Tuesday, October 30, 2012

October Surprise: The Un-making Of An American President


Ambassador Christopher Stevens

Political pundits have been warning about an October surprise that could affect the outcome of the presidential election. But this year's October surprise may have been the 9/11 murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, along with three other Americans, and President Obama's deceitful, cowardly response. 

The fallout is the collapse of the false narrative that the assassination of bin Laden brought finality to Muslim threats, the proof of the failure of President Obama's Middle East policy, and the cover- up. A cover-up is a bad act or false statement followed by an effort to conceal or mislead public knowledge.

If Americans needed more proof that Barack Hussein Obama is a radical Muslim Marxist terrorist operating from the people’s Oval Office, they now have it in the Benghazi story.

What we now know about September 11th events in Benghazi Libya is far from what the Obama administration has been telling us about the events of that day for the last several weeks.
Obama got away with his war on Libya without congressional approval because no Americans were killed. Now four Americans have been killed. The 9/11 attack in Benghazi, Libya was a pre-planned, calculated, organized, military-style assault on U.S. territory and personnel. But the Obama administration persisted for two weeks in spinning the fairy tale that it was just the spontaneous outburst of a mob angry about an anti-Muslim video.


The lies about Benghazi are so numerous that one would have to re-play the large numbers of video to chronicle them all, so let’s see what I’ve been able to obtain. The kist of lies are as follows:

·   The Obama administration said they had no prior warning of the attacks on Benghazi – LIE
·    They said the attacks were due to a protest – LIE
      They said the protest was a reaction to a totally obscure YouTube video – LIE
      They said that they did not know what happened for more than 17 days after – LIE
     They said that they had nothing to do with that YouTube video – LIE
     They said they were confused by a “fog of war” – LIE
     They said it was not a terrorist attack – LIE
      They said it had nothing to do with Obama foreign policy – LIE
·    They said they had bad intelligence – LIE
     They said they didn’t have the funds for more security – LIE
    They said they didn’t know who killed our Americans – LIE
     They said Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood were not involved – LIE
    They said that Obama was not directly involved – LIE
    They said that concerned people were “politicizing Benghazi” – LIE
     They said that they didn’t arm the people who killed four Americans – LIE
     They said they did all they could do – LIE

On Sept. 16, the Obama administration sent U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice onto five Sunday TV programs to redundantly present the party line that the torching of the consulate and murder of the U.S. Ambassador were merely an angry mob reaction to an anti-Islam video made in the U.S. Rice called the event “spontaneous”, not a premeditated response" that seemed "to have been hijacked" by "extremists who came with heavier weapons."

Jay Carney
White House spokesman Jay Carney insisted on Sept. 14 that the attack was all about an anti-Muslim video saying, "We have no information to suggest that it was a pre-planned attack." He spent eight days denying the obvious before he admitted that the label of terrorism was "self-evident." When Obama spoke to the United Nations on Sept. 25, he announced, "the vision we will support." Expressing "outrage" at the anti- Islam video (which he mentioned six times), but not at the terrorists or violent enemies of the United States, Obama proclaimed that "the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam." Islam."


Candy Crowley
In an emotional pitch to the U.N. Obama announced that it's the world's duty to condemn the video Obama and Administration spokesmen almost sounded like they were empathizing with the rioters, and that it must be our fault for allowing a video to be shown that hurt the rioter's feelings. Mitt Romney challenged Obama on the Libyan attack in the second presidential debate on Oct. 16 Obama responded by claiming he had called it a "terror" event the day after it happened, after which moderator Candy Crowley showed her bias by immediately backing up his statement.


The original unclassified Benghazi cables covering more than twelve months leading up to Benghazi prove that the Obama administration is full of bold faced liars, at a minimum. An Executive Brief covers the period leading up to the events of 9-11-12.

The House Committee on Oversight of Government Reform is asking questions that they already know the answers to and in case you are wondering why nobody is taking any serious action on the Obama massacre in Benghazi, it’s because many Washington DC politicians have American blood on their hands, see for yourself in the video below.

Since we covered the Benghazi tragedy and unclassified cables long before information was reported by FOX News and ignored by every other mainstream press room busy campaigning for Barack Obama, much more damning information is emerging.

