system we have is messed up. We need to revamp the whole system. We are trying to get to a point where the wealthy pay upwards of 55% of their income to the government and that is too much. Everyone, even the poor need to pay into the system that is in place.

Same analogy as our parents gave us about our first car. If you don’t pay for it or at least contribute, you won’t appreciate it. We have gotten to the point in this country were people expect the government to give them something. That will lead to more suicide.

I’m not talking about sales tax. I’m talking about every tax we have. A lot of people pay no federal income tax. That is a fact. We need a fair tax system. No more loopholes.

tinyfaery's avatar

Government and politics has nothing to do with it. This is about the value of life and the absolute worthlessness of pieces of paper and numbers on a screen. There is some sort of flaw in character reasoning if one thinks money is worth more than life.

jaytkay's avatar

We are trying to get to a point where the wealthy pay upwards of 55% of their income to the government

No, they don’t. It’s about 30%

If you don’t understand tax rates, you shouldn’t be lecturing on it.

Unfortunately, the discourse is dominated by such misinformation.

missingbite's avatar

@jaytkay Take a look at this source. That is 39.6% before state tax. Hence my statement that they are trying to get to 55%. But I won’t lecture you anymore. Sorry.

gailcalled's avatar

George Steinbrenner’s estate is over $500 million richer because he died a few days ago. (I’m doing this from memory so may have the figure wrong, but I am in the ballpark).

jaytkay's avatar

@missingbite Sorry to rant, but virtually nobody uses the marginal tax rate figures correctly. They are always thrown around as if that IS the tax paid. And it’s not even close.

39.6% is a proposed Federal income tax top marginal rate.

The actual rate is 35% today. And only income above $373,650 is taxed at 35%. Nobody pays 35% on their entire taxable income.

And that ignores state taxes, Social Security, property taxes and Medicare taxes.

As you wrote, “I’m not talking about sales tax. I’m talking about every tax we have. ”.

Focusing on the top marginal rate (which nobody pays) is ignoring almost the entire story.

anartist's avatar

No
get a financial advisor and a lawyer to set up a family limited partnership to avoid death taxes.

missingbite's avatar

@jaytkay If we were talking about taxes in general I would agree whole heartedly. The topic of the post has to do with inheritance tax and death. My point is we are paying too much tax to begin with. Since we were talking about rich people, I mentioned their highest tax rate. I realize the 39.6% isn’t on the first dollar they make. I also realize it’s not the % they pay on total income. I believe most people that pays taxes realizes this. Some don’t. What some people don’t realize is that millions of people don’t pay any federal taxes. To me, that is not fair.

jaytkay's avatar

@missingbite They don’t pay federal income taxes. They pay FICA at much higher rates than the wealthy.

For example
At $20K per year, your FICA tax is 6.20%
At $100K per year, your FICA tax is 6.20%
At $200K per year, your FICA tax is 3.31%
At $400K per year, your FICA tax is 1.66%

gailcalled's avatar

The issue is inheritance taxes and not FICA, IRS, or state taxes.

LKidKyle1985's avatar

lol yeah just give all your assets to people before you die. talk to a lawyer before you off yourself….

missingbite's avatar

@jaytkay Well we are slightly off topic but it is my understanding that FICA is really two taxes. Social Security at rates different %‘s up to $106,800.00 and then Medicare tax of 1.45% on every dollar. I could be wrong but the % would be lower for higher income because nobody pays any after the first $106,800.00. Except the flat 1.45%

jaytkay's avatar

@missingbite Yes, FICA includes Medicare, but I was referring only to Social Security, not the 1.45%.

@gailcalled The issue is inheritance taxes and not FICA, IRS, or state taxes.

OK. If someone spends their time contemplating suicide as a tax dodge for 2011, I’m sorry they waited so long. Do they need help finding the pills? Is there anything else I can do to help?

gailcalled's avatar

My mother jokes about it. As everyone knows, she is over 95 and realizes that if she kicks the bucket before Jan.1, 2011, the family gets more money. We are not planning any macabre events, however, but it is good to be aware of the issues.

Even the accountants and the tax and estate attorneys say that they have no sane advice to give.

