February 16, 2007

Althouse coffeehouse.

Keep the conversation going without me for a while.

112 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I hope you can find some good coffee in New York. Do they have Starbucks there?

hdhouse said...

Morning Ann....am having coffee at this spot in Little Brazil...kinda crumby, high tables with peeling stools, altogether dingy but with coffee that you can taste off your clothes 3 hours later.

Welcome to NYC.

Jimmac said...

So what's the deal on tipping in New York? I'm going there in two weeks with my daughter to look at music schools (I'm looking, she's auditioning). I understand tipping wait staff and cabbies, but how about doormen, bellhops, and others?
Can some one enlighten this simple midwestren boy on the proper protocols and amounts.

Thanks.

Jim

Simon said...

An email from a pal of mine, something to think about over coffee:

A young woman was about to finish her first year of college. Like so many others her age she considered herself to be a very liberal Democrat and was for distribution of all wealth. She felt deeply ashamed that her father was a rather staunch Republican which she expressed openly.

One day she was challenging her father on his beliefs and his opposition to higher taxes on the rich & the addition of more government welfare programs. Based on the lectures that she had participated in and the occasional chat with a professor she felt that for years her father had obviously harbored an evil, even selfish desire to keep what he thought should be his. The self-professed objectivity proclaimed by her professors had to be the truth and she indicated so to her father.

He stopped her and asked her point blank, how she was doing in school. She answered rather haughtily that she had a 4.0 GPA, and let him know that it was tough to maintain. That she studied all the time, never had time to go out and party like other people she knew. She didn't even have time for a boyfriend and didn't really have many college friends because of spending all her time studying. That she was taking a more difficult curriculum.

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your good friend Mary doing?" She replied, "Mary is barely getting by." She continued, "She barely has a 2.0 GPA," adding, "and all she takes are easy classes and she never studies. "But Mary is so very popular on campus, college for her is a blast, she goes to all the parties all the time and very often doesn't even show up for classes because she is too hung over."

Her father then asked his daughter, "Why don't you go to the Dean's office and ask him to deduct a 1.0 off your 4.0 GPA and give it to your friend who only has a 2.0." He continued, "That way you will both have a 3.0 GPA and certainly that would be a fair and equal distribution of GPA.” The daughter visibly shocked by her father's suggestion angrily fired back, “that wouldn't be fair! I worked really hard for mine, I did without and Mary has done little or nothing, she played while I worked real hard!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said, "Welcome to the Republican Party".


Made me think of this!

hdhouse said...

Jim...as a Jilliard grad and Columbia Grad, give me a shout if I can help.

Seriously...20% rule is a good one. Just about anything to doorman, etc. is appreciated .. bellhops by the bag, lump sum to doorman if you frequent the bldg....and particularly them..they are generally a very good sort and if you take a minute to introduce yourself, your daughter, why you are here, etc., they tend to remember that and it makes things go a lot nicer..

In fact thats not a bad thing here in the city...it is a nice lot of people who like to talk and chat if they have time and are, by enlarge, extremely friendly and good sprited.

cabs are an odd lot...just round up..a 3.50 fair is 5. a 725 is 9 type of thing. you can pay the posted fee and thats that because you won't see them again but thats cheap.

lot of places have tips built into the bill so careful there.

wish her well. there is nothing worse than nyc auditions. nothing.

hdhouse said...

ohhh simon..that little homilie is sooooo cute.

what made you think of it is that rush limbaugh used it almost verbatim a while back and no doubt it shot through your tiny brain either by webcast or by some 1460 station on AM.

Honest to god simon sometimes you come up with these things that at best make me crazy and at worst make my head hurt.

What on earth would make you feel that post was appropriate to anything.

MadisonMan said...

Tipping is a very useful way to learn about people you are with. Are they generous to waitstaff? To cabbies? This is something I will tell the daughter to watch.

bill said...

An anticoffee rant from Mark Helprin's Memoir From Antproof Case:

Which is, quite frankly, why she screwed horses

Jimmac said...

House,

Thanks for your post and congratulations on Julliard.


We will be visiting them and Manhattan School of Music. One audition is on Monday, the other five days later on Friday. Neither school would budge, so we decied to make a vacation out of it.

My daughter is auditioning for a spot in the grad school, and is a trumpet performance major. It still fascinates me that a 21 year old who started playing at the age of 9 has about 15 minutes to set up the rest of her life.

Anyway, we 're going to Les Miz, La Traviata, and a staged My Fair Lady at the Ny Phil. This ensures the week will be well spent, regardless of her outcomes.

Thanks again for your helpful post.

Jim

Simon said...

HDhouse - I don't listen to Rush, so I neither know nor care where it came from. It remains true, and frankly, I can't say it much bothers me if something makes your head hurt. It's called "thinking" - try it, you'll like it.

Fen said...

It remains true, and frankly, I can't say it much bothers me if something makes your head hurt

Ha. It resonated with hd, else he would not have responded with a personal attacks. Nicely done.

I do wish we had a few more true liberals on this site. Ann and Madisonman are the only sane ones worth listening to.

MadisonMan said...

If people were able to give parts of their GPA to others less able or willing to work, that would cheapen their own GPA. And if people who hire learned of this practice, who would hire graduates from that University? How would they know what they're really getting?

In contrast, if the government takes some of my money and gives to someone less able or willing to earn it, how does that cheapen my money? I may have less of it, but the value of each dollar hasn't changed.

By the way -- the writing in that anecdote is incredibly stilted, as in no one talks that way.

Theo Boehm said...

Hi Jim,

Best of luck to your daughter!  (Or should I say, "Break a leg?") It's great she's pursuing a musical career.  And yes, auditions can indeed be the Fickle Finger of Fate.

My 10-year-old just started trumpet this year.  His teacher is a very talented young woman who plays with the USAF Band of Liberty here at Hanscom AFB near Boston.  We were very lucky to find her.  My son seems to be a natural for the trumpet.  He could play an F by his third lesson.  He is also a very good singer and has been taking piano since he was 7, so we're hopeful that something like what your daughter is doing will be in his future.