The facts are starting to support a theory that the Obama administration might have been much worse than inept. The facts are adding up to blatant treason by the Obama administration in Benghazi, possibly setting up Benghazi for death and destruction as a campaign stunt to win re-election.

Fact checkers emphatically pointed out Obama had made a vague reference to unspecified "acts of terror" in his Sept. 12 Rose Garden remarks, but he absolutely did not apply the "T" word to the fatal Benghazi attack. It took Obama two weeks to admit that we had suffered another deliberate enemy attack, meanwhile whining that suggestions that he would "mislead is offensive." suggestions that he would "mislead is offensive."

Obama spent more time discussing the evils of the video than castigating any particular violent attack from the Muslim world. He said Ambassador Stevens was "killed" in Benghazi without mentioning who murdered him much less labeling them as terrorists. Obama is deeply committed to the myth of a liberating "Arab Spring" and "the forces of change" to bring about democracy in the Middle East. He seems oblivious to the reality of how his policy of dislodging dictators friendly to the United States, such as in Egypt and Libya, has resulted in rule by Islamist forces who attack and kill Americans. 

The Obama administration has such a long string of lies already in the air on Benghazi that Obama is scared to utter a word on the matter until after the election. They are trapped in their own web of lies and administration rats are looking for cover, exposing Obama to campaign problems if they can’t shut down this story until after the election. 

Hillary Clinton says Have I got a story for you
There is no way that Benghazi was an accident. What happened in Benghazi was a direct result of decisions made by numerous members of the Obama administration, including Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton.
The list of Obama administration officials who should be facing charges of treason today is long and distinguished. But the buck stops with Obama. The Commander-in-Chief was the only administration official with the authority and duty to issue a final order to deploy a defense (or) stand down on Benghazi. Unclassified cables will neither confirm nor refute this fact. But the classified documents that Hillary keeps hinting to would.
CIA officials have publicly stated that it was no one in the CIA who issued any order to “stand down.” Hillary says that she didn’t issue any order to stand down. DoD chief Panetta is also refusing to accept responsibility for standing down in Benghazi… that leaves Obama, the Commander-in-Chief.

Charlene Lamb
The evidence is overwhelming that Ambassador Stevens and his tiny security staff had made repeated requests to the Obama administration for enhanced security and more security staff. Fox News reported 230 prior security incidents in Libya. Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb, who was in charge of diplomatic security, testified on Oct. 10 she had placed "the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon." That doesn't square with the denials of repeated requests for enhanced security measures and staff.

Obama revealed his messianic self- importance in this interview given on New Hampshire Public Radio on Nov. 21, 2007: "The day I'm inaugurated, not only the country looks at itself differently, but the world will looks at America differently. If I'm reaching out to the Muslim world, they understand that I've lived in a Muslim country, and I may be a Christian, but I also understand their point of view." I want a congressional investigations that will keep digging. We all still want to know what Obama and other administration officials know and when they knew it.
With one week to go before the 2012 election, people in DC are running cover and the so-called news media is so focused on campaigning for Obama that they too are responsible, only the American people can hold any of these criminals accountable.

Glen Doherty And Tyrone Woods: The Disobedient Heros
The American people will get only ONE chance to politically correct them all on November 6, 2012.
If they have the courage and honor to remove these criminals from power on November 6th, they should demand treason charges be filed against a laundry list of Obama officials on the morning of November 7th.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Some Budget And Tax Reality" Numbers Don't Lie

