Bill Gates Sr. talks to the folks at the Huffington Post about the Death Tax (not that he calls it that).
For eight years I have spoken to anyone who would listen about the importance of creating a strong estate tax, and there is no more critical time for action to be taken by Congress on this matter than now.
In a few days the Senate will break for their holiday recess and if they do not act the estate tax will disappear in 2010. The House of Representatives recently cast a 225-200 vote in favor of Rep. Earl Pomeroy’s estate tax proposal, which makes 2009 estate tax law permanent, with a $3.5 million exemption ($7 million for married couples), and a 45% tax rate. If the Senate agrees, the result will still be a loss of $391 billion over 10 years, although that is better than no tax.
Letting the tax disappear entirely will be even more devastating and will cost upwards of a trillion dollars in lost revenue; revenue that supports vital public systems — including transportation and energy infrastructure, education and healthcare — that are the foundation of our broad-based prosperity and economic stability.
This is why I believe we must do more and strengthen this levy, which is our county’s only tax on inherited wealth and applies to less than 1 percent of American families. The estate tax raises substantial revenue from those with the greatest capacity to pay.
From all published accounts, Gates Sr. has it set up to give 90% of his wealth to a few pre-selected charities upon his death. The other 10% would go to individuals.
Now whether that remaining 10% would put any of those individuals over the $7M mark is unknown to me, but if he truly thought that giving the government 45% of the wealth you acquired throughout your life via the Death Tax, why would he have would he have his fortune split up like that?
Yes, I know that rhetorical questions suck.