Frank Blethen, Get Well Soon

Whenever Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen catches a cold, he hocks up a loogie of an editorial, railing against the estate tax. But do this too often (say… more than about once a month) and readers will start tossing out the op/ed section like the soggy piece of Kleenex it sometimes is. So today Frank tried a new approach at blowing out his selfish message… he actually bought an ad in his own paper!

Andrew’s got the full text and a great analysis over on the Northwest Progressive Institute Blog. He does a great job of deconstructing the ad’s many lies and misrepresentations… and I really love this quote he found that nails Frank’s incessant whining, dead on:

Three generations of Blethens have managed to keep their inheritance in the family despite a much higher estate tax than the Times now rails against. If the current generation proves unwilling to make the same kind of sacrifices as their elders, then the Blethen family should blame itself, not the tax code.

Man… that David Goldstein guy really knows what he’s talking about.

The estate tax is being gradually phased out through 2010, when it will be repealed for one year, before returning in 2011 at the old rates and thresholds. Barring legislative action, I fully expect Frank to take his own life in 2010 (it would be the financially prudent thing to do) so as to guarantee another generation of Blethens expectorating on the op/ed page. Of course, Frank would prefer to live, and thus had hoped that the Senate might permanently repeal the estate tax this week. But apparently the votes weren’t there, so Senate Majority Leader Bill “Kitty Killer” Frist has put off a vote until September.

That gives us plenty of time to contact Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and ask them to hold firm against shifting $23.4 billion in taxes off the very richest US families and onto the backs of the poor and middle class.


  1. 1

    Donnageddon spews:

    Goldy, I got your back on this one. Consider emails to Murray and Cantwell sent. The dwiddling of the Estate tax is just another nail in the coffin of hypocrisy that is the Neo-Con agenda.

    “hmmm… how can we ensure the rich get richer and the middle class and poor get stiffed?”

    “I know! We will call the estate tax (which is rarely ever seen any taxation at all) the “Death Tax!”


    On a more personal note, which I am well aware will make great fodder for Puddy, PacMan, and other Neo-Con apoligists, I once dated a comely lass in the 1990’s who was an avowed conservative. Did I mention she was very lovely? She also believed in Astrology, but that is a minor point.

    Anyway, she asked me what paper I read. I told her “The Seattle Times”.

    She was very happy at this pronouncement! She told me that The Seattle PI was a liberal rag!

    I was ever so much closer to getting into her panties!

    I did not want to blow it by telling her that I could not see any difference between the two papers (and I actually thought that the PI was slightly more editorially conservative) and my real reason for getting the Times is that I prefer an afternoon paper.

    Of course, the Times soon shifted to being a morning paper, and I cancelled my subscription.

    Did I “get” the comely conservative female in bed?

    Mind your own business!

  2. 4

    Donnageddon spews:

    If you did read the post but went straight to the Barney Frank die and good riddance comment… then

    Fuck you! You sad pile of excrement.

  3. 5

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Try to imagine a bitchy right-wing freeloader calling you up every payday to harass you for her child support! I sure hope, for your sake, that she found out you were cheating on her (i.e., reading the P-I) before it was too late.

  4. 6

    Donnageddon spews:

    RR @ 5 she already had 4 kids.

    But she really was lovely!

    And honestly, I really have never been able to tell the differrence between the PI and Times.

    They all seem to go for the “Whatever gets the paper selling” mentality.

    Maybe it is just me.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    No, you’ve got them pegged. News publishing is a business, and they go for circulation, because circulation is what sells ads, and selling ads is what brings in money to pay for presses, paper, ink, and editors’ salaries. That’s why our local TV news programs are nothing but glorified police blotters.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:


    Man oh man, I’d get as far away from that baby factory as fast as I could, if I were you. Child support lasts 18 years or until paid in full, whichever occurs last; looks last a lot less than that. It’s like making payments until you’re 55 on a car you bought when you were 25 that went to the crusher when you were 35.

  7. 10

    headless lucy spews:

    “The man who dies rich dies disgraced.”
    Andrew Carnegie

    The estate tax is just one way to ensure that the rich do not disgrace theselves any more than they have done.

  8. 11

    bf spews:

    RR –
    I know that this has nothing to do with the current conversation, but you started it…..

    You are right, those women that get themselves knocked up, should go on public assistance. It should never be the responsibility of the fathers. Dang, they were just there to have a good time. What a buzz kill. Too bad there wasn’t a way to force women to have abortions, so that men never had to suffer any consequences.

