Death and taxes? How about death, then taxes? As we debate taxing, spending, and the proper role of government, one author has proposed the politically impossible: charging people for Medicare after they’ve died. Although it’ll never happen, his suggestion comes close to my (admittedly idiosyncratic) views on taxes. I would support an estate tax of 100 percent if it resulted in the elimination of all other taxes. Americans would pay no income taxes, no sales taxes, no payroll taxes, no property taxes, and no investment taxes during their lifetimes. As a tradeoff, we wouldn’t be able to pass money along to our children. Seniors would have an incentive to put money into the economy, and we could mitigate (although not eliminate) the impact of inherited wealth. Why not?
Posts Tagged ‘Medicare’
At the turn of the century, the United States government was running a surplus. Eleven years later, we’re running a trillion-dollar deficit. What happened? Well, in rough chronological order: we cut taxes; suffered a mild recession; endured a large-scale terrorist attack; went to war with Afghanistan; created the Department of Homeland Security; went to war with Iraq; added a prescription drug benefit to Medicare; sent stimulus checks to every American; suffered a severe recession; bailed out big, insolvent banks; bailed out big, insolvent automakers; engineered a second stimulus consisting of corporate tax cuts, individual tax credits, aid to states, and road construction projects; provided rebates to people who traded in their cars; extended a popular tax credit for first-time homebuyers; reached an agreement to keep income taxes from rising; cut payroll taxes; and went to war with Libya. How will it all end? Call me cynical, but (what’s left of) my money is on Congress doing nothing until Social Security and Medicare are flat broke, then raising payroll taxes (which retired, abundant, and eager-to-vote baby boomers won’t be obliged to pay) in order to cover the difference.