William Greider is stuck on the trivial subject of how compromises on the estate tax worsen deficits. It fails to point out why an estate tax–indeed, a much higher one than the US had before the Republicans went on their “death tax” propaganda campaign–is useful and important. Estates are unearned and undeserved income. They lead to aristocracy. They undermine the opportunities of all who weren’t born rich. They deprecate the value of labor, the basis of all our past and future wealth. They distort our political values. A strong estate tax in itself isn’t enough to level the playing field but at least it sends a message that a level playing field is something to be desired. As for the deficits, the estate tax is almost unique is that increasing its rate won’t drag down the economy–the rich are no less likely to die to avoid a stiff tax rate than they would otherwise. As for the heirs, they need to learn to stand on their own two feet. Few political issues are as clear-cut as the estate tax.
Great article! My one objection is that Cookie Monster should be angered to be used in reference to Mr. Mann’s shoddy “reporting.” I would ask that Mr. Blumenthal apologize or clarify his message to Cookie Monster.
APO AE 09703 (Overseas Military)
In Max Blumenthal’s article, “Generation Chickenhawk,” the quote by Cory Bray particularly galled me. “I’m not putting my ass on the line because I had the opportunity to go to the number-one business school in the country,” Bray declared, “and I wasn’t going to pass that up.” Great for him. Now that he’s had a chance to attend the best business school in the country, he has the opportunity to become an Army Lieutenant (assuming he can pass). There are hundreds of high-school valedictorians, class presidents, football team captains and 4.0 students going to West Point, Annapolis and the Air Force Academy. They are real men and women who don’t just talk, but DO. As far as I’m concerned, this yuppie-to-be is just another Brooks Brothers suit on the soft underbelly of America.
Max Blumenthal gave a satirical account of the College Republican National Convention and basically portrayed all College Republicans as chickenhawks. In his research Mr. Blumenthal apparently never took the time to interview Pennsylvania CR Chair Nick Miccarelli, a Specialist in the Army National Guard who just returned from Kosovo and will soon leave for Iraq, nor Florida Vice Chair Scott Wacholtz, who served in the Marines from 1987 to 1994, nor myself (I’ll be trading politics for Air Force Navigator training after I commission next May) or the at least half-dozen other service members that were in attendance. Blumenthal’s op-ed is another example of the left’s fallacious reasoning for its ineptitude on national security. The left can’t convince a majority of Americans that withdrawing the troops from Iraq (who don’t want to come home before the mission is complete) is worth surrendering Iraq to people like Zarqawi, so what they will do is erect a strawman: the people who advocate a vigorous national defense aren’t willing to provide one; ergo poor people’s children are dying for rich people’s oil. That kind of neo-Leninist worldview didn’t win the Democrats any elections in 2002 or 2004 and it won’t in 2006.