The U.S. has never before had a President who thinks so little of the American people that he imagines he can win re-election running on the opposite of reality. But that is the reality of President Obama today.
Obama has recently claimed on the campaign stump, (Where else) “That federal spending since he took office has risen at the slowest pace of any President in almost 60 years.”
This was startling to a lot of people, So, I’ve looked into it and found that the president had left out most all of the spending from 2009, the first year of Obama’s Presidency. The President was deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture!  But you know, why would he go out there waiving an article that could immediately be debunked?  Maybe because he thought it was true.  That’s even more alarming, isn’t it? The idea that he knows so little about the effects of his own economic program that he thinks he really is a low spender.”
What this shows most importantly is that the recognition is starting to break through to the general public regarding the President’s rhetorical strategy that I’ve have been calling Calculated Deception.  The latter is deliberately using a misleading argument to paint a false picture.  This has been a central Obama practice not only throughout his entire presidency, but also as the foundation of his 2008 campaign strategy, and actually throughout his whole career.
The President is not as nuts as he may seem at times.  He knows very well that he is not a careful spender.  His whole mission was to transform the U.S. not just a Big Government country, but a Huge Government country, because only a country run by a Huge Government can be satisfactorily controlled by superior, all wise and beneficent individuals like himself.  That is why he is at minimum a Swedish socialist, if not worse.  Notice, though, how far behind the times he and his weak minded supporters are, as even the Swedes have abandoned Swedish socialism as a failure.

The previous administration, or President, proposes a budget.  The previous Congress approved that budget.  And what Congress approves can be radically different from what the President proposes. What people forget (or never knew) is that the first year of every presidential term starts with a budget approved by the previous administration and Congress.
President Bush began a spending spree in his term that erased most of the gains in reduced government spending as a percent of GDP achieved by the Republican Congress in the 1990s led by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in conjunction with President Clinton.  But for fiscal year 2009, President Bush in February, 2008 proposed a budget with just a 3% spending increase over the prior year.  Fiscal year 2009 ran from October 1, 2008 until September 30, 2009.  President Obama’s term began on January 20, 2009.

Nancy Pelosi
Recall, however, that in 2008 Congress was controlled by Democrat majorities, with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and the restless Senator Obama already running for President, just four years removed from his glorious career as a state Senator in the Illinois legislature.  

The budget approved and implemented by Pelosi, Obama and the rest of the Congressional Democrat majorities provided for a 17.9 percent increase in spending for fiscal 2009!

So actually, President Obama and the Democrats were even more deeply involved in the fiscal 2009 spending explosion than that.  The Democrat Congress [in 2008], confident Obama was going to win in 2008, passed only three of fiscal 2009’s 12 appropriations bills (Defense, Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Homeland Security).  The Democrat Congress passed the rest of them in 2009, and President Obama signed them.”  So Obama played a very direct role in the runaway fiscal 2009 spending explosion.

Note as well that President Reagan didn’t just go along with the wild spending binge of the previous Democratic Congress for fiscal year 1981 when he came into office on January 20 of that year.  Almost no one remembers now the much vilified at the time 1981 Reagan budget cuts, his first major legislative initiative. 

Then Democrat Rep. Phil Gramm joined with Ohio Republican Del Latta to push through the Democratic House $31 billion in Reagan proposed budget cuts to the fiscal year 1981 budget, which totaled $681 billion, resulting in a cut of nearly 5% in that budget.  Obama could have done the exact same thing when he entered office in January, 2009, even more so with the Congress totally controlled by his own party at the time.

Reagan then ramped up the spending cuts from there.  In nominal terms, non-defense discretionary spending actually declined by 7.1% from 1981 to 1982.  But roaring inflation at the time actually masks the true magnitude of the Reagan spending cut achievement.  In constant dollars, non-defense discretionary spending declined by 14.4% from 1981 to 1982, and by 16.8% from 1981 to 1983.  Moreover, in constant dollars, this non-defense discretionary spending never returned to its 1981 level for the rest of Reagan’s two terms!  By 1988, this spending was still down 14.4% from its 1981 level in constant dollars.
Even with the Reagan defense buildup, which, remember, won the Cold War without firing a shot, total federal spending as a percent of GDP declined from a high of 23.5% of GDP in 1983 to 21.3% in 1988 and 21.2% in 1989.  That’s a real reduction in the size of government relative to the economy of 10%, a huge achievement.
In sharp contrast to Reagan, Obama’s first major legislative initiative was the so-called stimulus, which increased future federal spending by nearly a trillion dollars, the most expensive legislation in history up till that point.  We know now, as thinking people knew at the time, that this record shattering spending bill only stimulated government spending, deficits and debt.  Contrary to official Democrat Keynesian witchcraft, you don’t promote economic recovery, growth and prosperity by borrowing a trillion dollars out of the economy to spend a trillion dollars back into it.