We knew he would be a brass player when he was 3, when he could do sustained (and juicy) elephant sounds by buzzing his lips.  When he could tell us that the Thomas the Tank Engine theme song was in the key of Ab, we knew we had a live one.

Please let us know how your daughter does.

Best,

"Theo"

Simon said...

Fen - I'm not sure that the ones we've got aren't "true" liberals, unless you mean the term in its archaic sense (i.e. "classical liberalism," Cato Institute stuff). This is just how they are.

peter hoh said...

I'm a tea drinker, myself. South Indian style. Made with milk and lots of sugar. The trick is to heat it all together. As for ginger and cardamom and other such abominations favored by the chai sipping crowd, I'll have none of it, thank you.

I was toying with the idea of feigning ADS in the comment threads. I took a stab at it in a thread about Survivor and in the thread about the Jersey bear, but found it hard to maintain in the face of earnest and repeated demonstrations of ADS.

The "Airborne" thread yesterday -- the part that wasn't about jumping out of a plane -- wow. I can't top a parody like that. And if it was not a parody, well, what's the point of trying?

Simon said...

peter hoh said...
"I'm a tea drinker, myself. South Indian style. Made with milk and lots of sugar. The trick is to heat it all together. As for ginger and cardamom and other such abominations favored by the chai sipping crowd, I'll have none of it, thank you."

Milk no sugar for me. And hold the milk until the tea's steeped.

Katie said...

So, who here will be at the NYC "meet-up" ? I'm not an all-star commentor, but I am a daily reader and am looking forward to Saturday.

Beth said...

Simon, that sounds like a respund "goofus and gallant" story from the old Highlights magazine. Madisonman very nicely shoots it down; thanks MM. Didn't even get a headache thinking that through, did ya?

rsb said...

Goofus & Gallant
First appearing in Highlights in 1948, Goofus & Gallant is a regular cartoon feature drawn by Anni Matsick depicting the difference between "good" and "bad" behavior. The strip features two contrasting boys, Goofus and Gallant. In each cartoon, it is shown how each boy would respond to the same situation. Goofus inevitably chooses a selfish or irresponsible response, while Gallant always responds with kindness and generosity. Goofus and Gallant's primary function is to teach children basic social skills. (In an episode of Beavis and Butt-head entitled "Patients, Patients," Beavis is shown reading an issue of Highlights, remarking that "Goofus is cool.")

MadisonMan said...

I used to read Goofus and Gallant all the time in Highlights at the Pediatrician's office. That and the find the things that are different between the two images were the highlights of that magazine.

I identified with Gallant. My best friend was more the Goofus type.

Freder Frederson said...

Her father listened and then asked, "How is your good friend Mary doing?" She replied, "Mary is barely getting by." She continued, "She barely has a 2.0 GPA," adding, "and all she takes are easy classes and she never studies. "

Well, let's change up Mary's situation a bit to make it fair.

Oh, you mean our maid's daughter Mary? Unlike me, she wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She didn't go to the best private prep schools and have the best tutors. Plus she has doesn't have a rich daddy paying her tuition. So she is working practically full time as a waitress while she goes to school. She is struggling to maintain a 3.0 GPA in pre-med. She hopes she can get a scholarship to med school. All she does is work and study. Meanwhile I'm getting a 4.0 in Political Science because I don't have to work and can devote all my time to studying. And even if my grades slip I know your connections will get me into a top-notch law school and a Wall Street Firm.

Those are the "Marys" true liberals care about. Not the partying children of the idle rich.

Fen said...

Those are the "Marys" true liberals care about. Not the partying children of the idle rich.

Said Freder as he pulled away in his Liberal Limousine...

BTW, the reason your "Mary" didn't get a full scholarship to Univ Michigan is because of her race - she's not black.

Fritz said...

Madison Man,
You have perfectly illustrated why you are a liberal. The grades and money are the same. When money is taken from the high GDP producer and given to the low GDP producer, the value of the money has been cheapened. The multiplier effect of good money going after bad lessens the value to the economy. 25 years of economic growth proves that low marginal tax rates increases potential GDP and increases wealth. Welfare reform has also lowered poverty, those that were not willing to work and gain "work experience," also a material benefit, did so and when the economy slowed they weren't last hired, first fired; a phenomena that existed the 2 previous economic slowdowns. Both grades and income must be earned to produce the behavior that maximizes both.

Freder Frederson said...

Said Freder as he pulled away in his Liberal Limousine...

You don't know anything about my background or family.

Freder Frederson said...

Both grades and income must be earned to produce the behavior that maximizes both.

So then why are Republicans so adamantly opposed to the inheritance tax? If what you are saying is true, inherited wealth must be the greatest evil at all because it requires absolutely no work at all; just the sheer good fortune of having a relative who worked hard and earned a lot of money.

Fen said...

Don't need to. Your words reveal the hypocrisy.

Fen said...

"So then why are Republicans so adamantly opposed to the inheritance tax?"

1) Because that money has already been taxed once

2) Because it prevents the middle-class from passing their business on to their children.

Its not just the "rich" that are penalized. We have a cotton/cattle farm just outside of Houston, passed down from our grandfathers. We may not be able to keep it because we'd have to sell it off to cover the Death Tax.

Anual Income: 130k between both spouses.

Freder Frederson said...

Your words reveal the hypocrisy.

All liberals are rich hypocrites. Therefore I must be rich. Your logic is unassailable. You got me.

Now if you'll forgive me. I must dine at the club and then take the Yacht out for a spin.

Anthony said...

Yay for tea drinkers. Actually, I don't mind coffee, I'd love to drink it occasionally, but I'm way to sensitive to the caffeine. So I guzzle iced tea first thing in the morning (pre-workout) and hot decaf tea mid-morning. On the 8th day God created Luzianne cloud-free iced tea. Yum.

Hazy Dave said...

Ooh, this coffee's [i]bitter[/i].