Cruiser's avatar

Depends on the amount of money and loopholes I could exploit! I would have probably been smart enough to protect or distribute the money before I let Uncle Sam steal my hard earned estate from my heirs. This proposed tax is the biggest piece of shit pie I have ever heard about!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

No, what a weird scenario.

jaytkay's avatar

This proposed tax is the biggest piece of shit pie I have ever heard about!

FYI It’s not new. There was a one-year lapse. But the estate tax has been around for almost 100 years.

JLeslie's avatar

Seems reasonable, if there is no other way to move assetts. At the last minute like that it would be difficult to move money and assetts without incurring taxes I think. Reasonable in terms of I can see how people who are near the end of their life and want their family to be ok financially might. If I was the child or spouse who would benefit fromt the early death I would never want my parent or spouse to do it only for that reason. If they still were living without significant pain and able to enjoy parts of life th emoney would never be worth it to me.

I am in favor of a death tax. I have not thought it completely through, how much I thik is reasonable not sure. But, I would rather taxes get paid by the estates of people who have passed away then by working people who go to a job every day. Spouses are fairly protected because they have rights of survivorship for most things, and I don’t think that gets taxed.

anartist's avatar

More info on family limited partnerships here and here and here

BoBo1946's avatar

absolutely a strong no! would not do it because i love them and they love me! we will suffer together! I would do the same for them! They know that.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Some important points about the question I posed. The person described:
*has paid federal income taxes throughout his adult life,
*has paid state income taxes throughout his adult life,
*has paid sales taxes all his life,
*has paid property taxes all his adult life,
*has paid FICA taxes all his adult life for himself and his employees,
*has paid unemployment insurance for all his employees,
*has paid Medicare taxes for decades.

After the state impose its death taxes, the federal government will take over half of what remains if he dies after December 31 of this year, but nothing if he dies this year.

Note:
*The value of gifts made “in anticipation of death” (typically within three years of death) is taxed as if the assets were still in the estate
*The amount of untaxed inheritance that his wife can receive is limited by law.
*To deny paying insurance proceeds, the insurance company would have to prove that the few extra sleeping pills ingested were not taken accidentally.
*If he chooses euthanasia, it would be his own choice and not shared with his family.

jaytkay's avatar

the federal government will take over half of what remains if he dies after December 31 of this year
Not true
The first $1,000,000 is exempt under current law, which is very likely to be changed before anyone is taxed.

The exemption was $3.5Million before the tax lapsed in 2010. There are proposals in Congress to make it either $3.5Million or $5Million

*The amount of untaxed inheritance that his wife can receive is limited by law.
Not true
Here’s the law:
the value of the taxable estate shall, except as limited by subsection (b), be determined by deducting from the value of the gross estate an amount equal to the value of any interest in property which passes or has passed from the decedent to his surviving spouse

ItsAHabit's avatar

“The first $1,000,000 is exempt under current law, which is very likely to be changed before anyone is taxed.” Please provide evidence for the assertion that this is “very likely to be changed before anyone is taxed.” Remember that there are only a few months left before the enormous tax is imposed.

missingbite's avatar

Let’s remember that to some a million dollars is a lot of money but to others, like the Steinbrenners, it’s a drop in the bucket. An inheritance tax is the biggest ripoff the government can pull. Let’s not forget that all of this money has been taxed already. Some will argue that it is new income for the family members involved. I say it’s not. Family money is my money. It’s been taxed so leave it alone. I don’t care how few families are involved. Tax reform now.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite if you only have $700K in the bank none of it is taxed. So to those people that a million is a lot of money, they are NOT taxed at the time of death. I guess the people who have $2million might feel the tax more heavily, and that is why some argue that it should be raised to $3 or $5 million. The people with $20million of wealth can afford the taxes, their family won’t be very hurt, the know there will most likely be tax so they set up shelters that get some of the money around the law, legally around the law. The guy who does not have access or knowledge if how to get around some of the laws probably has less than $1 million anyway.

The death tax, formerly known as the estate tax, I wonder if it was the republicans or the democrats who came up with death tax? The old name implied it was for people who had “estates.” I think the average American does not identify with that term probably? Not sure. My guess would be it is a Republican term so the red states can feel again like liberals are trying to get you (not you personally) coming and going, when it is actually the Dems who usually are trying to keep middle class taxes down.