But this was just a warm up for Obama’s Swedish socialism.  Obama worked with Pelosi’s Democratic Congress to pass an additional, $410 billion, supplemental spending bill for fiscal year 2009, which was too much even for big spending President Bush, who had specifically rejected it in 2008.  Next in 2009 came a $40 billion expansion in the SCHIP entitlement program, as if we didn’t already have way more than too much entitlement spending.
But those were just the preliminaries for the biggest single spending bill in world history, Obamacare, enacted in March, 2010.  That legislation is not yet even counted in Obama’s spending record so far because it mostly does not go into effect until 2014.  But it is now scored by CBO as increasing federal spending by $3.7 trillion in the first 10 years alone, with trillions more to come in future years.
After just one year of the Obama spending binge, federal spending had already rocketed to 25.2% of GDP, the highest in American history except for World War II.  That compares to 20.8% in 2008, and an average of 19.6% during Bush’s two terms.  The average during President Clinton’s two terms was 19.8%, and during the 60-plus years from World War II until 2008 — 19.7%.  Obama’s own fiscal 2013 budget released in February projects the average during the entire 4 years of the Obama Administration to come in at 26.4% in just a few months.  That budget shows federal spending increasing from $2.983 trillion in 2008 to an all time record $3.796 trillion in 2012, an increase of 27.3%.
Moreover, before Obama there had never been a deficit anywhere near $1 trillion.  The highest previously was $458 billion, or less than half a trillion, in 2008. The federal deficit for the last budget adopted by a Republican controlled Congress was $161 billion for fiscal year 2007.  But the budget deficits for Obama’s four years were reported in Obama’s own 2013 budget as $1.413 trillion for 2009, $1.293 trillion for 2010, $1.3 trillion for 2011, and $1.327 trillion for 2012, four years in a row of deficits of $1.3 trillion or more, the highest in world history.
President Obama’s own 2013 budget shows that as a result federal debt held by the public will double during Obama’s four years as President.  That means in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior Presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined.
Paul Ryan
But this 2012 election is defined for the voters by the future, not the past.  And that future is fully revealed by the stark contrast between President Obama’s spending, deficits and debt projected under his proposed 2013 budget, and the projections under House Budget Committee Chairman and VP candidate Paul Ryan’s budget, adopted by the Republican House, and endorsed by presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Despite all the controversy in Washington and in the media over Ryan’s budget, what it all adds up to is just to restore federal spending to its long term, postwar, historical average of 20% of GDP.  That stable level of federal spending, with some modest variance, prevailed for over 60 years after the end of World War II, until 2009.  Ryan’s budget reduces federal spending from an average of 26.4% of GDP during the Obama years to 20.1% after just 3 years, by 2015.
By contrast, under the budget policies supported by President Obama and Congressional Democrats, federal spending soars to 30% of GDP by 2027, 40% by 2040, 50% by 2060, and 80% by 2080.  Obama’s 2013 budget proposes to spend $47 trillion over the next 10 years, the most in world history by far, increasing federal spending by $1.5 trillion above the current CBO baseline.  Ryan’s budget proposes to cut that by $6.8 trillion.  By 2022, Ryan’s budget would be spending nearly a trillion dollars less per year than President Obama’s budget.
Ryan proposes tax reform to consolidate the current 6 individual income tax rates, ranging up to 35%, to just two rates of 10% and 25%.  His budget would otherwise retain the Bush tax rates of 15% for capital gains and 15% for corporate dividends, and repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.  Ryan also proposes corporate tax reform, closing loopholes and reducing the federal corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, which is roughly the international average.  CBO scores these reforms, even with the rate cuts, as again restoring federal revenues to their long term, postwar, historical average of 18.3% of GDP by 2015.
