Courtesy of Slacktivist, here is Gerald Plessner on Grover Norquist, the throwback who heads a relief effort for the rich called Americans for Tax Reform. He is a principal political theorist for the Bush administration:
His most incredible idea likens opposition to tax cuts for wealthier Americans to the Holocaust. “I think it speaks very much to the health of the nation that 70-plus percent of Americans want to abolish the death tax, because they see it as fundamentally unjust. The argument that some who played at the politics of hate and envy and class division will say, ‘Yes, well, that's only two percent’ or as people get richer five percent in the near future of Americans likely to have to pay that tax. I mean, that’s the morality of the Holocaust.”
First of all, I would point out to Mr. Norquist’s suppositional seventy percent that it is not a death tax. The dead no longer possess their money, being dead. Lacking money with which to pay taxes, they cannot be taxed. Are we clear so far?
Nor is the estate tax double-taxation. The dead man presumably paid his taxes while still alive. But he cannot be required to pay further taxes after death on money he no longer has. Being, you see, dead.
And so the “death” tax is not levied on the dead at all, but upon the heirs of the dead. These heirs did not earn that money, nor have they ever paid taxes on it. Their inheritance is income to them, and is taxed on the same theory that lottery winnings, found money and large cash gifts are taxed.
Thus the estate tax is not paid by dead millionaires who dedicated their lives to creating jobs for their less fortunate countrymen, but rather by their fat rich kids.
Examples would be Bush the Elder, Donald Trump, Richard Mellon Scaife, and Rupert Murdoch. Other examples would be John F. Kennedy, Ted Turner, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Estate taxes are levied on a nonideological basis, but only conservatives whine about them.
Back to Grover Norquist. Here’s a fun fact about old Grover, from David Brock’s book, Blinded by the Right. Norquist used to keep a boa constrictor. He fed it on mice called David Bonior, after the Democrat who was whip of the House at the time.
Full disclosure: I also keep a snake, a ball python to which I feed, as the guests giggle over my wit, sewer rats named Grover Norquist.