@ItsAHabit go down to Exemptions and tax rates http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estate_tax_in_the_United_States

ItsAHabit's avatar

Has the man I described been taxed heavily enough already? If not, how much would be too much?

JLeslie's avatar

@ItsAHabit Lets say the federal government has to reasonably collect $3trillion a year (I totally made up that number) and we all agree on the number, spending for military, and basics that Dems and Republicans agree on. Would you rather collect it all from people who are are working every day, or if you can get a percentage of it from people who died, would you rather take it from them? The man you describe theoretically can be taxed less while alive, if we tax people at their death.

ItsAHabit's avatar

You’re not taking the money from the man who died but from his wife and children. Why should they be punished because their husband and father worked at least 75 hours per week rescuing a failing business and expanding it, thus providing jobs to 38 people?

Is there anything else you would suggest that might be even more effective in discouraging entrepreneurial spirit and the expansion of the economy?

anartist's avatar

@ItsAHabit If it is all about the dough-re-me please take a closer look at the info I posted above about FLPs. You can enjoy your family longer [and, hopefully, they you] and STILL pass on most of the booty.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Thanks, anartist. I think we owe it to our family to make such efforts because they will use the money wisely. The government will not, but will spend all it can get and then more.

And we don’t want to do anything that will reduce the economic vitality of our country by discouraging or even penalizing entrepreneurship. It is people create prosperity, not the government.

anartist's avatar

@ItsAHabit You need a good financial planner and a good lawyer.

JLeslie's avatar

@ItsAHabit If my parents spent all of their money and enjoyed it before they died and I got nothing it would be fine with me. I understand your point, and actally agree with it to an extent, people who work hard and want to make things easier for their family while they are alive, and in their death, don’t want the government to take it all. But, I still prefer my parents’ estate get taxed, before my husband’s income, and my parents estate won’t be, because it is less than a million anyway. I am not waiting for them to die to get some money. The spouse does not suffer taxation, especially if spouses are concerned about taxation, then they are careful to own everything with rights of survivorship, it essentailly means the married couple is one, meaning one entity, like one person, there is no change of hands for the government to be taxing. Spouses are even protected under law in most states to at least a portion of their primary residence, and cannot be kicked out of their home, even if the spouse who died owned it only in his name and tried to will it to someone else; the law protects the spouse even if one of them is an asshole.

ItsAHabit's avatar

JLeslie, I’m still very concerned about the children and the negative effects of this money-grab on reducing incentives and entrepreneurship. Small business is the largest employer in the country and the fastest growing. Without this engine of productivity, our economy (and all of us in the economy) will suffer in the long term.

JLeslie's avatar

@ItsAHabit But, what about the idea that it is healthy for people to make it on their own? Businesses can still be handed down through families. I would think a business is a separate entity? I’m not sure how that gets taxed if the owner dies? I would think business continues as usual. Also, people live to be 70, 80, 90 years old, which means their children inherit at the ages of 50, 60, 70 generally, so the family still needs to make it’s own way realtistically, or be gifted money before their parents die.

Also, I am curious, does this even effect you personally? Will you be receiving a big inheritance, or are you answer more in terms of what you think is the greater good. I only ask, not that I expect you to give out specific details, but I only ask because I have so many people around me who talk about taxation and the very things that upset them most have nothing to do with them. They worry about rich people being taxed, and they will never be rich, and basically have no clue of how rich people are really taxed or not taxed for that matter. I have a family member who is a small busines owner, really small business, only two employees typically, and the taxes he pays is sooooo much lower than what I would pay working for a company – all legal done to the tax code.

And, small business is defined up to 500 employees, actually some industries more; whenever I tell that to these people who live around me so worried about small business being taxed, none of them have any idea of the rules that define small business. I don’t want to make these assumptions about you, but your concerns sound so familiar that I wanted to give you a chance to correct any generalizations I might be making.

JLeslie's avatar

@ItsAHabit Or, when you say the children do you mean young children? Like if both parents die at once or before a child is through their education? It’s very rare, I would want some sort of exception in that sort of rare circumstance also possibly. Although, even in that case $1 million should suffice to raise children if the money went to their guardian.

ItsAHabit's avatar

JLeslie. This doesn’t effect me personally at all. I’m concerned about how heavy taxation can discourage entrepreneurial efforts to the ultimate detriment of the entire economy.