Fritz said...

Freder,
I agree with your inheritance example. The high GDP producer's property will likely be redistributed and consumed. The reason estate taxes are bad, the high GDP producer will structure his/her investments to avoid that tax, thus lower potential GDP. Also, the tax interferes with the investment strategy by changing the capital structure of the investment. I have no objection that estate taxes be taxed when the property is consumed by beneficiaries.

Fen said...

"Mary" is a beneficiary. Her father has worked his tail off his entire life to own and run his hardware store. Mary could take it over and continue this wealth creation for her kids, maybe even pull her family into the upper-middle class and invest in college tuition funds so her kids could go to med school.

Instead, she has to sell the family business to settle the taxes. All that investment is squandered and redistributed amoung people with bad spending habits. Instead of beng a bussiness owner, creating capital and jobs, Mary is forced to take a job at Kinko's. And her kids are dependent on your good will. Perhaps thats how democracts & socialists are made?

Fen said...

All liberals are rich hypocrites. Therefore I must be rich. Your logic is unassailable. You got me

Nah, I never said "all liberals are rich hypocrites". Don't preach about "logic" while abusing strawmen.

MadisonMan said...

Re: The Estate Tax:

1) Because that money has already been taxed once

I have never understood this argument for some things. My Mom inherited some stock from her Mom. She's done nothing but hold on to it for the past 30+ years, and it has greatly increased in value through splits and mergers to about $500K. If I inherit this, why shouldn't I pay tax on the gain?

Too Many Jims said...

Simon said . . . It remains true.

Really? What Republican party have you been watching for the last 6 years?

If the vignette were to reflect the reality of the current Republican party the last paragraph should read something like this:

Mary you're right, you shouldn't have to sacrifice anything but I would like to reorganize the distribution of the GPA on the campus. So here is what we are going to do. You know that Chinese kid who has a 4.0 in mechanical engineering and is going back to China to work in manufacturing? Well we will pay him for 1.0 of his GPA. Don't worry we'll put it on our tab and your kids will pay for it later.

Once we have that point here is how we will divide it. First I need you to give 0.2 to Billy. Billy's dad is a farmer and we have to keep them happy. Sure his dad made $200,000 each of the last five years and is covered by government subsidized insurance but he swears he'll vote for Dems if we stop paying him.

Then I need you to give 0.2 to Teddy. He is from Alaska and really wants to build this extravagant bridge to serve about 35 people (apparently he is jealous of the gold plated roads that Bobby arranged for his state).

Then I need you to give 0.4 to that senior citizen who is in your class. Sure she is still sharp as a tack and is able to get good grades on her own but I just want to make her a little extra happy.

And while we are keeping the seniors happy, lets' just give 0.4 to Merky and Fitzy. I'll just twist some guy's arm at 3 in the morning to make it happen.

Finally, we really need to give 0.5 to Suzy. Her GPA took a hit in the Biology class. You remember when she was asked to describe Darwin's theory of evolution and she responded: "It's a load of crap." It is just a classic instance of liberal professors imposing their world view on us good conservatives.

Ok, so that's it.

What do you mean it doesn't add up to 1.0? Geez, who cares, deficits don't matter. Plus the Dean and I are in the same party he won't check it anyhow.

Freder Frederson said...

1) Because that money has already been taxed once

No it hasn't. Most inherited wealth is never taxed. When wealth is inherited the basis for tax purposes is the basis at the time of death of the grantor. That means all the appreciation on the asset earned during the deceased's lifetime is never taxed. E.g., your parents bought stocks in 1950 worth $10,000. When they died the stocks were worth $1 million. They would have never paid a penny in taxes on the appreciation in the value of the stocks. If you sold the stocks after their death for $1.2 million, you would only have to pay capital gains on $200 K (the value of the stocks minus the value at the time their death) not on the difference when they were originally purchased.

We may not be able to keep it because we'd have to sell it off to cover the Death Tax.

The examples of family farms being sold off to pay the Inheritance taxes are overstated. In your case it may be true only because the land has become so valuable for non-farming purposes. Even if old limits went back into effect (and I see no reasons the limits shouldn't be raised) the value of the farm would have to exceed $2.8 million (if it is an actual working farm) before the estate tax would kick in. And of course the tax is only on the amount in excess of that amount, the first $2.8 million is completely untaxed.

Regardless, Fritz's contention was that "grades and income must be earned to produce the behavior that maximizes both". I was merely pointing out that if he truly believed this he shouldn't have any problem with the estate tax as inherited wealth requires no work on the part of the people who receive it (other than not pissing off their rich relatives).

Freder Frederson said...

"Mary" is a beneficiary. Her father has worked his tail off his entire life to own and run his hardware store

Well no, remember Mary is the party girl in original story. The more likely story is Mary will skate through college and still go work for Daddy where she will prove to be incompetent. But Daddy out of loyalty, and because his little girl can do no wrong, will still make his daughter president of the company when he retires. She will promptly drive it into ground. Daddy will be forced to come out of retirement to save the company and Mary will enter rehab.

This happens in a lot of companies. Look at the Walgreen family in Chicago (luckily Charles Walgreen had competent children so the druggie daughter never was able to screw up the company), the Smiths in Atlanta (Rankin Smith sidelined both his no-account sons into running the Falcons), the company I first worked for when I left college, my best friend's wife's family (her brother), the Bush's (can you say Neil and George).

Fen said...

Its worth 2.5 mil. We would have to pay 225k in taxes as a penalty for inheriting it from my parents; ergo, at best we would have to sell off portions of it and release employees.

http://www.mbscott.com/estax.htm

BJK said...

No it hasn't. Most inherited wealth is never taxed. When wealth is inherited the basis for tax purposes is the basis at the time of death of the grantor. That means all the appreciation on the asset earned during the deceased's lifetime is never taxed. E.g., your parents bought stocks in 1950 worth $10,000. When they died the stocks were worth $1 million. They would have never paid a penny in taxes on the appreciation in the value of the stocks.

