When my father passed away just over a decade ago I got a first hand lesson in the Inheritance Tax, better known as The Death Tax. My father worked his professional career as a Pharmaceutical Rep for Michigan’s Dow Chemical Company after graduating from Michigan State University. He worked there for 32 years and invested much of his money into the stock market with an eye to his eventual retirement. Some would refer to my father as frugal I was much more likely to use the word cheap but I knew him better than most.

When he died in an accidental fall he was just 67 years old. His death was a shock to all of us but what followed was nearly as devastating.

He had prepared in large part by putting together his will, directing much of his estate into a trust and for the most part ‘doing things right’ as they say. None of that mattered in 2005 however. The Federal Government gobbled up 47% of every dime not covered by the initial exemption. The State of Michigan also got a bite and don’t forget the lawyers who chewed through some more. When it was all said and done the government took more cash than any of his three sons that he willed his estate to in equal shares. Think about that. The government took more from my dad than he was able to leave my brothers or me. The Democrats would have you believe that eliminating this tax would only be a boom for the so-called rich. I can tell you I am not rich by any financial measure. I am not the 1 percent. I would certainly like to be but I’m not there yet and the notion that eliminating the draconian death tax would  somehow damage the Middle Class as Senators Chuck Schumer, Bernie Sanders and Ron Wyden would have you believe is absolutely ridiculous.

I am the Middle Class! The Death Tax stole from me and my family. That is a back and white fact.

Historically the Inheritance Tax was only imposed to help pay the cost of major wars before being retired. The first such tax came in 1797 and retired five years later. Similar taxes were imposed in 1862 and 1898 before they were repealed a few years later. But in 1916 the Federal Estate Tax was imposed on the verge of World War I and it has been around in one form or another ever since. The current Death Tax was also supposed to be eliminated but on New Years Day 2013 President Obama signed a permanent tax of 40% on all estates over $5 Million dollars. That may sound like a lot of money to you and you may think, ‘well heck that really does affect the rich and not the Middle Class.’ The problem is when you think about averaged sized small businesses and family farms. Many farmers are land rich but cash poor. I know because many of them are my friends.

Do the math; in places like Northern Indiana average farmland is bringing $12,000 an acre and more. Well if you have a family farm with 500 acres that means just the land is worth $6 Million dollars. Then on top of that put whatever other assets someone has on the pile. Suddenly just in order to pay the tax-man and the bill heirs are often forced to sell their legacy. Large corporations or factory farms often purchase the family farms. So if you are concerned about preserving the legacy of green space and believe in so called justice you need to give this close consideration. Stealing from the little guys to make sure the Federal tax bill is paid is nothing short of obscene.

My father paid taxes his entire life. He paid income tax when he earned a dollar. He paid taxes when he invested a dollar and it made a profit. He paid taxes when he spent a dollar and then when he died the Feds came in and took another 47% of everything he couldn’t protect with fancy legal moves.

President Trump is exactly right about deep sixing this onerous theft of resources from the Middle Class. There is not one logical argument the left can put forward to substantiate the absurd argument that eliminating this recessive tax in some way hurts the Middle Class. Quite the opposite; eliminating the Death Tax protects you and I from the massive greed of government and it’s over reach.

This is one fight we all need to watch closely. When Socialist Bernie Sanders contends that the Death Tax is good for the Middle Class we must hold his feet to the fire and say, “Really? How exactly does it help the Middle Class?” Demand of Senator Stabenow, who claims much of her power from supporting agricultural ideas, how The Death Tax helps the family farm. I can tell you right now she will not have an answer.

Ideas like The Death Tax and other schemes to separate you and your money are killing the Middle Class, not helping it.

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