Obama’s budget, in sharp contrast, proposes to increase federal taxes by nearly $2 trillion over the next 10 years above the CBO baseline.  The budget projects that under Obama’s tax policies federal income tax revenues will double by 2020, federal corporate tax revenues will double by 2017, and federal payroll taxes will double by 2022.
Next year, under President Obama’s policies, the top tax rates of virtually every major federal tax are already scheduled to increase under current law.  That is because the Obamacare tax increases are scheduled to go into effect, and the Bush tax cuts expire, which President Obama proposes refuses to renew for singles making over $200,000 a year, and couples making over $250,000.  President Obama is now proposing on top of that the Buffett Rule, which would increase tax rates on capital gains and dividends even further.  Counting that, next year the top tax rate for capital gains would increase by 100%, the top tax rate on corporate dividends would increase by 100%, the top two income tax rates would increase by nearly 20%, and the Medicare payroll tax again for singles making over $200,000 and couples making over $250,000 would increase by 62% (under Obamacare).
This is all on top of the corporate income tax rate, which counting state corporate rates is nearly 40%, the highest in the world now, except for the socialist one party state of Cameroon.  Under the Buffett Rule, America’s capital gains tax rate would be the fourth highest in the industrialized world.  Based on historical precedent, these tax rate increases are unlikely to raise anywhere near the revenue projected by CBO, meaning even higher future deficits and debt.
Under Ryan’s budget, even with CBO’s static scoring, the federal deficit in actual nominal dollars would be reduced to $182 billion by 2017, the fifth year of the budget.  That compares to $1,327 billion, or $1.327 trillion, today.  So in just 5 years, the deficit would be reduced by at least 86%.  
The deficit under Ryan’s budget would be less than 1% of GDP by 2017, at 0.9%, where it stabilizes for 6 years to the end of the 10 year budget window.  Most importantly, given the sharp tax rate cuts in Ryan’s budget, with dynamic scoring the budget would probably be balanced by 2017.  That is because in the real world the rate cuts will not lose nearly as much revenue as CBO scores.
Under President Obama’s budget, his own projections show the deficit never gets anywhere near balance.  Indeed, the deficit never gets below or anywhere near the former all time record in 2008.  By 2022, his own budget projects the deficit rising over the previous 5 years to $704 billion.  But if Obama’s comprehensive tax rate increases throw the country back into recession next year, the deficits will soar much higher for several years, to new all time records.
Even under CBO’s horse and buggy static scoring, Ryan’s budget does serve to get federal debt under control and avoid any debt crisis, putting federal debt held by the public on a declining path from 77% of GDP in 2013 to 62% by 2022.  That debt continues on a sharp decline from there, as the long term effects of Ryan’s structural entitlement reforms phase in.  Debt held by the public is reduced to 53% of GDP by 2030, 38% by 2040, and 10% by 2050.  That means the national debt is all but paid off by 2050, and would be soon thereafter.  In fact, under dynamic scoring it probably would be paid off by then.
In stark contrast, on our current course, under President Obama’s budget policies, federal debt held by the public rockets to 140% of GDP by 2030, 220%by 2040, and 320% by 2050, on its way to over 700% by 2080.  That would undoubtedly create a Grecian style sovereign debt crisis for America before that point.
So which course will you choose America? Do we become Somalia? Or, Do we become America? Once again? Your vote will decide who we become on November 6, next month; Don’t throw it away re-electing what doesn't work.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Cost Of Dying In 2013; It's more than you think