So, tell me: what did they use to buy this $10,000 stock?

...certainly hope it wasn't post-tax income...

Freder Frederson said...

Its worth 2.5 mil. We would have to pay 225k in taxes as a penalty for inheriting it from my parents; ergo, at best we would have to sell off portions of it and release employees.

There's an additional $820,000 exemption for farms. So you would be in the clear. And like I said, I think the current exemption rate is too low and should be raised. I don't think anyone in Congress or even the most raging liberal would object to the exemption being raised to $5 million or so.

Freder Frederson said...

So, tell me: what did they use to buy this $10,000 stock?

You pay tax on the gain--the difference between what you paid for the stock and what you sold it for. If you never sell it and will it someone at your death, no tax is paid on the appreciation during your lifetime. So what's your point?

Fen said...

Well, to be fair, since Congress raised the exemption rate, I feel the death tax has less of a detrimental affect on the middle-class and small business owners. So I guess what I'm arguing against is the repeal of those exemptions.

Freder Frederson said...

fen, here's the cite for the family farm reduction to the estate tax.

Fritz said...

Madison Man,
The Kennedy kids auctioned off their parents memorabilia to pay estate taxes. Joe Robys family had to sell the Miami Dolphins and stadium to pay estate taxes. I have no problem with you inheriting your mothers stock and not paying taxes until you sell said stock. That is the tax structure Republicans offered. A decent exemption and a capital gains tax when the property inherited is sold.

Henry said...

If you never sell it and will it someone at your death, no tax is paid on the appreciation during your lifetime.

So death = cashing in.

* * *

This is all rather academic, of course. If there were no inheritance taxes, an inheritee would still pay taxes on capital gains, eventually.

hdhouse said...

Hey Fen...how about a little ESTATE PLANNING>>>>>>

If you pay taxes on an that farm passing to you it would mean to me that you don't want to cough up a few thousand to plan appropriately.

Why should we bail you out for being stupid.

Fen said...

hd: Hey Fen...how about a little ESTATE PLANNING>>>>>> If you pay taxes on an that farm passing to you it would mean to me that you don't want to cough up a few thousand to plan appropriately. Why should we bail you out for being stupid.

225k is more than the value of our house. Hardly a "few thousand". But thanks for the input in how MY assets should be used to fund parasites like you...

And Freder, thank you for the link.

BJK said...

freder, here's my point.

Fen's first point as to why Republicans dislike the death tax:

"1) Because that money has already been taxed once"

I quoted your response indicating that the money had never been taxed. That quote included the $10,000 stock that appreciated to one-hundred times its initial value.*

(*-Results not typical, contact a licensed professional or Hillary Clinton's Cattle Futures before investing.)

What you fail to take into account is that the parents had to do something to have that $10,000 disposable income to purchase the investment. In other words, they had to have a source of income: taxable income. The money had been taxed.

(Even if they had received the $ from another dead relative, and so forth, at one point, the money was earned and taxed as earned.)


Adding to the discussion, I'll put forth 2 reasons of my own why Republicans disapprove of the Death tax (or any tax for that matter):

- The money doesn't belong to the government.

- There are few avenues of spending in which the government is more efficient and effective in resource allocation than the privat sector.

hdhouse said...

JimMac

Gould is a wonderful player and teacher. I wish her luck and agree that 15 minutes of terror shouldn't make a career but that is the price paid in the brass section (trumpet player as well here before conductor).

There is an old story about Herseth at the Chicago Sym for his audition 50-60 years ago. Fritz Reiner was conducting and they were playing Zarathustra - your daughter will know the trumpet calls about 2/3rds of the way through...Herseth plays...perfect. Reiner stops...asks him to play it again. he does. perfect. stops. asks him to play it again...this goes on and on and on...Herseth says to Reiner "you might as well dismiss the orchestra. i'll play this for you all day long and I ain't gonna miss".

Wish her luck. Super school Great faculty and inspiring ensembles.

Simon said...

Fen said...
"[Why are Republicans so adamantly opposed to the inheritance tax?]

1) Because that money has already been taxed once,

2) Because it prevents the middle-class from passing their business on to their children.
"

...(3), Because the alternative is, once again, government telling people what they can and can't do with their money, with no morally justifiable reason. "We're going to take things away from you for the common good." It's very easy to be for (or against) something if you don't think about the consequences of implementing your preferred policy.

chuckR said...

I'm already bored with the inheritance tax issue. Let's push the AMT button next. The Online WSJ has an article (subscription, I think) about how AMT hits the middle class. What is most interesting to me is a graphic that shows a truly incredible family penalty of the AMT. Assumptions are standard deduction and child tax credit are the only ones claimed. DINKs get hit at $75K, but a couple with 5 kids gets hit at $52K.

Too Many Jims said...

"It's very easy to be for (or against) something if you don't think about the consequences of implementing your preferred policy."

Thank you for summarizing my problem with Republicans so well.

Elizabeth said...

"BTW, the reason your "Mary" didn't get a full scholarship to Univ Michigan is because of her race - she's not black."

That's a silly old canard. It would be true only if "Mary" was applying for one of the 4 percent of scholarships in the U.S. that take race into account at all, or from that group, for one of the .25 percent that base their choice exclusively on race. That's according to a 1994 GAO study; I suppose something's changed in 13 years, but I doubt any change is large enough to matter.

Simon said...

chuckR said...
"I'm already bored with the inheritance tax issue."

It's been my observation that when people say they're bored with a given issue, it usually means that they'd like everyone to stop fighting about it and for the issue to disappear the issue having been resolved in the way that they would prefer. Obama does the same thing about abortion - he wants the issue to go away, which is another way of saying he wants people who disagree with him on the subject to stop fighting. I'm "bored" by the intractable bloodletting in Israel, but just being "bored" doesn't make the issue go away -- and because the issue won't just disappear on its own, that means that the issue has to be settled somehow, and on balance, I'd rather it be settled in an equitable way, and by an equitable way, I mean something that I'd recognize as equitable, which means that my being bored by the issue actually reflects not so much boredom as a frustration at my inability to impose my own view on the situation. Which is more or less how I think most people use the term.