  9. 12

    NoWonder spews:

    headless lucy @ 10

    Better that the rich spend their money before they die. How about dumping it on the real estate market? Get the housing prices to skyrocket so most cannot afford to buy. The market collapses, the rich guy’s assets, and everyone elses, deflate to 10 cents on the dollar, and Uncle Sam gets squat. Or, burn the money by donating to the rich guy’s favorite charity or think tank. (Probably not Green Peace or Yea, let’s disgrace these folks before they die. That will get them to do the right thing.

  10. 13

    N in Seattle spews:

    Just for the record, that “ad” has been running regularly for the last couple of weeks in the Times, daily and Sunday.

    A quarter-page in section A … methinks Blethen is foregoing a big pile of revenues by selling ad space to himself. Or perhaps he’s trying to get his net worth beneath some specified level where the estate tax rate changes.

  11. 14

    RonK, Seattle spews:

    New approach? IIRC, he’s pulled this (full page ad in his own paper) stunt before. Years and years ago … about the time I took the Times off my regular reading list.

    Was it a paid ad this time? I don’t think he paid for it last time around. (One of the competing/alternative publications may recall details.)

  12. 15

    Puddybud spews:

    It’s sure funny how the holier than thou lefties want to screw someone out of their hard earned $$$. If they inherited it and just used it in a riotous lifestyle, I’d agree with your assessments. If someone from nothing built an empire and was giving charitably, why does your side want him/her to bend over and drive him/her to Newark upon death? I can see some fairness arguments, but your side doesn’t take into account how their $$$ were implemented to potentially:

    Help the fellow man/woman with charity
    Provide jobs for people
    Proven benefit to his/her community
    Revered by his/her peers

    If these were taken into account, why take the balance of his/her legacy out in high taxes? This is not a black and white issue. Your side complains about how righties love to hoard. I deliver links on how many lefties talk about someone else money but don’t you use their money. Al Gore, Susan Sarandon, Barbra Streisand, Sean Penn, etc. have low charity $$$. When they die I want you lefties going after their piles of gold!!!

  13. 16

    bf spews:

    Nobody should be allowed to be wealthy. We should decide on a quantity of money that citizens would be allowed to have and stick to it. Those with more than their fair share, should put all their excess funds into the “kitty” and those with less than the required amount should be able to supplement their wealth from the money in the “kitty”.

    Next, we need to figure out a way to make sure that everyone has the same car and the same house. We will probably have to tear down a lot of houses so that everyone has only their fair share of housing. The difficulty will be in deciding the locations of the housing. It certainly would not be fair if my friend has a waterview, or a mountain view and I don’t. Giant curtains could be the answer to that.

    What makes our country great is that everyone has the opportunity to make something great of themselves. No matter the walk of life that they come from, they just have to put their mind to it.

    If that incentive is taken away, if people that make it, by designing an operating system, or inventing some new technology, or writing a book, or working hard to put themselves in a position to run a company, or creating their own company, or producing life saving medicine, or by saving their money and investing it wisely…then why would they take those risks? Why would they make those sacrifices?

    Take away the reason for dreaming and you take away the dreams.

  14. 17

    Janet S spews:

    Solution: keep all inherited assets at their original cost basis. When the assets are sold, the heir pays the full capital gains. This includes family businesses. No reason to liquidate on the event of death of the founder.

    Of course, this isn’t punitive to the successful, but it does honor the right to private property. Believe it or not, the govt does not own everything except what it allows citizens to keep.

  15. 18

    Lawerence spews:

    15 – The problem is that people like Frank Blethen didn’t dream a dream or pull himself up by his bootstraps. He inherited the money from his relative. His wealth is thus, undeserved.

  16. 19

    NoWonder spews:

    Lawerence @ 17

    ‘His wealth is thus, undeserved.’

    Yes, throw the baby out with the bathwater. Punish all who earn their wealth, or those that do good things with inherited riches so that jealous lefties feel better.

  17. 20

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    The trolls have a point. Society needs to protect incentives to steal money from employees, customers, shareholders, and taxapayers in billion-dollar chunks so crooked CEOs can rise to “greatness.”

  18. 22

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I gotta hand it to Shrub — he’s making a flat-rate income tax look good. Under his plan, wage earners pay all the taxes, and capital pays zero.

  19. 23

    NoWonder spews:

    Roger Rabbit @ 22

    Capital pays taxes via corporate income tax. Also, Federal receipts for capital gains is up big time the last couple of years. (I will try to provide some links/data.) Cut the rates and the rich pay more.

  20. 24

    AuntTora spews:

    Um…sorry for the historical perspective here, but you know — the founders of this country specifically intended wealth NOT to be retained in families over generations but rather plowed back into the general population, thus enriching the entire country and not just a few wealthy families…the situation that existed in the countries they left. Primogeniture, and all that. I now return you to your regular right- or left-bashing.

  21. 26

    NoWonder spews:

    AuntTora @ 24

    The founders should have left more specific instructions. Oh wait, they did – its called the Constitution.