JLeslie's avatar

@ItsAHabit But, weren’t we taxed higher during Clinton and our economy boomed. There are many reasons why the economy was good then, and it actually hit some bumps during the end of his final term, but what I am saying is this direct line people try to draw between taxation and small business, and the economy, I am not so sure it is that simple.

ItsAHabit's avatar

JLeslie I could easily be wrong, but I thought Bill Clinton reduced taxes. But I agree with you completely that these matters are not so simple and that correlations do not demonstrate causality.

laureth's avatar

Nope, Clinton raised ‘em. He reduced the deficit.

gorillapaws's avatar

If I’m ever fortunate enough to have earned enough to be hit by the death tax I will be happy to help contribute to the future prosperity of this country with my taxes. I’ll be dead, and my kids will need to make their own way in the world.

ItsAHabit's avatar

We don’t contribute to prosperity by paying high taxes. Quite the contrary.

ItsAHabit's avatar

Thank for the info laureth. Now my estimation of Bill Clinton has dropped :-(

gorillapaws's avatar

@ItsAHabit taxes are about as low as they’ve ever been in recent history.

laureth's avatar

@ItsAHabit – You would prefer voodoo economics?

missingbite's avatar

I would bet, and I could be wrong, that what @ItsAHabit wants is lower taxes of all and a reduction of the Federal Government. I can promise you that tax cuts do grow an economy. The problem we have with government is that we have had out of control SPENDING. What we are doing now is growing social programs and hoping to pay for it with taxation. Taxation will shrink private enterprise and grow government.

What we have got to get away from, and Rachel Maddow is one of the worst, is Republican/Democrat politics. Both parties are guilty of spending out of control.

On top of that, with all due respect, if we on Fluther are going to slam Glenn Beck and the like, Rachel Maddow, is just as bad if not worse, just on the liberal side of the isle.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite It all counts. Too much spending is a problem I completely agree. But, my main focus is on a balanced budget, and probably I want more social programs than you, but I don’t want them if we do not pay for them. I see a lot of republicans wanting lower taxes, complaining about the burden on their children and grandchildren. If you (not you personally) don’t want to pass on the tax burdern then you have to pay now. The Republicans are fine with going to war and not paying for it. WTF? Everyone in favor of the wars should be in favor of sacrificing to financially support the war effort. The democrats seem to want more public programs, but are willing to pay for it through higher taxes. Both groups I believe ideally want to trim the budget to get rid of wasteful and unnecessary spending.

I think Maddow is awful also.

laureth's avatar

@missingbite – One thing that I have found, when it comes down to it, is that while the Left and Right both have their fringe members (although I liken Michael Moore to be the leftie’s fringeperson to compare with Glenn Beck), the folks on the Left tend to think more like scientists (i.e., basing things on fact, as well as they can) whereas the Right’s media needs constant watching to expose deliberate falsehoods. I’m not saying the fringe left isn’t also of a lunatic bent, but they simply try to stay close to fact much more often than the Right.

To cut spending is well and good, but it has to be timed properly. I think that even St. Reagan would keep spending now. It’s a little bit like this guy’s NASCAR analogy: you don’t hit the brakes when you’re coming up on an accident scene because then everyone piles up on you and causes a bigger disaster. No, you put on the gas and get to a safe spot, hit the pit stop for new tires and a refuel, and then worry. Everything that the Right wants to do seems poised to keep us in a recession for much longer than necessary. And that’s if you believe the Right’s noise about being the fiscally responsible party, which they seem to have failed with every Republican administration in recent memory.

Instead, the Tea Party Right seems to be offering up people that don’t even really understand their own views, just pitchforks and torches. What we really need is to have a discourse where facts matter, though – you’re absolutely right about that.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie You make great points. What I believe and most Conservative people believe is that the Federal Governments first and foremost job is protecting its people. (military) We can agree or disagree on the wars we are fighting, that is another topic. What I believe is that we have gotten to a point where it is more important to have as many people on the government dole as possible for political reasons. In my view the, and I hate to separate because both parties are guilty, Democrats, want as many people as possible under some sort of government social program. That way they can be re-elected by showing Republicans denouncing their programs.