Fen said...

I convoluted it - Mary didn't get the scholarship because she wasn't accepted to Univ Michigan. They have a history of passing over qualified applicants that aren't black. That was my point.

Elizabeth said...

Fen, that means you don't have a point. The story has two girls at a college together. What does it matter if it's U Mich or somewhere else? You tried to play the race card and instead played a John Kerry moment--"wait, what I meant was..." My point is the analogy between GPA and taxes is flawed, simplistic, and silly.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Interesting comment on the estate planning issue- how all it takes is being able to play the tax loopholes to avoid paying the tax, right?

Isn't that what estate planning is all about?

At one time I worked for the IRS and in one day handled two seperate estate tax returns.

one was an estate of $3 million (paid a tax of $300,000 or so); teh other was an estate of $80 million (paid a tax of $25,000 or so). Estate planning pays.

hdhouse said...

and this entire thing is a hoax... a mythical 2.5 million farm...just like the examples cite...interesting. yet there are only a FEW of these sitting around each year that actually are affected by the tax...JUST A FEW.

Are we to assume:

1. Fen is makin' it up ( i mean - what are the odds of this? a zillion to 1 that Fen pops up here with a cotton patch? give me a break)
2. One of the foolish few who doesn't plan?
3. All of the above

All we know for sure is that he has a hypothetical 2.5 million and none of it is liquid and there has been no planning.

Gotta love this guy.

hdhouse said...

and this entire thing is a hoax... a mythical 2.5 million farm...just like the examples cite...interesting. yet there are only a FEW of these sitting around each year that actually are affected by the tax...JUST A FEW.

Are we to assume:

1. Fen is makin' it up ( i mean - what are the odds of this? a zillion to 1 that Fen pops up here with a cotton patch? give me a break)
2. One of the foolish few who doesn't plan?
3. All of the above

All we know for sure is that he has a hypothetical 2.5 million and none of it is liquid and there has been no planning.

Gotta love this guy.

Fen said...

You tried to play the race card and instead played a John Kerry moment

No. I'm pointing to the same flawed mindsets that support redistribution cons like affirmative action/death taxes. Hard-working successful people are punished to redistribute assets/opportunity to those less qualified.

Mary's father worked his tail off so he could pass a prosperous business down to his children. You would force her to liquidate it in the name of social equality.

Mary herself has worked her tail off so she could attend a decent college. You would force her to attend a lower-tier school in the name of racial equality. She doesn't get into the school of her choice because she's the "wrong" race.

I'm reminded of the Soviet farmers who had the determination to hang lanterns on their harvesters so they could work the fields though the night. 5% of the farmland accounting for 90% of the output. They were rewarded by having their excess redistributed without compensation.

Estate planning pays

Sure, but how many have money & access for lawyers and accountants? We're politically connected and networked into a good law firm, so we'll evade the death tax. But what about others? Why not simplfy the tax code, dump the excess along with all the lawyers and accountants, make it simple for the average family?

chuckR said...

Simon

Clarification - I'm bored with the comments on inheritance tax here because they cover no new ground. The AMT tax trigger based on family size was new, to me, at least.

I am successor trustee on my parents living trust - not really necessary post Bush measures, but possibly again if those are rolled back or lapse. Definitely neccesary to have on the state level in the state where my mother lives. The document establishing their trust is 100+ bewildering pages. A just estate tax would not allow an $80MM estate to escape essentially tax free (ie, stepped up basis of stock holdings)nor would it impose confiscatory mariginal tax rates.

Paul Zrimsek said...

I thought the basis step-up was going away at the same time the estate tax goes away. Not so?

Revenant said...

It would be true only if "Mary" was applying for one of the 4 percent of scholarships in the U.S. that take race into account at all, or from that group, for one of the .25 percent that base their choice exclusively on race.

Do you have a link to the source of the 4% and 0.25% figures?

Also, are you accounting for the fact that scholarships awarded by universities are typically awarded as part of the admissions process, which almost always accounts for race? Or did you just mean that after universities are done using race to exclude people from admissions, they only use race to *further* exclude people from scholarships in 4% of the cases?

chuckR said...

Paul

Its my understanding that 'step up basis goes away' is a Limited Time Offer!!! Die in 2010 only! Who knows what 2011 will bring.

The only sure thing is that someone will put a fix in to fix the fix that was already in... and it will fix nothing.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

Fen, my point was just that; IF you are politically connected, and IF you have the savvy and experience, then the loopholes are made for you.

If not, tough luck.

I remember reading a Walter Williams column a few years ago where he talked ablout special bills in the House that were usually attached as riders that would allow "any one who died testate on June 14, 2000 in Houston Texas to be exempt from estate tax" or some such language.

Basically the law would apply to ANYONE fitting this criteria, yet I imagine only the individuals who it was SUPPOSED to apply to knew of its existance.

Mike said...

"I thought the basis step-up was going away at the same time the estate tax goes away."

So did I. And it is the more equitable way to do things. You don't reap any benefit from receiving the asset from your antecedent. Only when you choose to sell it do you profit, so that's when you should pay the tax.

chuckr: That's true of the whole package.

Fen said...

Interesting comment on the estate planning issue- how all it takes is being able to play the tax loopholes to avoid paying the tax, right? Isn't that what estate planning is all about?

Exactly. Its counter-intuitive to aruge that the tax code is fair but then encourage methods to sidestep it. As usual, super-rich peeps like Hillary and Pelosi will have the resources to dodge the codes they would impose on the rest of us.

Fen, my point was just that; IF you are politically connected, and IF you have the savvy and experience, then the loopholes are made for you

Yah, my bad. I misread you and kneejerked. Sorry

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul Zrimsek said...

Its my understanding that 'step up basis goes away' is a Limited Time Offer!!!