  22. 27

    John spews:

    Concentrated wealth is a threat to the economy and to democracy. If a rich guy dies, is he still going to need the money?

    I don’t have a problem with any rich guy taking care of his kids while he’s alive but he’d better give back to the society that made it all possible for him and by society I mean the soldiers who die and are maimed in wars, the scientist who discovers and invents on a meager salary, the hospital workers that save his ass in emergency rooms and on and on and on.

    People can strive for riches all they want and enjoy them to the hilt – while they’re alive. When they’re dead riches don’t matter a hoot to them!

    Like those whacko marxist leninists, Bill Gates Sr., Warren Buffet and Charlie Munger say – it’s simply a matter of fairness.

  23. 28

    smoke spews:

    Those bad,evil rich people! Obviously they STOLE their wealth from the poor.

    Let’s take away their first born while we’re it.

    That’ll teach themich Neo Cons.

    I guess there aren’t any rich Democrats

  24. 29

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Smoke, there’s a lot of CEOs who are taking advantage of their shareholders. They’re collecting eight and nine figure salaries from captive boards while their companies underperform. The bottom line is shareholders are left with little or nothing. Add to that, outright fraud, dishonest financial statements, and the government’s refusal to regulate accounting practices that leave shareholders vulnerable. What’s happening is people are fleeing the stock market into real estate because there’s no benefit for the average shareholder in putting their money in stocks.

    Another sector in which rich people are reaping trillions they didn’t earn and don’t deserve is government. When the taxpayers had to spend $500 billion on the S & L bailout, that money didn’t go to the middle class or working people. It was stolen by the wealthy class, including one of Dubya’s brothers, who was in top management of a crooked S & L that ate more than $1 billion of taxpayer funds. But the S & L debacle pales next to the trillions of public money the Bush administration is giving away to its corporate pals.

    What you don’t want to acknowledge is that a massive transfer of wealth from the working and middle class to the wealthy class is occurring in America as a result of government policies designed to favor the rich. To add insult to injury, Bush wants to shift the entire federal tax burden to wages, while the capital-owning class pays nothing. If you’re among the wealthiest 2%, you are benefitting from Bush’s policies. If you are not, you’re getting the shaft.

  25. 30

    For the Clueless spews:

    Another thought for the CLUELESS, KOOL-AID DRUNK WINGNUT TROLLS.

    Y’all think a super-rich guy should be able hand off all his wealth to his heirs, i.e. start an aristocracy, ‘cuz he’s been paying taxes on it all along, yes?


    Using like every trick in the book? Tricks Joe Sixpack can’t touch. Is that fair?



  26. 31

    For the Clueless spews:

    Wow! Happy supply-side days are here again!

    Budget analysts inside and outside the government said the positive turn is likely to be short-lived. Indeed, after a four-year absence, the Treasury Department announced yesterday it is considering reissuing its 30-year Treasury bond to help finance long-term government debt, jolting the bond markets and pushing down the price of existing 30-year securities.


    April, however, turned out to be a far better month than anticipated. Taxpayers were confronted with unexpected tax bills, many from capital gains and the alternative minimum tax, a parallel income tax system designed to hit the rich but that is increasingly pinching the middle class.

    Yes, indeed, happy voodoo economics days are here again.

  27. 32

    Donnageddon spews:

    Hell when Bush was campaigning he addmitted it by saying “You see.. wealthy people don’t pay taxes, they have accountants and such to make sure of that. So raising taxes on the wealthy doesn’t matter”

    That is Neo-Con doublespeak for “Bend over middle class- we are putting all the burdon of keeping us rich on your backs”

  28. 33

    Donnageddon spews:

    Here is one of the many exact quotes: “Thirdly, you know how the tax code works. When they say, “tax the rich,” those are the folks who have got the accountants to see to it they don’t pay tax,”

    And here: “Just remember, when you’re talking about, oh, we’re just going to run up the taxes on a certain number of people — first of all, real rich people figure out how to dodge taxes”

    And again: “He said he’s only going to raise the tax on the so-called rich. But you know how the rich is, they’ve got accountants. That means you pay.”

    And again : “People need to be aware of this talk out of Washington, D.C. that says, oh, don’t worry, we’re just going to tax the rich. That’s not the way it works in the tax code. The big rich dodge taxes, anyway”

    So, the wealthy don’t pay taxes according to Pres. Bush. Well then you can’t fault us for wanting us to tax them when they are dead!

  29. 34

    proud leftist spews:

    The people who oppose estate taxes also typically oppose affirmative action. They don’t recognize, or just won’t acknowledge, the inconsistency in their positions. If affirmative action is poor policy because everyone should have the same starting position, then surely handing unearned riches to the sons and daughters of the wealthy cannot be fair, right? If we claim to be a true meritocracy, then an onerous estate tax is absolutely necessary.