@laureth I read your post but simply don’t have time to read all the links. I will get to them. However, while I agree with some of what you have said, I want to say that the analogy of a NASCAR driver is exactly opposite in my view. Raising taxes and expanding spending will not help the economy. That is exactly what we are doing right now. Not extending the Bush tax cuts, (raising taxes) and spending out of control.

I believe that, and in the past it has worked, if we keep taxes low and REDUCE spending at the federal government level, we can work this out. I’m afraid we are headed in the wrong direction.

We are now officially WAY off topic so I will say again, there is never a good reason to kill yourself, especially over taxes.

gorillapaws's avatar

@missingbite “if we on Fluther are going to slam Glenn Beck and the like, Rachel Maddow, is just as bad if not worse, just on the liberal side of the isle.” That’s absolute bullshit.

That clip @laureth linked doesn’t contain a single factual error, or ridiculous leap in logic. Right wingers don’t get to cross the insanity threshold and then accuse those on the left of doing the same thing. The media doesn’t even have anyone voicing the radical left position of full-blown Communism like the right does. Imaging a news station that was advocating 24/7 abolition of private enterprise, and calling the likes of Rachel Maddow right wing. Because we have the right wing equivalent of that—it’s called Fox News. Democrats are actually relatively centrist in the bigger picture.

missingbite's avatar

@gorillapaws I could point to hundreds of clips from Beck that are factually accurate. Doesn’t make him any more or less “right.” Maddow is far left and spews it. IMHO she is Glenn Beck on the Left. Like it or not.

gorillapaws's avatar

@missingbite she doesn’t espouse full-blown communism. A flat-tax is as radically right as the spectrum goes. Advocating 100% equality of income is equally radical on the left. A progressive tax structure, which most democrats want, is centrist.

If you can find a clip of Glen Beck talking for 10 minutes without making a factual misstatement, distorting reality, or violating the rules of logic and reason, please, by all means, post a link.

missingbite's avatar

@gorillapaws we could debate each of their views until we are blue in the face. It won’t change either of our views. We are WAY off topic. Good day.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite I do believe that politicians use government programs (mostly dems) and talking about lowering taxes (mostly republicans) as a malipulatie tools to get elected. This is a huge problem in my opinion, and takes the country away from honest and open discussin of what is reasonable and right for our citizens. What I don’t like is when I am painted with a brush about all government programs. I am completely against EIC money, and life long welfare, and I have said before that I think if a person has a baby while on public assistance they should be given less money, not more. But, I am for single payer healthcare, social security, and money for public education.

I also am fine with a flat income tax, because right now it seems the richest among us pay less generally then the middle class with all of the loopholes, but am against getting rid of income tax and having a high sales tax instead. I find it horribly regressive.

During Reagan the economy was strong, but the deficit grew. I don’t like that result personally.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie I didn’t mean to paint you with a general brush as I don’t know all of your individual views. I was speaking of parties in general. If you took it another way, I’m sorry. With that said, I don’t think you and I view things very different at all. One or two items maybe, but you sound like a middle of the road person. I am as well, although many on Fluther view me as far right.

In my view, the economy grew under Reagan because of lower taxes. His problem was spending. Mostly on military to end the Cold War, but also on other areas. His spending never slowed down. We can’t keep spending and thinking that raising taxes will cover it. It won’t. We also can’t lower taxes and think we can keep on spending. We can’t. We have got to find a middle ground.

The rich paying for the poor doesn’t work. Everyone has to have a vested interest. We agree on that. Hence, the OP question about inheritance tax. It is one of the most idiotic taxes we have. (started by a republican I believe) We are taxing money that has already been taxed. I keep hearing people say things like, “nobody needs that much money” or “a million dollars is plenty for the family” or “who needs to make more than X number of dollars per year.” My question is, why is it anyone’s business how much a person makes?

gorillapaws's avatar

@missingbite the Bush tax cuts have gotten our country into DEEP economic shit. We need to get out of it or we will ALL be paying a 95% flat-tax one day just to pay the interest on the debt to China. The death-tax is one way that doesn’t hurt anybody. If you’ve not given your kids enough opportunities to succeed during their lives and a million dollars isn’t enough to help them help themselves, then they probably don’t deserve a good life.

Our country was founded on the principle that the best, smartest, hardest working rise to the top. We rejected the aristocracy of England, and the idea that one was born into privilege—that some people were better in the eyes of God simply because of their bloodline.