Mine too; but my understanding is also that this is the case only because the elimination of the step-up is bundled with the repeal of the estate tax, which is itself a Limited Time Offer. You seem to be concerned that the step-up will come back while the tax stays repealed, and I suppose it could-- but as far as I know no one has yet introduced legislation doing that.

Me, I'd be content to see all (and I do mean all) inherited wealth taxed as capital gains with a zero basis, and the money used to reduce some other, more harmful tax.

sonicfrog said...

Spice Girls Untie!!!

Oh, and the local Air America affiliate is going Bye Bye. I'm not a fan of the style of most of the on-air... er... talent, as they seem to co-opt the worst techniques used by Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and simply insert lefty propaganda in place of that spewed by the right. Randi Rhoads is nothing if not the left wing equivalent of Michael Savage!!! But I did appreciate hearing the left POV, when it was presented in a coherent and rational manner, and I give credit to Ed Schultz and Al Franken for those rare moments. Unfortunately, that didn't happen most of the time. Instead, most of the hosts went on and on about dumb and psychopath Bush, or the "Shooter" (Cheney), or druggie Limbaugh. And it didn't take long to hear someone making fun of the Mormon religion once Romney stepped into the race.

chuckR said...

Paul

Estate tax goes away but step up basis comes back - I hadn't even thought of that wrinkle. Pegging revenues from estates and inheritances to realized cap gains ought to help incent the lawmakers to keep those rates low in order to maximize overall revenue.

peter hoh said...

I'm not a tax wonk by any stretch of the imagination, but let me propose a deal: no farm subsidies, and then you can pass your farm property on to your kids with no inheritance tax.

MadisonMan said...

peter, it's my understanding that the majority of farm subsidies go to large corporations that own megafarms. They don't go to Mom and Pop organizations. I agree wholeheartedly that large corporations should not get farm subsidies.

Full disclosure: My in-laws own a farm.

XWL said...

Sorry to break up "Tax Chat at Althouse", but this seems like it's meant to be an 'open thread' and there are somethings more important than taxes.

And of course, when I say important things, I mean old guys in shorts.

(at least my comment has an NYC connection)

Fen said...

Old men in shorts... justification for a Sin Tax...

Theo Boehm said...

hdhouse: To change the subject very briefly from taxes and men in shorts back to music. I had no idea you were a musician, as you indicated above. Your profile lists advertising as your profession. And while you have good taste in music, that alone didn't tell us you were a performer.

You were a trumpet player? A conductor? Anything you would like to share would be appreciated by me, at least.

I made a living playing the flute for about 6 years before I finally got into making them, which was my goal all along. Performance is a tough existence, and I never even considered it as a career. Things just worked out that way for a while.

I'm curious how you got into advertising from music? Again, anything you would care to share would be fascinating. But if don't want to say anything about it, that's fine. I certainly respect and understand the need for privacy.

chuckR said...

'Old men in shorts... justification for a Sin Tax...'

Naah, just tax ear hair.

Freder Frederson said...

Mary's father worked his tail off so he could pass a prosperous business down to his children. You would force her to liquidate it in the name of social equality.

Mary herself has worked her tail off so she could attend a decent college. You would force her to attend a lower-tier school in the name of racial equality. She doesn't get into the school of her choice because she's the "wrong" race.

Mary is the party girl in the story. She is the one with the 2.0 who is partying every night and skipping class. Our hardworking 4.0 student isn't given a name. But assuming she is who you are referring to her, you are making a lot of assumptions. How do you know her or her father have worked their tail off? Maybe they come from old money and neither of them have worked a day in their life, they are just living off money her father's grandparents made, or her late mother (who conveniently died from a fall shortly after taking out a rather large life insurance policy). Or maybe they are trailer trash who won big in the lottery (her father's ridiculous comparison of taxes to grades and her inability to counter his silly argument certainly indicates neither of them are the brightest bulbs in the box). Perhaps she is a legacy admission to her chosen university and has found the easiest major possible. It doesn't even say she is at a "decent university". She might be finishing up her first year at the local junior college where she is majoring in feminist studies.

Freder Frederson said...

I thought the basis step-up was going away at the same time the estate tax goes away.

So by eliminating the estate tax, which primarily benefits the rich, the middle class and anyone who even inherits a modest estate (say their parent's house, which under the old system they would get practically tax-free) are going to get screwed.

How nice.

Janet Rae Montgomery said...

Freder Frederson:
Sorry -- and my apologies to the people bored with estate taxes, but it is what I do for a living -- there is NOT an additional exemption for a family farm. The estate tax exemption (known now as the applicable exclusion amount, kinda rolls off the tongue) is $2 million. This means EACH of richdad and richmom can give $2 million to beneficiaries without estate tax (if the plan is correctly structured). The additional farm benefit you described is not an additional exemption, it is an election that can be made to reduce the value of the farm by up to $820,000 by having a qualified family member agree to keep using it as a farm for a 10 year period following the date of inheritance. This is the 2032A election. It is difficult to qualify for this election and if a sale takes place or the "qualified use" of the farm ceases during those 10 years, there is an immediate tax with interest. Illinois is one of the states with the largest number of family farms electing into this treatment. Based on historic investigation only about 60 family farms or ranches "had" to be sold to pay estate tax. There is almost always another way (mortgage, special use election, selling off parts). The capital- gains-in-lieu-of-estate-tax regime is not supposed to go into effect unless estate tax repeal is made permanent, which at the present time has not occurred. P.S. This is not legal advice, you cannot rely on it, you are not my client, and I am not your lawyer.

Peter Palladas said...

I worked really hard for mine, I did without and Mary has done little or nothing, she played while I worked real hard!"

The father slowly smiled, winked and said, "Welcome to the Republican Party".


Whereas the Son said: "Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her"

Welcome to the Jesus Party.

Freder Frederson said...

This is not legal advice, you cannot rely on it, you are not my client, and I am not your lawyer.

Well thanks for not clearing that up ;)

Fen said...

