Tough questions Russert didn't ask

“Mr. President, your 2004 economic report to Congress forecasts 2.6 million new jobs this year. That works out to 220,000 new jobs per month for the rest of the year, yet job creation last month was only 112,000 new jobs. Moreover, your jobs report last year forecast 2.6 million new jobs, but the reality was a net loss of 439,000 jobs. In 2002, you predicted a loss of 100,000 jobs; 1.45 million were thrown out of work that year. Given that your track record in forecasting the nation’s employment outlook, why should America have any confidence that the employment outlook will improve any time soon?”

Pardon me, last year’s forecast was only 1.7 million new jobs.

Now, first, I’m wholly opposed to the elimination of the estate tax…

But… Emotionally, me giving a bunch of money to my children seems like a different kind of “transfer” than me hiring a contractor to build my house… The former is intended to “keep it in the family.” It’s me giving money to my own.

People dislike the “gift tax” for the same reason. It seems (emotionally) to be an intrusion that’s nobody’s business.

Of course, the “emotional” rebuttal to this is that, in a land of opportunity, people ought to earn their millions, not merely be given them on a silver plate. This country was founded upon a rejection of class, caste, and inherited status, and we have a visceral distrust of “aristocracy,” pointing to the Kennedy and Bush families as examples of what we don’t like.

(Anyway, the gift tax doesn’t cut in until around half a million dollars or so…)


Not so.

If I win $5 million in the lottery, I haven’t created any wealth. I still get taxed for the transfer, in the form of income tax.

And you haven’t addressed the underlying philosophical question:

Why should someone who works to earn $5 million be taxed for it, while someone who inherits $5 million without working for it isn’t? Why do we punish (relatively speaking) the more productive member of society and reward what amounts to luck?

Not quite true; “the prospect of a war on Iraq was discussed in cabinet meetings” years before 9/11, starting with waning days of Bush Sr., continuing all through happy days of Clinton…

This is an excellent question.