A death-tax reduces dynastic wealth—an inherently un-American concept. It doesn’t hurt the people who’ve worked hard and earned the money.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite I should have worded it better. I did not feel your were painting me, but that many on either side are doing this, instead of discussing each topic separately. I always say anyone who agrees with everything their party stands for is to be ignored, because it means to me they are not thinking. We have seen party lines and stances completely flip flop to gain votes, which is what you were pointing out earlier. I could tell by what you wrote so far that you are not just following a particular party, sorry again that I did not make that clear.

We still disagree on the estate tax, but I am a captialist and do agree that if people are rich because they worked hard or had an ingenious idea, more power to them, but I do think sometimes a line is crossed; an integrity line, that instead of it being just capitalism it becomes disgusting greed on the backs of others. I favor good wages for a days work over paying people welfare. I don’t think it is reasonable for a CEO to make $17million a year, when others in the company who work hard and do a good job can barely rub two nickels together. Anyone who does his job well should be able to live a decent life in my opinion. Our country became extremely prosperous and wealthy partly due to the growth of our middle class, most Americans are proud to be part of a country that is not the haves and have nots like the third world. The labor unions helped fight for wages that increased our middle class, which led to more growth in our economy. A rich person might buy 5 houses a yacht and 5 cars, but 50 middle class people can buy 50 houses, 50 cars, and a couple of boats here and there. I am generally anti-union, and I think some of the problems we are enduring now in the country, because of unions, could have been avoided if business owners had done the right thing to begin with and shared the wealth a little. Just my opinion.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie No problem. And again, we agree on almost everything! Full disclosure, I am an Independent who is also a Union Member who considers himself center right. Our country for far too long has been great at fighting amongst ourselves while we should be solving problems. We are too quick to take sides without even looking at the opposite side. It doesn’t matter if it is Republican/Democrat, straight/gay, man/woman, black/white, or have/have nots.

@gorillapaws In my view, the Bush Tax cuts should have been coupled with shrinking government. Didn’t work that way. Again, we could debate the specifics all day. Won’t change a thing. We will have to agree to disagree on inheritance tax. I feel it is un-American for the government to decide where my money goes when I am gone. Also un-American for someone to tell me how much I need or my family needs.

Given the opportunity, a lot of people will do the right thing regardless of the government. Who will do better, Bill Gates’ foundation or the government taking its tax on his death? I vote let Bill decide.

laureth's avatar

@missingbite – yes, it is possible to show plenty of Glenn Beck clips where everything he says in the clip is true. The very best lies are ones that are cloaked and surrounded with enough truth to make them go down smoothly.

Back in the cold war, lots and lots of what Pravda reported was also true. Lots of what Radio Moscow reported was also absolutely true. So “a large amount of truth” is not what defines good media. And while people are imperfect and sometimes unknowingly present fallacies, what Pravda and Radio Moscow did was go beyond that to intentionally broadcast things which were factually false, but which they very much wished for the people to believe were true. That is what made them propaganda outlets instead of news outlets.

From where I sit, Fox News is like unto Pravda this way. Rush and his friends present factual falsities, cloaked in swallowable truth, as a means of pushing the Right’s propaganda. And while you might call Rachel Maddow’s broadcast “propaganda of the left,” it remains that she doesn’t have to cloak any dishonesty in there, making it very different from FOX et al.

And now, back to subject, if that’s what folks want.

JLeslie's avatar

@laureth But Maddow does slant things to rile up the left. Actually, honestly, I think she is simply riled up herself, I am not sure if it is deliberate for ratings or not. I saw her interviewing Pat Buchanan once and Buchanan was perfectly reasonable, logical, and factual, and she was twisting statistics all around like a pretzle, much like Beck. It was on the topic of the supreme court, Sotomayor, and minorities on the court. If anything, when it comes to the court I am generally very liberal, in fact I think one of the most important things about electing a president is how he might choose justices for our supreme court, and for that matter alone I might vote Democrat for the rest of my life. But still, Buchanan was the voice of reason in the conversation.

