Taxes, death and a surprising twist, and a CJ survey on where bears shit?

Did you watch Kentucky’s state of the union address?

You’d have thought that after several years of asking me stupid questions, you’d have learnt a thing or two, but apparently not. Do you honestly think I’d sit through an hour of Trump Lite promising to make Kentuckians’ lives worse? Although I did watch the South African equivalent, and what a quality piece of improv entertainment that was. Shouting, fisticuffs, teargas. Everything you could hope for in political discourse.

Well, on current form we’re heading that way, or we would be if Democrats had any stones. That said, at least Bevin seems determined to cut my tax bill and end the Death Tax. Got to applaud him for that at least…

Cat got your tongue? That’s unlike you.

No, for once your ignorance has me lost for words. You’re having a laugh, aren’t you? Of all the taxes on the books, the Death Tax — or the Estate Tax, to give it its correct, non-PR spin name — is probably the fairest of them all. The government takes our cash in any number of silly, and even unfair ways, but that’s literally the least silly or unfair.

Sorry, but I can’t stand here and listen to this. Estate Taxes are double-taxation, government-sanctioned theft from hard-working people. All they want to do is leave their kids something after they kick the bucket, and here’s Joe the Tax Man taking almost half of it. It’s criminal. Hats off to Bevin for seeing that.

Right, I can see I’m going to have to give you a lesson on death and taxes, and, if you don’t get it, I’ll be tempted to hasten your acquaintance with the latter. Estate taxes aren’t paid by the person who earnt the money, on account of it’s difficult to get a corpse to write a cheque. They are paid by the beneficiary, who is typically alive. Someone who inherits the dosh and hasn’t paid a penny in tax on it. Double taxation’s when you pay tax on the same money twice, right?

Right… But the money people pass on to their children — or whomever — has already been taxed.

Yes. But I’ll repeat, by the person who earnt it, not by the people who inherited it. It’s not ‘new’ money. It’s money that’s part of the system and is continually changing hands. LEO doesn’t send a note to the Treasury saying, you’ve invoiced them and asking if can they print some brass, please. This is referred to by people with brains as the Money Supply. All money gets taxed again and again and again, ad nauseam. Nobody ever really owns it.

But look, isn’t it a bit unfair that when someone dies the IRS sends them a bill? Even if they inherit a house that has no mortgage and is private property? How is that part of a government system?

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The current limit on Estate Tax is about five million bucks. There are perhaps half-a-dozen houses worth that much in the entire state of Kentucky. Buckingham Palace wouldn’t be worth that if it was in Bullitt County. Governments tax everything, and, for the most part, rightly so. Rather than being worth repealing, the Estate Tax should be a bloody good incentive. In the highly-unlikely event that your kids get an estate tax bill, they’ll have done bloody well by you.

So what you’re saying is that anyone who supports repealing a tax paid by a tiny proportion of very wealthy people by virtue of coming out of an advantageous womb has been conned by people like Bevin in order to make him and his wealthy donors even wealthier?

Bingo.

Damn. How did I fall for it?

You and more than half the country, mate. Poor people cheer on the repeal of the Estate Tax, because, I don’t know, they want to pay more tax themselves. Which is how it’ll work out. Kentucky will be no different, not that any of them will notice or care. Bevin knows people will cheer it on: We’re past the point of proving otherwise.

Speaking of stupid people doing stupid things, did you see that survey in The Courier-Journal? I’m trying to think of a bigger waste of money, time and paper.

What, the one that confirmed that rich people in The East End are happy with their lot, while poor folk in The West End are somewhat less enthusiastic by the cards life has dealt them? Yes, I saw it. I’m going to apply to The CJ for a grant to survey bears to ask them where they shit. I suspect it’s in the woods, but if there’s survey money going we should get some.

If there was some purpose outside of discovering the bleeding obvious, I’d be all for it. But in a sad way, the purpose is to learn the bleeding obvious. This city would rather reinforce what it already knows than spend money actually doing something about it.

Yeah, and no matter what the state of our union, nothing is changing any time soon. I’ve got half a mind to cheer on the governor’s recent hostile bid for Louisville, just to see if we can drum up meaningful opposition. But I doubt it. More chance of a televised Pitino-Sypher reunion party at Porcini’s. Now, I’d watch that.

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