Is it "fair" that the federal government be able to take more than half the wealth created by estates of more than $3.5 million at the time of death?
Of course it is, says the left - even if 97% of farmers and ranchers will be impacted.
Two decades ago, Kester paid the IRS $2 million when he inherited a 22,000-acre cattle ranch from his grandfather. Come January, the tax burden on his children will be more than $13 million.
For supporters of a high estate tax, which is imposed on somebody's estate after death, Kester is the kind of person they rarely mention. He doesn't own a mansion. He's not the CEO of a multi-national. But because of his line of work, he owns a lot of property that would be subject to a lot of tax.
"Our number one goal is to repeal the estate tax, to get rid of it, not have it for every generation, when I die and my kids die and so on," he told Fox News. "For everyone to have to re-purchase the ranch or farm over and over for each generation, that's inherently unjust. So what we're doing is asking our politicians to understand that and repeal the estate tax."
That, however, is unlikely. Currently, the federal government taxes estates worth $5 million dollars and up at 35 percent. When the Bush-era tax rates expire in January, rates increase to 55 percent on estates of $1 million or more. While some Republicans want to eliminate the death tax entirely, President Obama has proposed a 45 percent rate on estates of $3.5 million and up.
"The idea behind the estate tax is to prevent the very wealthy among us from accumulating vast fortunes that they can pass along to the next generation," said Patrick Lester, director of Federal Fiscal Policy with the progressive think tank -- OMB Watch. "The poster child for the estate tax is Paris Hilton -- the celebrity and hotel heiress. That's who this is targeted at, not ordinary Americans."
But according to the American Farm Bureau, up to 97 percent of American farms and ranches will be subject to an estate tax where the exemption is set at $1 million. At that rate, the federal government will pocket $40 billion in 2013 and up to $86 billion in 2021. That contrasts with just $12 billion this year.
Many Democrats argue the tax promotes equality among classes, especially in capital gains -- or stocks passed from one generation to another. Since stocks are only taxed when they are sold, the government can't profit from long-term investments without the estate tax.
Note the liberal obsession with idle rich heirs like Paris Hilton. They just can't stand the idea of someone lucky enough to be born into wealth and are willing to punish everyone - including ordinary Americans - for their class envy.
The death tax also affects small business owners who wish to pass their company on to their children. Destroying family businesses out of some misguided sense of "fairness" has to stop.
The death tax represents government confiscation at its worst. All that wealth has been taxed already. Taxing it again and again is little short of robbery.