The Sneak-A-Tax On Our Not-So-Grateful Dead

 By- Joe Klock, Sr.

As this is being written, our elected reprehensibles on Crapitall Hill are engaged in a process no more acceptable in polite society than kicking people when they are down, robbing graves and grand larceny. Reference here is to proposed legislation, currently being debated, that would resurrect the Federal Estate Tax, which simultaneously pummels cadavers, plunders the worldly goods of recently deceased taxpayers and steals money to which the thieves are not entitled by any stretch of either imagination or alibi.

Aside: If you’re reading this before the die is cast – no pun intended – contact those supposedly representing you on the aforementioned Hill and let your feelings be known. If it’s too late to kill the bill in the Lame turkey session, holler them to inter it early next year.

If the law passes, only those who are fiscally prudent enough to pass away before the end of 2010 can pass on to their legatees the full fruits of their lifetime labors and investment acumen without Uncle Sam thrusting his greedy hands into the cookie jars of their estates. The heirs of those who celebrate the New Year above ground may not be as fortunate.

If the Congressional bandits have their way, a substantial portion of future estates will be dumped into the cavernous maw of government, to be distributed according to the wills and whims of those resident in its menagerie. There could be no better example of the “taxation without representation” which plucked us from the horns of John Bull in the mid-1700s than a Sneak-a-tax which double-dips into the wallets of people who already rendered to the “Seizers” (read IRA) during their lifetimes and would be required to kick in again after they’ve kicked off.

Stripped of all artifice, the estate tax would give an additional bite of the revenue apple to a government which had already taken its share – in some cases, more than its share – from the decedents and is now coming back for seconds. People who, in real life, are kicked when they are down often have a chance to pull themselves up and progress from kickee status to that of kickor.

No similar revenge, though, is possible post-mortem. Those who rob graves are sometimes caught and brought to the bar of justice; but stealing from the dead can legally be legitimized through legislation, with no known remedy available to the victims.  The advantage of this shady process to legislators is similar to that of skilled burglars, pickpockets and Peeping Toms, in that their targets are usually unaware and defenseless, which serves only to make their dark deeds more worthy of scorn.

When we, the living, have profited from our labors and/or prudential money management and/or judicious investment, it is only fair that we part with a portion of our gains to pick up the tab for the cost of governance and for the benefit of those in need.  However, once we have coughed up for the coffers during life, it makes no sense whatever to pay a second piper for playing the same tunes, unless the name of the game is double jeopardy – which I’ve been led to believe is a miscarriage of justice.  There are legitimate reasons for both resenting and resisting graduated income tax rates when they approach confiscatory levels, but when they are imposed upon the living, it may be argued that the decision-making of our legislators the majority is part of the price we pay for living in a democracy.

Laying that argument aside for another day’s debate, there can be few, if any, points to be scored for an encore taxing of that which has already been taxed and/or violating the dead by stealing from their legitimate heirs by the aforementioned elected reprehensibles. Compounding the subject felony is the fact that a big chunk of the “gains” being taxed represent inflation – a phony profit due to mismanagement by the same form of government now seeking to give a second finger to the dear departed. Chivalry may indeed be dead, but villainy is alive and a-thrivin’.

Much as one may abhor the other sins of those in power, such as feasting at the pork barrel, waste, corruption and misappropriation of public funds, at least they are offenses against the living. It’s quite another thing to piddle on the graves of departed, folks who can neither pay back nor pee back to vent their justifiable anger.

Your move, citizens…or patsies?

Freelance wordworker Joe Klock, Sr. ( winters in Key Largo and Coral Gables, Florida and summers in New Hampshire. More of his “Klockwork” can be found at

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