  30. 35

    zip spews:

    Goldy, Thanks for linking to NPI, as a reminder that these are the jerk offs who posted that “Rossi=Eyman=Craswell” article a few months back. Andrew lost all his credibility long ago with that BS. Why should anybody care what that political hack has to say about policy?

  31. 36

    zip spews:

    The people who state BS like “The people who oppose estate taxes also typically oppose affirmative action.” are typically idiots who need to get out into the real world.

  32. 37

    NoWonder spews:

    proud leftist @ 33

    ‘If affirmative action is poor policy because everyone should have the same starting position..’

    Affirmative action is poor policy because with it the Government discriminates based on race. (i.e. racist) The “starting position” argument was one of the valid ones used by the Civil Rights movement.

    ..’unearned riches to the sons and daughters of the wealthy..’

    Raced-based discrimination affords benefits even to the wealthy, as long as they are the right color.

    “Unearned” riches? Not usually. Sounds like the Left needs a better way to specify rich folk to focus on the inheritance class.

  33. 38

    Baynative spews:

    My State representative says there are about 8 million vehicles a day using Washington roads. If the average usage across the board is only 3 gallons a day that equals $6,720,000 in taxes per day at the rate of .28 cents which existed prior to July 1.

    That’s pushing $25 BILLION a year. What has our legislature been doing with all that money. KeepWashingtonRolling (in taxes) tries to reconcile it but doesn’t even come close.

    Aren’t any of the “question authority” folks curious?

  34. 39

    Donnageddon spews:

    According to the EPA the “average” vehicle gets 22 miles/gal. and is driven an “average” of 225 miles/week.

    Now, baynative @ 37, you claim an average of 3 gallons/day which would add up to twice the 225 miles/week average. (3 X 22 = 462)

    So your 25 billion is actually closer to 12 Billion/year.

  35. 41

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Baynative @ 37

    Your numbers are wrong. Washington’s population is 6.2 million, of whom a third are children and elderly, so the 8 million vehicles a day figure amounts to twice the number of driving-age people in the state. The $25 billion figure is roughly equal to the entire state budget. The actual figure for transportation spending is about 1/10th of your number.

  36. 42

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    In the interest of reducing the ignorance on this board (if that’s possible) here is a link to information about state revenues and spending that is real (versus fanciful):

    After the page opens scroll down to “2005 Citizen’s Guide to the State Budget,” which is a .pdf file download.

  37. 43

    headless lucy spews:

    From: The Neo-Con Bible:And the rich man asked, “How shall I enter the Kingdom of Heaven?” and Jesus answered, “By investing your money and letting some of the profits trickle down to the poor.”

    Why don’t you Reps keep your re-fried Freidman to yourselves. There’s never been a free market and there never will be. These corporations couldn’t exist without society propping them up. Chrysler and GM and Lear and Boeing. They owe us. It’s not the other way around.

  38. 45

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Commenting on 43

    It’s true that unregulated capitalism eventually collapse on itself, if it isn’t first overthrown by the ever-growing population of marginalized citizens. The reason for this is because one of capital’s prime objectives is to destroy competition, and when competition has been destroyed, there is no longer a free market but only a monopoly market that doesn’t work any better than any other market that’s controlled from above.

  39. 46

    marks spews:

    Roger Rabbit @45

    Damn, but you are so close to correct. With that single post, I now know you have relatively firm footing in reality. Not that I had any doubts before…well, maybe I did…

    Headless @43,

    I know I shall live to regret this…but,

    Chrysler and GM and Lear and Boeing. They owe us.

    Did you ever work for them? How do they owe you? Aren’t you an employee of the school distict?

Frank Blethen, Get Well Soon

Seattle Times publisher Frank Blethen must not be feeling well this morning. How can I tell? Well, every time Frank catches a cold, he blows his nose all over the editorial page with yet another op-ed attacking the estate tax.

A new death tax, rising to 16 percent of assets, is levied on children who inherit businesses and property from parents who have died, which will unfairly force heirs to sell family businesses they had hoped to operate.

Translation: Frank, and the rest of his family, are mortal.

The Times likes to remind us that it is a “family owned” newspaper, implying that the extended Blethen family’s 50.5 percent stake (the rest is owned by media giant Knight-Ridder) somehow makes it a more honest guardian of community interests than the apparently evil, corporate drones over at the Hearst-owned Seattle P-I. But their unrelenting obsession with the estate tax shows that the community they care most deeply about is that which gathers around the Blethen family’s Thanksgiving Day dinner table.

