Should we pay Estate taxes?


Paying for the Boat. 2-13-11 by blogger Keith Larsen

“The question of whether one generation has the right to bind another by a deficit it imposes is a question of such consequence as to place it among the fundamental principles of our government. We should consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts and morally bound to pay for them ourselves.” Thomas Jefferson.


I am reading a story today about privatizing Medicare – but only for people under the age of 55. I don’t know what “Privatizing” really means to the future readers of this paper but it raises a question that has bothered me for years. How do we pay off our national debt? I don’t mean “How do we cut the deficit.” I am talking about the overspending of the past.

Lets say that I bought a boat that I did not need, on credit, and then I crashed it into the rocks and watched it sink. Should I stop making payments to the person who sold me the boat? Should I ask my neighbors to help me pay? Maybe I should ask the boat dealer to send the bill to my children? I don’t think so… I bought it and it is my responsibility. And please – just shoot me – if I go out and buy another boat before I pay for the first one – just because I think it is fun – or something I NEED.

The National Debt is OUR boat. We bought it and we watched it sink. I am not sure why so many people feel our National debt is the debt of the Federal Government and their problem to solve. The National debt is MY debt and YOUR debt. This upsets us, and makes us feel frustrated and even angry. But our anger does NOT change the facts of who bought the boats. We did and we have not paid the bill.

Did we deserve the Bush tax cuts before our National debts were paid? Who told us it was OUR money and we should get it back? Politicians who wanted votes.

Should we ask our lender, China, to forget the money we borrowed or devalue their Yuan currency?

Perhaps our good neighbor, Canada, might chip in to pay our bills?

Some think that maybe we can increase taxes in the future? But that is going to anger our voting age children. By the time taxes are raised we of the older generations will be paying taxes at a greatly reduced rate. Essentially, we just don’t want to pay this bills.

We know that our elected officials have to get a handle on current and future deficits and that means change for all kinds of welfare – which includes our Social Security checks and Medicare payments. Don’t be fooled. These payments becomes personal welfare the moment that we get more out of the programs than we paid in. Please don’t forget this fact.

The National debt from World War II is tiny compared to the debt doubling during the Reagan years. That is when I first learned to divide our National debt by the number of tax payers in this United States. The numbers seem impossible. Oh, for the days when the debt was “only” $4,000,000,000,000. Yikes! Four trillion seemed bad enough. What is it now (2011)  $14,000,000,000,000? That is $45,000 per person. Unbelievable!


Debt Clock on 7-29-2015 – The Federal Debt is about $18,647,756,758,000.
The amount is the gross federal debt issued by the United States Department of the Treasury since 1790. It doesn’t include state and local debt, and it doesn’t include the so-called unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.


How do we fix this problem? All the answers that I have seen continue to push the problem onward to the next generations. Our misguided perspective is driven by policy makers who continue to cultivate votes rather than solve problems.

For right or wrong – our country has spent too much money. And we have spent it in many unnecessary ways. Take your pick – optimistic wars, too much welfare, overpaid public officials, and wasteful contracts. All contribute to the problem. All are controlled by the people we elect. And the people we elect tend to have big egos and a huge desire for power.

It is never fair to lump everyone into this category. Many public servants want only to do good. The sad truth is that “doing good” is in the eye of the person with the most power. And power, on this good earth of ours, requires money.

I am not sophisticated enough to understand much about government but I do know that OUR generation has not paid OUR bills. And I know that we don’t WANT to pay the bill either.

One solution is to grow the economy (so the future can pay the bills). Another solution is to stop spending so much (which also pushes the payments off to the future generations.) I am looking for each of us to say that we need to come clean and pay the National Debt – not by raising taxes but by paying our bill.

Raising taxes will push payments onto the next generation. Most retirees don’t pay taxes anymore or greatly reduced from our working years.

I should just ask our readers to offer solutions for paying off the money that WE spent. Right or wrong, we elected the folks who took us into debt. They are the agents that we hired to buy our boats. And WE are the ones who should pay the bill. How do we do that…?

We Seniors are the worst for ignoring the problem – voting only for people who dabble at the ongoing deficit while ignoring the existing debt. They are two separate issues.

The only solution that I see for the existing debt has its foundation in estate taxes. We all want our family fortunes to be passed on to the kids but is it fair to give it away our wealth before we pay for our debts?

If we are responsible and we believe that a new law would be fair to everyone, would we be willing to pay? Maybe – but I doubt it. This world is filled with people who blame government – which solves nothing.

Since we can’t force ourselves to pay up, maybe we is it better for us to wait until we are gone from this good earth to pay our fair share.

Here is one thought. If the government can determine how much we have paid through “retirement” taxes and how much we have collected through Social Security and Medicare, wouldn’t it be fair to balance the sheet after we are gone?

Perhaps there is nothing left for the kids – well – isn’t that the fact of the matter? We and our elected representatives set up the spending formula and it seems that, after we are gone, those who have benefited should pay the own bills. Otherwise, all our health care and all our retirement checks are like winning a lottery.

Should any of us expect our retirement checks to go to the kids after we are gone? Neither should we send the bills to them.


The writer welcomes your comments posted at WordPress. Please offer alternative solutions with your complaints.

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