The New Face Of Tax Collectors
The 2001 tax relief bill (EGTRRA), drastically reduced the impact of the death tax over the course of a decade, so that it was eliminated entirely for one year in 2010, a good year to die. The bill lowered marginal rates and increased the applicable exclusion amount, but it also included a provision allowing individuals to carry over exclusion dollars that were unused by their spouse at the time of the rich persons death. This “portability” measure effectively increased the applicable exclusion for many households, in some instances putting millions of dollars beyond the reach of the federal government.

The death tax rose from the grave at the end of 2010, with a Bush-era top rate of 35% and an applicable exclusion amount of $5 million ($5.12 million in 2012).

Scheduled Changes

In 2013, the death tax will revert to its antiquated, pre-2001 form. The applicable exclusion amount will plummet to $1,000,000, and the top marginal rate will leap twenty points to 55%. A 5% surtax will also return, to be levied on estates between $10 million and $17 million. This raises the top effective rate of the death tax to 60%.

ATRF Analysis

According to research by the Tax Policy Center, if the current death tax expires, then the resulting, stricter exemption threshold will force 114,600 estates to file for the tax in 2013 — this represents a 13-fold increase from the previous year’s 8,800 estates, and countless wasted hours filling out tax paperwork. Of that cohort, an unfortunate 52,500 will be liable for the tax, way up from 3,300.
Milton Friedman
While those 52,500 taxpayers only represent 2% of those who die each year, no one should be fooled into thinking that the effects of this tax fall only on the proverbial “one percent.” The economic incidence of the death tax is far broader, because it causes many wealthy individuals to save less, choosing instead to retire early or, as Milton Friedman put it, “dissipate their wealth on high living.” This reduction in savings means a concomitant reduction in investment, lessening the flow of capital to businesses and organizations where countless ordinary Americans are employed.

Additionally, use of estate planning lawyers, life insurance trusts, and inter vivos gifting (all common practice in upper-income circles) allows many wealthy individuals to minimize their estate liability, so that the death tax ends up harming only those who could not or chose not to navigate a maze of legal loopholes. 

 Must view this video to better understand the gravity of our future tax burden

This is how the government takes the bulk of your money after you're dead

But the ills of a 55% death tax are not just speculative. Prior to 2001, when the death tax stood at 55%, a 1994 study by the Tax Foundation found that a 55% estate tax “has roughly the same effect on entrepreneurial incentives as a doubling of income tax rates.” The same death tax today, then, would have similar decision-distorting economic effects as an 80% income tax on affected parties. A 1992 study that was generally pro-redistribution piled on, finding that the paperwork and compliance costs of the estate tax largely cancelled out any revenue raised from the tax.

This consistent finding, that the death tax is effectively revenue neutral, and is a net economic drain exposes the class warfare aims of death tax advocates. The other reasons listed merely reinforce the point: that the death tax increase should be vigorously opposed.

A recent report from the Tax Foundation about the Estate (aka Death) Tax is receiving some publicity for the small amount of actual tax dollars at stake, as well as the fact that it costs more to enforce the laws than the tax generates. 
In a sane world, this would motivate our rulers to dispense with the Death Tax as too inefficient.  That misses the real reason behind the Estate Tax.
As I have been explaining for quite sometime now, two of the main planks of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto are Heavy Progressive Income Tax and Abolition of all rights of inheritance.  Both of these concepts are part of the DemonRat agenda, which is itself almost indistinguishable from Marx’s. 
However, the real world experience is that neither one of these concepts generates more money for the government.  Higher marginal tax rates actually result in less economic activity and less overall tax revenue, while lower rates encourage people to work more, with much higher revenues to the Treasury as a result. 

                          Why don't liberals understand this?

So why would the Dims be against higher government revenues?  It’s found in the first plank of the Communist Manifesto, Abolition of Private Property.  Their overall goal is to reduce the amount of wealth in private hands.  They would rather confiscate 90% of everyone’s income and have less government money than only take 15% with higher government revenues, because the latter would leave 85% of the income in private hands. Did you get that? Progressive liberals hate the fact that you are allowed to keep any of your money, so they invent slogans like "Pay your fair share and Tax the rich, feed the poor". 
The same goes for the Estate Tax.  They welcome any chance to reduce the amount of wealth in private ownership and couldn’t care less if it costs the government two dollars for every dollar they can confiscate from private owners.  Communism has never been a logical system, nor can it ever be, even in the hands of our supposed messiah, Barrack Hussein Obama, and his gang of Fellow Travelers.
While critics have dismissed Sarah Palin's "death panels" to dole out medical care as fiction, a tax loophole may in fact give the heirs of some wealthy people a financial incentive to make this new year their loved one's last.

For example, a wealthy person who dies on December 31, 2012, and left her heirs $10 million would really be leaving them $5.05 million because of taxes. If they died a day later, the heirs could receive less than 14% of the $10 million.

Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman appears to be the first to explain the potential pitfall for some elderly individuals, writing in May 2001 in the New York Times that it should have been called the "Throw Momma From the Train Act of 2001."

Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Since then other economists have noted the impact tax changes might bring, including bestselling authors Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner, who wrote in SuperFreakonomics that it would mean heirs would want their benefactors to make it to 2010, but not beyond.