I do agree as a general statement liberals and Democrats seem to want facts more than the Republicans, and make decisions through a more analytical and scientific method like scientists. But the thing is it depends where you live and who is the democrat or republican sitting next to you. I don’t like any shows that are so one sided. I stick with Morning Joe and Meet the Press for politics.

laureth's avatar

Oh, she’s riled up all right. I can see why people might not like that, too. But mostly, I look at the information presented, not necessarily the way it’s delivered so much.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth People tend not to see the slant if they agree with the commentator. Trust me, Maddow is just as guilty of this as Beck. I don’t have an agenda and generally like just the facts. I see the slant from both sides. You may not be able to, but it is there.

gorillapaws's avatar

@missingbite so what factual distortion occurred in the piece? Isn’t it possible that she made those Republicans look like clowns… because they’re actually ACTING LIKE CLOWNS? Voodoo economics doesn’t work. It’s been disproven, it’s been tried several times (and it has failed).

missingbite's avatar

@gorillapaws I can’t tell if you are so far left that you drive for NASCAR or you just want to argue. Did Maddow mention in her piece that more and more of her Democrats are calling for the Bush Tax cuts to continue? Seems like slant to me. But it won’t to you. You seem to only see your side. source

laureth's avatar

Her slant appears to be that she tells the facts that support the Left’s POV. It’s not necessarily her fault that “reality has a well known liberal bias.” ;)

I mean this in the same way that some people perceive sites like factcheck.org to have a “Left bias,” simply because they do so much debunking of the Right’s misinformation. If the Right merely misinformed at par with the Left, FactCheck’s bias would disappear.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth Again, you see your side as fact. Not necessarily what the facts are. Not to mention, most liberals think they are intellectually superior to everyone. Please read my source above. Even your democrats are calling for the tax cuts to stay.

laureth's avatar

@missingbite – Please do not mistake me for a Democrat. I call ‘em as I see ‘em, when the left is stupid as well as the right being stupid. It’s simply that lately, the Right has done more mock-worthy antics, but I suppose that makes me lean left, eh?

missingbite's avatar

@laureth Sorry if I misjudged your views. As I read your posts they seem to me to lean Democrat left. Again, sorry if I was wrong. I think I did show that Maddow can slant her “facts” by just eliminating the “fact” that more and more Democrats are calling for the Bush Tax Cuts to stay. In my mind, that makes her Beck of the Left.

laureth's avatar

She also didn’t mention a lot of other things because she only had X number of minutes to talk and had to make her point. She did not, however, appear to fabricate or baldfacedly mislead in the manner of Beck. That, as we keep saying, is the difference.

The tax cuts, no matter who called for them, ought not stay. We cannot afford them.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth But she had plenty of time to bash Republicans instead of telling both sides. That, as I keep saying, is slant.

laureth's avatar

Please keep in mind that your WSJ article is dated today, whereas at broadcast, this may not have been known.

gorillapaws's avatar

@missingbite the radical left believe that CEO’s should be paid the same as janitors. They believe the state should own ALL businesses. I am very far right from this position. I believe the State should only run a few things like education, the military, the Federal Reserve, Healthcare, Police, Fire etc. I also think people should be able to earn as much as their hard work and ingenuity can take them. In Cuba I would probably be shot for being so “right wing.”

The absence of the true extreme left position in the national dialogue makes people like myself who are in the middle, erroneously appear to be communist/socialists. If we gave as much airtime to true Marxists as we do to the likes of Glen Beck, Ann Coulter, and Rush Limbaugh, I think the country would realize that people like myself and Maddow are actually pretty centrist.

I believe in fiscal responsibility, and everything I’ve read has told me that there is no way to realistically cut spending to the point where we can pay back our debt. We are going to have to raise taxes to pay for the Bush taxcuts, plus the interest they cost. I personally think the death tax is one that is very reasonable because it never directly affects the person being taxed, only her heirs.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth The WSJ article states in the first sentence that “two more Senate democrats” called for keeping the Bush Tax cuts. She knew that there were democrats that disagreed with raising taxes yet made it sound like it was only Republicans. That is slant.

@gorillapaws Glad to hear your views are closer to center than left. We disagree on a few things but I can agree with some of your post. I’m guessing you are lumping the State and Federal Government together? The State can’t run the Federal Reserve or the military. I don’t believe it should be the Federal Governments responsibility to run healthcare. Other than healthcare and taxes, what do you see different than what Beck or Rush want? I believe they also want fiscal responsibility, a strong military, taxes for police and fire, ect. I think they both feel like we should be able to make as much money as we want to. I am really confused as to what you disagree with?

laureth's avatar

I think what’s really not coming across here is the difference between “slant” and “propaganda.” Let me put it this way.