Indeed, in a February 2003 interview in the Seattle Weekly, Frank was quite blunt about the family’s priorities:

“We have–and this is part of the governing documents–equal responsibility for perpetuating the family ownership and for practicing independent journalism.”

And what happens when these responsibilities conflict with each other? Well for one, you get the Time’s cynical adoption of the term “death tax.” A truly independent journalist would wince at the thought of using such a shamelessly loaded piece of Republican sloganeering. And then there’s the Times’ OCD-like focus on the issue itself, editorializing against the death estate tax six times in the past six months.

The Times’ eligiac lament for the days of family-owned newspapers is also misleading… evoking a romanticized image of three generations of Blethens bravely pounding away at their Underwoods as they fend off the sudden assault of a faceless, out-of-state, modern media giant. The 142-year-old Seattle P-I has been published by Hearst since 1921, and the paper’s editorial board and staff are just as much a part of our community as that of the Times. Indeed, the Blethen family’s holding company is no mom-and-pop shop itself; its assets include a number of online news, information and advertising web sites, printing and distribution subsidiaries, plus nine newspapers in Washington and Maine, including the Yakima Herald-Republic, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, The Issaquah Press, and Maine’s largest circulation papers, the Portland Press-Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram.

While the Blethen family’s holdings are dwarfed by those of Hearst, both the Times and the P-I are in fact, family-owned newspapers… the Hearst Corporation having been privately held by the Hearst family for its entire 118-year history.

I actually empathize with the Blethens, and wish them the best of luck in transferring the business intact to their fifth generation. But it is arrogant of them to ask us to eliminate a century-old tax, shifting burden to the already over-burdened poor and middle-class, in the interest of easing the Blethens’ selfish — if admirable — goal of maintaining their family legacy. While millions of American children are forced to get by in substandard schools, and without adequate health care, it is hard for me to squeeze out a few tears for the children of wealth and privilege.

Three generations of Blethens have managed to keep their inheritance in the family despite a much higher estate tax than the Times now rails against. If the current generation proves unwilling to make the same kind of sacrifices as their elders, then the Blethen family should blame itself, not the tax code.


  1. 48

    Don is an even bigger indoctrinated tool spews:

    spending over the next two years by 12 percent. That figure, reached by saying yes to far too many appeals, is higher than the “private economy can possibly grow and will fall heavily on selected parts of it.

    The previous budget, designed by state Sen. Dino Rossi and Gov. Gary Locke, raised spending by 4 percent. That was done by saying no to state employees, no to teachers and no to many others. That was painful to them, but it gave breathing room to the battered economy. The economy has improved. State revenue in the new biennium will be up 7 percent. The state can now begin to say yes, selectively. It cannot afford to triple the growth rate in state spending all at once.”

    He is not against taxation he is just against, frivelous
    taxes like we are getting hit with repeatedly.

    “There will be another billion-dollar gap two years hence. Legislators know it and ignore it. One party has power, and it wants a Yes Budget. It is a painful lesson in the risk of one-party government.”

    Yet another great point. You are shooting in the dark Goldy and guess what… you aren’t hitting anything.

  2. 49

    Alan spews:

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact Gregoire CUT the estate tax in half. She doubled the exemption, and estate tax revenues will fall by 50%. What more could the rich ask for?

  3. 50

    Fred Hartwick spews:

    The estate tax has put no small businesses out of business. It’s a lie fabricated by the ultra wealthy. Beware.

  4. 51

    Jon spews:

    The other question to ask is how much was Mr. Blethen’s stake worth when he got it and how much it is worth now…successful family businesses grow and increase in value over the years, which the family isn’t taxed for, obviously, so when the transfer takes place, it is the time for collection. When even somebody like Mort Zuckerman (US News & World Report publisher, and certainly not a liberal) comes out in favor of the estate tax, that’s saying something.

  5. 52

    Wayne spews:

    I wouldn’t object to getting rid of the estate tax if they stop adjusting the inherited property to current value when it is transferred. Then, when it is sold, capital gains tax would be due. But you don’t have to sell until you want to. Of course, the tax should be indexed to inflation as well.

  6. 53

    Erik spews:

    I actually empathize with the Blethens, and wish them the best of luck in transferring the business intact to their fifth generation.

    Yeah, is it too much to ask for the wealthy to pay at least some tax for the funds they get.

    I think the argument is stronger to make income from wages tax free as it encourages work. Lets eliminate wage tax and tax inheritance at 40 percent like wages are now.

    I wouldn’t object to getting rid of the estate tax if they stop adjusting the inherited property to current value when it is transferred.

    That’s about the most reasoned post I have ever read. I agree with it. Right now 5 generations in a family could pass along billions of dollars and never pay any taxes on it. Zero. Nada.

