Lots Of Life In The Death Tax Debate He Knows Firsthand
To The Editor:
This morning as I write this, my thoughts are not very organized as my family grieves the death of my father, but I hope you understand my point.
I talk with the sons and daughters and key persons of deceased small business owners from time to time: printing, plumbing, welding, retail and so many other small businesses that have been mercilessly attacked by the IRS, leaving the businesses bankrupt and the possible future owners of those businesses, the children of the deceased, with nothing left to do but weep and find themselves in poverty and humiliation. The employees of those businesses, if only a few, are also jobless.
Now they could have bought life insurance to pay those taxes. How convenient for us agents. However, these are not wealthy people. They are middle-income families living off $40,000 to $80,000 per year. The IRS simply says the business is worth enough to taxtherefore pay up.
You should know well that it takes a lot of capital, buildings, service or farm property to generate a livable income. The heirs can hire the attorneys at a high cost to prove the IRS is wrong or just tell the IRS, OK, you win, we lose.
I know firsthand what they are dealing with. My dad, a small business owner, died last week and the grieving is tempered by the thought of dealing with the IRS. Oh yeah, my Dad has been uninsurable or so highly rated for the last 20 years that we couldnt afford the premium to pay the death tax.
The truly wealthy have no problem paying the premiums and sometimes get a thrill from this type of planning and premium paying as if it were a big game. I hope these are the ones your column (see The Editor’s Edge, May 10, 2004) refers to. Not so with the rest of us who might fall into the lower end of the death tax scale.
So, when you talk about me and my Republican friends who are opposed to the death tax, I simply ask for a little mercy and clarification. Your sarcasm is noted. I also challenge you to examine your own practical experience and knowledge, because you obviously have no idea how far removed you are from the ones the death tax really destroys.
Donald G. Holmes
To The Editor:
Thank you for your May 10 column on the “Death Tax.” I’m sure your recent editorials are earning you some colorful correspondence! I just want to express appreciation for the fact that someone in your position in our industry can see past what has become received wisdom and economic orthodoxy.
I most often have to read trade journals with my nose pluggedI need the information. Coming from someone like me, it might not mean much, but I’m just as committed to a healthy insurance business as anybody.
A Massachusetts Democrat