Who Pays a 45% Estate Tax? Idiots Do.

By now, you must have heard about Tom Perkins’ letter to the Wall Street Journal (Progressive Kristallnacht Coming?), where he made a foolish comparison to the “parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.’ ”

The PR disaster Perkins ignited – yeah, he is that Perkins from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins – ignited a firestorm. The reaction was so intense he had to go on Bloomberg TV to sort of, but not quite, apologize. In the course of his comments, he said something several other really dumb things (you may be detecting a pattern here) on unrelated subjects.

But the thing which really stood out to me was his plea for lower taxes. Perkins said: “Upon my death the government will take 45%” of my estate.

To which I am compelled to respond: Only if you are an idiot.

Or, perhaps, if you were on the way to your lawyer’s office when you got hit by a bus, and died intestate (without a will), then that makes sense as well. Short of those things occurring, no one in America actually pays 45% in estate taxes. It is simply too easy to avoid paying estate taxes.

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