  7. 54

    steven spews:

    To some extent this reminds me of the Washington lottery winner from a few years ago who won $10 million and complained to the reporter interviewing him about how much income tax he had to pay. There are some people who always want a little bit more.

  8. 55

    Don is an even bigger indoctrinated tool spews:

    bottom line economy is 7% better than it was, therefore we should raise taxes no more than 7% or risk stunting it’s growth.

  9. 56

    Terry J spews:


    I suspect you are committed to taxing the remaining posessions of the recently deceased, and that there are no arguments that you will find persuasive. Ever the optimist, I shall try.

    We come into this world with nothing, dependent upon our parents for everything. They attempt to teach us, but we also come with a genetic makeup they produced but cannot alter.

    We mature, they obsess, and a workable compromise is rerached.

    You work for 50 years. You buy a home with after-tax money, and make payments and pay taxes and insurance with after-tax money. You invest in stocks or land or housing or a business with after-tax money. Some things like 401-Ks and similiar things are pre-tax, meant to be taxed upon distribution. And you accumulate a substantial current net worth. These are rewards for your work over many years.

    You have paid every tax demanded for your entire life. And you die. And you have a substantial range of owned assets.

    Question. What portion of your life’s work is the government entitled to?

    All taxes normally due hae been paid. The money is legitimate.

    The only source of untaxed wealth embobied in an inheretance is capital gains, or an increase in the value of already held asetts. The capital gains tax s relatively low, and is trigggered by a sale at a price greater then the acquisition price.

    A more pressing question may be why the government would have a greater claim then the family, since all applicapable taxes have already been paid. Why would any tax be due? Ahh, it is because you died.

    A tax that is enforced only upon your death and only upon what you own when you die you claim is unfairly called a death tax. When a tax is triggered by a sale we caklit a sales tax. When it is triggered by ownership of property we call it a property tax. So what is the problem calling a tax triggered by death a deathe tax?

    Make the case that that the death tax shuold be more than the states’ or federals’ capital gains rate.

  10. 57

    Alan spews:

    Erik @ 6

    As a practical matter, the descendants usually manage to go through it all by Generation 3 or 4.

  11. 58

    Alan spews:

    Terry @ 9

    Well crafted rationalization for paying no taxes on windfalls people didn’t work for while taxing the shit out of wages, but thoroughly illogical. Why are you complaining? Gregoire and the Democrats just cut this state’s estate tax in half.

  12. 59

    Chuck spews:

    Goldy never met a tax he didnt like, his trouble is that the state cannot figure out how to take ALL the money and redistribute it “properly”!

  13. 60

    G Davis spews:

    Oh good grief…from the article:

    *The tax would apply to estates of $1.5 million or more this year and those of $2 million or more beginning next year. It would raise an estimated $135 million over the next two years, affecting about 250 estates.*

    If these 250 families haven’t been able to hide their worth to the tune of $2mil then they deserve to get taxed on it.

    16% of the unguarded $2mil is $320,000 leaving the poor heirs only $1.68mil to quibble over…how will they ever get along?

  14. 61

    Donnageddon spews:

    Eat the rich. They are high in fiber and healthy Omega-3 fatty acids.

    I recommend a wild greens and rasberry vinegret salad and a red wine with a spicy bouquet.

    Some cuts may be stringy and tough, a tenderizer of your choice is optional.

  15. 62

    Alan spews:

    G Davis @ 13

    You’ve got a point. Redistributionist tax schemes are unnecessary to prevent excessive concentration of wealth and power in a few families. Fratricide will accomplish the same thing.

  16. 64

    Rush spews:

    9. Terry J. : great points. trouble is, libs like Goldy think government should get ALL your money. there are just so many “troubles” they think they can, but don’t, “fix”.

  17. 66

    RDC spews:

    Marks…cogito ergo sum.

    I hadn’t imagined that Goldy would move so quickly during a nice spring weekend. Back to a few ideas on FP: economic, energy, physical, intellectual security…globalization, resource demands, relative decline, and bad guys realities…and domestic policy as a base for foreign policy, and the interconnectedness of all of these. For example, globalization. What are some of the problems we need to overcome if we want to prosper in this brave new world? One problem is ignorance. While much, perhaps most, of the rest of the world is getting more knowledgable about almost everything, we seem, as a people, to be becoming less knowledgable. My premise is that if we are to deal successfully with the world, we need to know as much as we can about the world. All of us, not just a few leaders in business, politics, and academia. This is based on the belief that an informed citizenry is necessary to maintain a democracy and quite possibly the freedoms in the Bill of Rights. As a part of domestic policy, foreign language study should be a prerequisite for a college degree. For every college degree. The irony is that this used to be a common thing, but as it became more and more important, it became less and less required. If you have studied another language, you know that it is not only that language you are learning, but also more about your own. The study of language necessarily entails the study of other cultures. I won’t go on about this, but dispelling ignorance about the world among all groups of Americans is an important task for all levels of government, and in a world where we are increasingly dependent on other countries, necessary for citizens to understand and support or reject FP initiatives. Language study isn’t of course the only way to enlighten the public. My point is that education about the world outside our borders must become an important objective for government, labor unions, trade associations, you name it, if we are to coninue to be a vital force in the world. Military might alone won’t suffice. That should be enough to get started.