But assuming she is who you are referring to her

I chose "Mary" and twisted the story around. She's a fictional character.

you are making a lot of assumptions. How do you know her or her father have worked their tail off?

Because my version of "Mary" and her father is my creation. Its a hypothetical meant to represent those Americans who are either 1) denied admission based on their race, or 2) forced to liquidate the family business to settle estate taxes.

Sorry. I guess I should have borrowed a name other than Mary.

Too Many Jims said...

"Why not simplfy the tax code, dump the excess along with all the lawyers and accountants, make it simple for the average family?"

The average family does not have to deal with the estate tax.

Freder Frederson said...

Welcome to the Jesus Party.

Actually if it was the Jesus Party, the rich father would welcome his wayward partying daughter home (Mary now is a ne'er do well daughter, not just Miss 4.0 goody two-shoe's friend), cash in some of the good daughter's bonds (because Mary had already burned through her entire inheritance) and throw Mary a huge party. The good daughter would get all pissed off because she always did what she was supposed to and worked hard and now this partying drunk came home and she was getting all the love and attention. Dad of course would point out that Mary had come home and that was reason to celebrate because forgiveness and regaining lost love was more important.

chuckR said...

Peter P.

So do you think Freder is a son of Martha?

vbspurs said...

I do wish we had a few more true liberals on this site. Ann and Madisonman are the only sane ones worth listening to.

Fen, you didn't mean to, I'm sure, but you can't ignore the contributions of Eliza(beth) in NOLA, and Eli Blake.

They're front-and-centre reasons why this blog hums with both sides of the tale.

Cheers,
Victoria

Peter Palladas said...

Actually if it was the Jesus Party, the rich father...

Who'd be a parent eh? Whatever you do you don't win.

vbspurs said...

The "Airborne" thread yesterday -- the part that wasn't about jumping out of a plane -- wow. I can't top a parody like that. And if it was not a parody, well, what's the point of trying?

I've been out of the Althouse loop these past two days, concentrating on my blog for a change.

I'm sorry I missed that.

Who was thrown airborne, and where I can I send the widow my condolences?

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...


And of course, when I say important things, I mean old guys in shorts.


That was frightful, XWL.

It's a shame he didn't have his shorts for this official portrait.

Cheers,
Victoria

Beth said...

Revenant, you can go to books.google.com and search for ""Higher Education: Information on Minority-Targeted Scholarships" United States General Accounting Office" and read the whole report. It was published in January, 1994.

Beth said...

Thanks, Victoria. We're doing our part to keep things humming.

Freder Frederson said...

So do you think Freder is a son of Martha?

Actually, Freder is the son of Hel and Joh.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Victoria: I'm sorry I missed that.

You were the third commenter in that Airborne thread.

Revenant said...

Revenant, you can go to books.google.com and search for ""Higher Education: Information on Minority-Targeted Scholarships" United States General Accounting Office" and read the whole report.

According to the information in that report, your claim that "only 4% of scholarships take race into account at all" is completely wrong.

According to that report, five percent of scholarships have race as a *requirement*. The error you made is that only five percent of those have race as the *only* requirement. A scholarship that, for example, awards scholarships by rating students according to a system that awards bonus points for being black or Hispanic -- as the University of California system used to -- is a scholarship that takes race into account, even though it is not one of the "Minority-Targeted Scholarships" covered in that report.

A student denied a scholarship because other kids get racial bonus points that put them ahead of him in the applicant pool is a student that was denied a scholarship because of his race -- even though, in theory, the scholarship was available to people of his race, too.

sonicfrog said...

The Insurgent Squirrels are back!!!

hdhouse said...

i take offense victoria. no liberal list is complete without moi...

i'm so hurt.

vbspurs said...

The Insurgent Squirrels are back!!!

LOL! Thanks for that SNL segment, Sonicfrog; not only did I miss it on TV, but despite the fact that I live down here, I hadn't heard that Vick was nabbed at MIA. ;)

Ruth Anne: I know, but what I meant was I didn't follow the comments thereafter. I'll check it out!

God forbid I miss anything really important, like squirrels.

Cheers,
Victoria

chuck b. said...

File under: Core Althouse Material.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MmoJ5Vuf0E

Gahrie said...

So far everyone has overlooked one of the reasons the Left is so enamored of the inheritance tax: It is one more attack on families in favor of big government.

hdhouse said...

Gahrie....

"one more attack"...Just EXACTLY how many families does this "attack"? Come on. Give it a shot. a million? 10 million? 100,000? a few thousand? a few hundred?

The dishonesty of the right wing is to make salt licks out of spilt salt. You do it on partial birth abortions - as if there is an epidemic of the procedure - and you do it here.

Then you make a typical snarky/victoriaesque remark in the "all Englishmen eat Irish babies" ilk and frankly you cross from "has a point" over to "what an ass".
I admire your adherence to some principle but abhor your sense of the dramatic overstatement.

Beth said...

Revenant, the scenario you describe doesn't change things significantly. Scholarships target all sorts of students; not all students are eligible for all scholarships. Would-be college students have a wealth of options for where to attend and how to finance their education. Not getting in the first-choice school with the best possible scholarship isn't a death blow to one's future.

Race is a small, small factor, and even with scholarships that award "points" as you mention, those points are only part of the package. Other points could trump race. If you're arguing that white students are suffering a dearth of scholarships because a small percentage include race as a points factor, you're wildly overstating the case. There aren't any luckier, more advantaged people on the planet than white people in America, and white college students are at the top of that iceberg.

Gahrie said...

hdhouse:

It's not the numbers of families, it's the institution of family. The inheritance tax is just one more way of taking resources and power from the family and transferring it to the state.

The Left has spent the last 40 years destroying the institution of the family. There has been a clear agenda of replacing parents and families with government employees and government subsidies.

This allows the state to control an ever increasing amount of our lives and our money. A government whose bureaucracies are openly dominated by the Left, and leftist ideology.

Revenant said...

Not getting in the first-choice school with the best possible scholarship isn't a death blow to one's future.

