Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Life Tax

The "Death Tax" is something that has concerned me for a couple of weeks now, and not only because the wealthy right and their chief spinmeister have again tied up our army with their squad in a made-for-media skirmish.

Although the "death tax" [properly known as the estate tax] is not a tax on death, but a tax on the fortunes of a select group of millionaires, it has achieved legitimacy under this title and has already performed its political purpose, whether or not it is rescinded by Congress. Meanwhile, the mammoth fiscal calamity that is the federal budget has been spared from serious attention, much less repair.

But I am a compassionate man, and I understand there is also a great anxiety among those few multimillionaires affected by the estate tax. It is really, at its root, a religious question.

These folks have elevated Materialism to such a level that they are convinced that they will live on in the form of their estate. Thus to tax it will actually harm their residual souls. It is a strange obverse interpretation of Jesus' "Where your fortune is, there will your heart be also."

You and I, of course, know that these estates will most likely be expended in drugs and profligacy within a few years, and that the destination of these multimillionaires is not to be transformed or absorbed into mansions or portfolios of stock.

Their fate, unfortunately, is one of three. One, in the Judeo-Christian-Muslim opinion, they pass straight into Hell. Two, in the Buddhist-Hindu school, they will return as a lower form of life; if they are lucky enough to be human, it will be as one of the many billions of people living lives of abject destitution, perhaps even the most wretched of all.

Or three, they will cease existence in any form and pass into the Atheists' vacuum of existence. This last, of course, would be best, since it means their accumulation was meaningless, not morally damning. Still, they should spend it while alive.

But this is not an attempt to steal a tenet of the New Church of Materialism. I am tolerant of all faiths. AND I have an answer to all problems. A win-win. The Life Tax.

Yes. The Life Tax.

Think of its title, just for a moment. I like its title. In fact, to justify its title completely, I propose we make it a tax not only on the living, but for the living. I am insisting here and now that one-tenth of its proceeds be set aside to eliminate hunger and give clean drinking water to every soul on the planet. Just one tenth would do it. A tithe, so to speak, on the Life Tax. But that is a minor point.

The Life Tax would tax these wealthy folks while they are alive! Neat, huh?

Sure it sounds like a simple reversal of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, but it's more than that. [The Bush tax cuts have indebted our nation for decades to come. I'm surprised nobody has pointed out that this debt was intentional, not just a give-away. As we have made foreign nations subservient to international banks, now we are doing ourselves the same favor. But I digress.]

As I say, the Life Tax is more than a reversal of the tax cuts for the rich. It would establish a top marginal tax rate of 90% for those making $1 million or more per year. This was the tax rate back when the economy was strong and before we needed corporate avarice to motivate us.

The Life Tax solves our problems. We can vote on a tax with an uplifting title. We can do something meaningful about the sinking ship of the nation's finances. We can, as I mentioned, eliminate hunger and thirst from the globe. And most importantly, it is my hope that the Life Tax will save rich Americans from having to worry about the estate tax.

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