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    The badly worded last sentence has no link to military might; just a reference to some thoughts to start a discussion. The weekend was good, but tiring.

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    Fairly or not, I am attributing my lack of eloquence in 19 to fatigue. An additional comment on eradicating ignorance as a part of foreign policy, I think a reasonable goal is to try to achieve among the citizenry here a level of sophistication about what is going on in the world similar to that in western Europe
    (old Europe, as the disgrace at Defense puts it). Opinions here may still differ from prevailing thought there, because our history, heritage, and interests are different, but my reasoning is based on the observation that the world today is as tightly knit for most purposes as Europe was as recently as 40 years ago. Except for military action and surface shipping time, the oceans have become no more than rivers flowing through our commercial and intellectual worlds. Somehow, we have to break out of the intellectual smugness our relative geographical isolation has fostered. If we don’t, someone will write a non-fiction series of books that really are scary, and title them the Left Behind books.

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    marks spews:


    Before I get into the new world order according to me (there is not much I can add, but I will try to keep up with you, at least), E.J. Dionne had an interesting, and mostly accurate column (IMO, of course):
    The party’s agenda on Social Security, judges and the Terri Schiavo case is out of touch with where moderate voters stand.

    While I do not typically subscribe to E.J.’s usual view of the political world, I would say that on two of the three above, I agree. The jury is still out on SS reform, since I have little clue as to what the actual proposal is beyond the speculation dished out as news. Tierney at NYT was quite bullish on accounts today.

    I honestly never gave globalization any thought before, so when I am confronted by my own ignorance, I usually ask questions. Occasionally I find the answer really is in the question:

    I am not about to defend the person on the street who gets stopped by the Tonight Show crew and when asked a simple question like “Who is the Secretary of Defense?” fails to respond correctly (I will laugh derisively, thus keeping me from crying). For many people, why would they care who Rummy is? Does he feed them or pay them? It is simply not something a “regular” person does (making me weird, I guess). Is this good, or better yet, does this speak to the nature of our citizens, that we are either so lazy or uncaring that we would just as soon look to our next iced tea as pay attention to the wide world?

    To put it one way, it seems we are a nation of snapshot taking tourists in a world full of video cameras. This is proven daily in our news programming. If there is a story in Rome that does not involve a dead Pope or his successor, I would not be able to find it, since I do not know Italian (and my Latin is paltry beyond e pluribus unum and cogito, ergo sum). Has Berlusconi’s government fallen? Why should I care?

    The trend I am getting at is that we don’t care enough about the world at-large in the same way we don’t care about our Federal Government. We elect people to take care of the day-to-day operation of it, but once we delve into minutia that does not seem to affect us anymore, it becomes a chore. Hence, Rummy becomes “that guy on TV that everyone says bad things about.”

    To reverse that would be great, but as I recall from my US and World History classes a couple of decades ago, keeping people awake in order to teach something is not likely to succeed unless the phrasing is on the level of “Will this affect my paycheck?” The answer should be “Yes.”

    Glad you enjoyed your weekend. Now, what did I do with my iced tea?

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    Tierney’s article was a propaganda piece. The WP weekly edition for last week ran articles on the Chilean and British plans. The Chilean plan is apparently a hot item in their upcoming election; raising the retirement age is one option to reduce the spiralling costs. The guy Tierney used as his model does not represent the “typical” Chilean pensioner, nor has the Chilean economy resembled ours. As the economy there is maturing, growth is slowing, as would be expected. The British system, which was put in under Thatcher, is more like what Bush is proposing (I think…as you note, he’s not been very clear about his plan). It has not been successful, and the government there is now trying to modify it to be more like ours, as I read things.

    If I had read your comment “Who Cares?” forty years ago, I would have largely agreed. But the times they are a changin’..or already have. Perhaps I, not possible…perhaps you misread my comments. The key isn’t up-to-the-minute knowledge of political affairs in all the legislatures in all the capitols of the world. The key is in understanding the cultures of others and understanding that our position relative to the rest of the world has and continues to change in dramatic ways. As a people, we need to be better informed, not with minutia, but with developments that can affect us. To demonstate that we are a nation of overfed and indolent sheep one need look no further than Vietnam and Iraq.
    Your point about not caring unless one is directly affected is a good one. There are likely many now displaced from employment Americans who never cared about Indian economic trends until the pink slip came. This is where I think leadership has failed; leadership in labor, busines, and government. Market forces will not save us any more than our military will. Education is the responsibility of those in leadership. We recognize this with the very young and make schooling mandatory. I know that you can’t make a horse drink when you get him to the water, but leadership can at least get him to
    the water. Or iced tea, as the case may be.