Your argument is, although I doubt you realize it, an argument against having affirmative action programs and MTSs at all. Let the would-be beneficiaries go to the inferior schools on the inferior scholarships that they actually qualify for. As you observed, it "isn't a death blow to their future".

Anyway, you're overlooking the fact that by forcing people of the "wrong" races to settle for slightly inferior schools than they could otherwise have qualified for, and slightly inferior scholarships than they could otherwise have gotten, you force the borderline cases out of the market altogether. The A-list student has to settle for a B-list school, bumping the B-list student who would have gotten in, causing him to go to a C-list school, where he bumps a C-list student... and so on down the line, until you get the the margin cases who barely qualify or can barely afford it, who then don't get to go to college at all. Admissions is a zero-sum game. There are not an infinite number of college slots available. When you let one unqualified person into college, somebody out there somewhere doesn't get a college education at all.

Other points could trump race.

You're pretending that it doesn't matter if the points are given because other things could hypothetically make up for it. Fine, then -- let's get rid of the racial bonus entirely. Other points "could" make up the difference, right?

a small percentage include race as a points factor

So you keep claiming, and I'm still waiting for supporting evidence. We have established, thanks to the document you cited, that 5% of scholarships forbid people of the "wrong" race from receiving them. What portion of the remaining 95% take *some* account of race has thus far not been established. I know that 100% of the scholarships my university awarded took it into account.

If you're arguing that white students are suffering a dearth of scholarships because a small percentage include race as a points factor, you're wildly overstating the case.

That some white (and Asian) students are unable to attend college as a result of affirmative action policies is a simple fact. Observing it is not "overstating" anything.

There aren't any luckier, more advantaged people on the planet than white people in America, and white college students are at the top of that iceberg.

The white race isn't applying to college. Individual white students are. Maybe in your leftist fantasy world all white kids are well-to-do and advantaged, but meanwhile back in reality there are plenty of white kids who are *anything* but advantaged. You're screwing some of *those* kids out of a college education just because of their race. And much as I enjoy watching people explain why denying people an education on the grounds of their race isn't racist, the fact remains that it is.

Freder Frederson said...

The white race isn't applying to college. Individual white students are. Maybe in your leftist fantasy world all white kids are well-to-do and advantaged, but meanwhile back in reality there are plenty of white kids who are *anything* but advantaged.

Well, when the Yales and Harvards of the world eliminate legacy admissions and use those slots to admit the most qualified applicants, regardless of race, then I will be convinced that we are really concerned about getting the most qualified students into the best schools.

chuckR said...

Freder

Legacy admits won't go away. In the near future, you'll see legacy admits of minority alum's kids. Alum donations are an important funding source for colleges and legacies are a part of that. No school is likely to risk a decrease in alum donations by repudiating legacies. The few that have reached financial escape velocity - Princeton, Harvard, Yale - still want alum money.
And who determines the most qualified candidates? Popular/selective schools have several fully qualified applicants for each available slot. If Brown U, where I got my degrees, selected - and then discarded - a full set of admissions offers, and then did it again twice over, the next group of admit offers would go to fully qualified individuals.

Fen said...

There aren't any luckier, more advantaged people on the planet than white people in America, and white college students are at the top of that iceberg

Ah yes, racial discrimination justified by ignorant stereotypes.

The more things change...

Fen said...

hdhouse: Just EXACTLY how many families does this "attack"?... make salt licks out of spilt salt... You do it on partial birth abortions

So a little racism is okay? A little murder is acceptable? Are you saying that injusice doesn't show up on your radar until it reaches a specfic volume?

Beth said...

Revenant, please. Get a grip.

You must have no clue as to how many colleges and universities there are in the U.S.; post-WWII higher education became big, big business. There's a community college or state university within driving distance of most people in the U.S. There are slots for anyone who wants to attend college--they may have to travel a bit, and they -- black and white alike -- might not get the exact financial aid package they hope for or admitted to the one school at the top of their list, but no one's being kept out entirely because of a lack of enrollment space in the entire frigging U.S.! There are hundreds of good state colleges and many of them are operating under their maximum enrollment.

that 5% of scholarships forbid people of the "wrong" race from receiving them

No, we've established that 5% include race as a factor. Again, that factor could be overridden by other factors considered by scholarships in that 5%. Only .25 percent include race as a requirement. You keep misreading those figures.

People and institutions who give out scholarships attach all sorts of points and requirements, including region, age, interests and abilities, intent to major in a particular course of study. And states and the feds provide grants based on need, and there are always federal loans at low interest.

That some white (and Asian) students are unable to attend college as a result of affirmative action policies is a simple fact.

Fact? You haven't provided any evidence for that assertion. And I don't believe it. They can come to any of the state universities in my state right now. You're living in a fantasy world where white people are embattled and discriminated against.

You're screwing some of *those* kids out of a college education just because of their race.

No, I'm not, and no one is. You've done nothing to prove that white people are denied admission to college because of race, nothing whatsoever other than keep saying it over and over. And it's bullshit.

Beth said...

Ah yes, racial discrimination justified by ignorant stereotypes.

No, Fen, just a reminder to stop the ridiculous, "I'm so disadvantaged because I'm white!" whining.

Fen said...

Freder Frederson Well, when the Yales and Harvards of the world eliminate legacy admissions and use those slots to admit the most qualified applicants, regardless of race, then I will be convinced that we are really concerned about getting the most qualified students into the best schools

Just so we're clear - you'll accept racial discrimination because of legacy admissions? Principles with a disclaimer?

Beth: just a reminder to stop the ridiculous, "I'm so disadvantaged because I'm white!" whining.

Can't have it both ways Beth. You either believe racial discrimination in all forms is wrong, or you support racism. Just because you have contempt for white people doesn't make it right.

Beth said...

You either believe racial discrimination in all forms is wrong, or you support racism.

Absolute bullshit, or call it whitewash. You were fine with discrimination as long as it benefited white people. When the balance is restored, you get whiney. Lame, lame, lame.