If you’re watching the regular old TV news, you will notice that the Sports guy is slanted towards Sports. He doesn’t report on the weather, for example. Similarly, the Weather guy is slanted toward weather news and doesn’t report on the stock market. Nevertheless, what they are saying is true, to the best of their knowledge. That’s slant.

Propaganda would be like the Weather guy saying, “Rain is expected in Laureth’s city this weekend (true) because that oil spill that Obama engineered (going…) to make the environmentalists look bad (going…) is causing the ocean to heat up (plausible-sounding sci-babble) and those radical leftie Dems are blaming it on fake global warming scares (gone!) in order to discredit industry, and we love industry and want the nation to prosper (appeal to nationalism) so drag out those umbrellas, folks, and make sure you get out to vote, rain or no rain!”

Slant can be true. Propaganda is lies mixed with truth.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth I can agree with that. I believe Maddow is just as guilty of propaganda as Beck. I’m guessing you think she just uses facts. If that is the case, that is where you and I will disagree.

laureth's avatar

Can you provide links to video or transcripts where she has lied, deliberately and outright?

I have not told you my real name. It’s an omission, to be sure, but it is not a lie. However, if I tell you my name is Petunia, that is definitely a lie.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth if you tell part of the truth to make someone look bad without telling the whole truth, that is propaganda. A lie. If you and I had a conversation and I picked part of your words to make you look stupid but didn’t tell the whole story, am I lying? Using propaganda?

laureth's avatar

That would be part of the standard definition of propaganda, yes. But I still fail to see how it would fit in with Maddow’s message in the video I linked to. The fact that Dems might agree with an extension of the Bush tax cuts doesn’t affect the Republican talking points about how wonderful these tax cuts are supposed to be.

If I dispute your points, it doesn’t mean that I also have to dispute @gorillapaws at the same time, even if some of @gorillapaws’ points superficially agree with yours. Not if I’m concentrating on you.

I don’t have TV, so I don’t watch Maddow or Beck with any kind of regularity – only when someone else links to a clip.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth I never said your video did that. I said she is guilty of it. Take this link for example. She clearly leaves part of Beck’s words out to make him look like a clown.

laureth's avatar

Here’s a relevant link regarding the Beck/Maddow dispute. Link. Looks like a real catfight, eh? But it’s not as though his final sentence there outweighs or even equals all of his previous claims that global warming is a hoax. She is still right in essence.

See, when I presented that clip way up there, I presented it because of the information in it. I don’t care who is reporting it – Maddow, the Dalai Lama, or even Glenn Beck could have said it, and they would still be true facts about how cutting taxes on the richest folks doesn’t stimulate things as much as people would like to believe, and Republican spending has (in the last couple generations) increased the deficit far more than Democratic spending.

An ad hominem attack on the speaker doesn’t necessarily discredit the point I was trying to make.

laureth's avatar

This is an interesting article as well, on the core difference between MSNBC and FOX.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth “she is still right in essence” right after you say “That would be part of the standard definition of propaganda, yes”? Really? She is a propagandist. Plain and simple. You can try and disagree if you like but she is. Not to mention, like I said earlier, even democrats are now calling to keep the Bush Tax Cuts.

laureth's avatar

So you assert that Beck’s one tiny caveat about the storm offsets a long history of statements declaring global warming is a hoax?

If anything, she should have included the line for pertinent mockery thereof.

missingbite's avatar

@laureth Either way shouldn’t matter. She used his one line to try to make him look stupid and didn’t have the character to tell the whole story. She is just as bad as he is. I can admit that he pulls stunts like this. You seem to be unable to either tell the difference or unwilling to accept the fact that Maddow does the same thing. Probably because you believe everything she says. I don’t. Just like I don’t take everything Beck says as complete truths.

laureth's avatar

As I said before, I have it in for the stupid things that both sides say or do. I try to believe only the true stuff. And to get us back to where we were up there, voodoo economics isn’t the panacea the right (and some elements of the left who also want to be re-elected) say it is, which is so eloquently expressed in the clip by Ms. Maddow, unrelated to anything else she has said or done.

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