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    In today’s NYT is an article on page A8 with the headline US Considers Toughening Its Stance Against Venezuela. This would make a good vehicle for transitioning the discussion on engagement with the world. Have I mentioned that the NYT is the world’s best newspaper? With middle-of-the-road views, to boot?

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    marks spews:

    bashing gays at MS might be fun.
    Shame! How intolerant of you…
    On Latin, I forgot about veni, vidi, vici and semper fidelis…

    I do not think I was too far off the reservation. It is simple enough to say we should understand the people we interact with, yet the opposite would be the case when it comes to implementation, I think. Just how large in scope is your vision for engendering cultural understanding? It seems it may be a generational transition, from my point of view. Leadership is difficult to find, nowadays, and there are plenty of people who will refuse to adapt. I guess they would be amongst the first left behind…

    With your knowledge of East Asian history, however far removed it is, I would surmise that you may see the present situation in China a bit differently than I. I see the Chinese leadership allowing protests against Japan and think Beijing is losing the grip it had on its populace. Perhaps you see it differently? Is it nothing beyond a gambit at keeping Japan off the UN Security Council?

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    The Chilean government, democratically elected, has launched a major long term initiative to make the country bilingual, in the sense that all students in all schools will be taught English. We waste billions for useless military battleships; we certainly can spend money on educating the populace about world affairs. We currently have national leadership with a vested interest in keeping the people ignorant, so the first order of business is to change the leadership.

    The Chinese government is very corrupt, but in control. Don’t think of the government as communist. The Chinese have never been big on ideology; think pragmatism. The singular goal of the leadership, which fits in well with the ancient notion of the Middle Kingdom, is to become a world power to rival or exceed the US. The government there doesn’t have to do much to get people to protest the Japanese..the Japanese were quilty of horrendous crimes against the Chinese in the 30s and 40s. The protests are a kind of shot across the bow. More on this as we move along. I’m out tomorrow, but should get something posted in the evening.

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    A change of plans finds me here (briefly). Apologies for an almost incoherent post at 28. The lesson is, never write more than two sentences when rushed.

    Re leadership and education…although not entirely analogous, the change in attitude and habits about smoking in America is an example of what can happen when leadership from a number of organizations commit themselves to a concerted effort. Of course, there are still people who smoke, and some who even dispute that smoking is harmful, but overall there has been a massive shift to the good in the last 25 years. Lobbying for the good is a legitimate government function…check out the preamble to the Constitution.

    An article in the NYT this morning speculates that the anti-Japan protests in China may reflect a power struggle within the governing group there. An editorial in a state run Shanghai newspaper yesterday condemned the protests, while other factions in the government seem to have encouraged the protests. I wouldn’t consider this a sign of the government losing control, though. If there is a massive uprising in the making in China, it is much more likely to come from the rural interior than from the urban east, because of the great disparity in benefits reaped from China’s adoption of and adapting to capitalism. But the government has the firepower to quell any foreseeable rebellion. The civil war that brought Mao to power occurred in circumstances which do not exist today. More later.

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    marks spews:

    I had read about the rape of Nanking. I also read not too long ago that Iris Chang had taken her own life. She had authored a book on it in the 90s. The horror of the crimes conducted and her research of them has lead to speculation that she could not deal with it.

    No, I never think of China as communist in the USSR sense. I think of them as totalitarian more than anything else. Oligarchy is the better term, perhaps.

    On engagement, which seems to tie in closely with knowledge of the culture you are dealing with, I would gather that one size does not fit all. Engagement with Canada is not the same as Mexico, yet we have NAFTA. The EU’s conglomeration of nations poses some interesting questions, such as what use is NATO?

    I have to cut short here. Got things to do, but will try to post before I go to sleep.

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    Maddening, isn’t it? I’ve never gone into the archives, but if this thread runs out before Goldy releases your comment, I’ll give it a try. Otherwise, after your reply appears, I’ll meet you for a drink.

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    Interesting that engagement with other countries was what I was also thinking about. I am out all day tomorrow; may comment in the evening…very likely a liberal drink will be on order by then. BTW, China is not totalitarian; rather, it is closer to authoritarian. I’m not sure that that really matters much, but there is a distinction.

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    Marks…David Brooks today in the NYT has a different take on China. He’s wrong…a not unusual event. I’ll elaborate later.