Monday, October 16, 2017

The "death tax" hoax

In coming years, the savings and assets of middle-class baby-boomers will be transferred, not to their children as they hoped, but to nursing homes. If tax reform supported by Senators Enzi and Barrasso, are enacted, the wealthiest Americans will be the only ones able to transfer their enormous wealth to their children.

These people amassed unimaginable fortunes selling products and services to consumers at inflated prices while underpaying employees. Now they want to transfer all that ill-gotten wealth to their children while the middle class transfers theirs to nursing homes.

This heist is perpetrated by those who hijacked American politics with political contributions. The contributions came with an IOU. The politicians are paying off the debt.

The payoff is a tax reform bill the non-partisan Tax Policy Council finds gives 80% of its benefits to the top one-percent, while adding a couple of trillion to the debt. At the same time, Enzi, the Budget Committee chairman, proposes Medicare cuts of $450 Billion. He and Barrasso believe the national debt is reason to cut Medicaid and Medicare but not to deny tax cuts to the rich.

While they are spending billions to give their wealthy benefactors a huge tax cut, they’re coming after your healthcare.

Here’s why that matters to middle-class baby boomers.

As you age and require nursing home care, your children will watch helplessly as their inheritance is shoveled into the coffers of nursing home owners. Median cost for semi-private rooms in Wyoming is $6,692 per month according to the Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey.

Studies indicate middle-class Americans have saved only $20,000 for retirement. Even if your savings is 10 or 20 times that amount, it won’t survive long-term care. Your assets will be liquidated to pay that bill until you have nothing left for your children except perhaps a beat up old car.

Then you'll be relying on Medicaid. You may have thought that was only for the poor. Before Medicaid pays a nickel toward your nursing home care, you’ll be poor, actually destitute. Your U.S. Senators want to cap the growth of Medicaid and turn it over to the states to administer at a time when they know the trajectory for Alzheimer’s diagnoses alone are about to skyrocket.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates the costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s will exceed $20 trillion by 2050, by which time the numbers of Alzheimer’s patients will increase from today’s 5.1 million to 13.5 million. And, of course, Alzheimer’s won’t be the only thing landing us in nursing homes beds.

With the prospects for the aging middle class this dire, Enzi and Barrasso are intent on repealing the Estate Tax. While they employ talking points crafted to scare you into believing this is a tax on you, the truth is that it is only a tax on couples with estates valued at more than $11 million, the richest people in America, who are unwilling to share what they have with charities or family members during their lifetime.

They can pass $11 million to their children with no tax. Estates valued above that are taxed with 40% going to the people of the country that made them wealthy.

These rich folks who want to avoid sharing their great wealth with this great nation are “taking a knee” during the National Anthem. They didn’t create wealth on their own. They succeeded, in significant part, because the nation’s infrastructure, public works and other programs, paid for by the taxpayers, and a business-friendly tax code, enabled them to amass the wealth they seek to squirrel away from the national good, which ought to include healthcare for seniors and others.

They are greedy, not patriotic.

There’s an old joke about the cattleman asked what he’d do if he won the lottery. “I guess I’d just keep ranchin’ till it was all gone.” Voting for politicians like Mike Enzi and John Barrasso is like that. You all can just keep voting for them until everything you have is gone.

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