Estate Tax

Estate Tax

E-mail debates of newsworthy topics.
Aug. 7 1997 3:30 AM

Estate Tax

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Dear Jim,

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       OK. OK. OK. We practically agree. The recently passed tax bill makes the code infinitely more complex. The $500 per child tax credit--added complexity. The tuition credit--added complexity. But, the effort to eliminate the estate tax--that's simplicity. No generation-skipping trusts, no complicated charitable foundations, no expensive lawyers and accountants with their estate-planning doodads and geegaws charging you thousands of dollars to advise you how to avoid Uncle Sam at death. Jim, elimination of the estate tax moves toward what you and I both want. A flat, simple tax. The way I look at it, however, the recently passed tax bill helps us. One more level of complexity added to already-existing multiple levels of complexity. Sooner or later the public will not just tire of it--they will revolt. Hopefully, you and I--together with Porthos, Aramis, Athos, and d'Artagnan--will be there to lead the revolt.

Bob Packwood was a U.S. senator from Oregon from 1969 to 1995. He is president of his own consulting firm, Sunrise Research Inc. (located in Washington, D.C.), where he lobbies on the estate-tax issue. James Glassman writes a weekly investment column for the Washington Post. He is moderator of CNN's Capital Gang Sunday.