"With this incentive, it's not hard to imagine such heirs giving their parent the best medical care money could buy, at least through the end of the year. Indeed, two Australian scholars found that when their nation abolished its inheritance tax in 1979, a disproportionately high number of people died in the week after the abolition as compared with the week before.

Not So Fast

Roberton Williams
To be sure, Congress could enact legislation to reinstate the estate tax and make it retroactive to the start of the year, so the notion of a wealthy family receiving a windfall by having a relative die in 2010 might be moot. But while many expect that to happen, "I thought there was no way we'd get to this point without having done something about 2010," said Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center of the Urban Institute.

Although he said the estate tax would likely be restored in some form, part of the problem may be legislative priorities.

"If there are other issues like health care reform or cap and trade, this is relatively small potatoes, so who's going to use what political leverage is the name of the game."

Still, Williams said, people wanting to off themselves for their heirs' sake may want to make sure they make it far enough in this year to ensure nothing changes the law where they will be taxed anyway. "Death is a rather permanent thing," he said.

The estate tax has been a contentious issue, as it is perceived by some as a "double tax" -- since some assets are being taxed that were taxed previously.
Advocates of the tax point out that it only affects the wealthiest, and it prevents people from accumulating a windfall simply because their parents were wealthy.

Either eliminating the tax permanently or reinstating it would avoid the issue with the law as it stands now, but debate seems to have put it in place.
In 2001, a largely Republican coalition tried to repeal the estate tax permanently, but their majority could not get the bill past a filibuster, and so instead the changes were put into the tax code, meaning they had to be revisited after 10 years. So a gradual phase-out (done to keep some revenue flowing into the budget) and finally full repeal in 2010 would be reinstated in 2011.

"They anticipated that somewhere during the 10-year window they would just go back and repeal it completely," said Williams. "When they did this in the first place, they never thought 2010 would come around as being the only year. It was not intended that way; it was forced up on them by parliamentary rules in the Senate."

Indeed, it does not seem there was too much concern over the law when it came about.

Dr. Paul McHugh
Dr. Paul McHugh, the former chairman of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, served on the President's Council on Bioethics under Bush. He said that while the idea that people would attempt to die by Dec. 31, 2012 to avoid a tax was discussed casually by members, it was never part of official meetings.

"We certainly didn't discuss this in a serious fashion," said McHugh. "There was a kind of presumption that the idea that taxing people again and again would eventually be seen as unfair."

"They thought that was going to be an unstable proposition," he said of the tax law, adding that he feels "It's going to be hard to bring it back without something of a fuss."

The estate tax only affects the wealthiest; roughly 1 person in 400 pays the estate tax when they die, and only about 5,500 estates are expected to owe estate taxes this year, according to the Tax Policy Institute.

Heirs Of A Fortune After The Estate Tax Was Paid
However, the concern illuminates an issue faced by many at the end of life, who are concerned that the resources they consume to extend their lives may diminish what they can leave for their children.

"These are the kinds of pressures people can feel," said McHugh, although as a staunch opponent of physician-assisted suicide, he said it was not a justification for taking one's life. "This death with dignity idea is made even more ridiculous in that this is death for dollars."

Generational Tension

People respond to the pressure of what they leave to their children differently.
"For some people it's a major concern, for some people it's totally irrelevant," "It depends on the character of the person, and their priority and values."

But would some people's concern for their children cause them to somehow arrange to die during a year with no estate taxes? I don't think that many people would resort to physician-assisted suicide to escape the estate tax.

"You can easily imagine the hypothesis, but there's no evidence supporting the notion that would happen. It's very hard to imagine people doing that for money.

But some say that the lack of an estate tax may give some who are clinging on to life just another reason to check out early. Eileen Fitzpatrick is an attorney and coauthor with her sister Jeanne, who is a physician, of "A Better Way of Dying" A book that deals with decisions to avoid life-saving measures (but not euthanasia) in order to avoid living beyond the time one wants to. She explained that many who die in 2010 of their own accord would likely die from choosing to avoid certain treatments rather than actively attempting suicide.

"People at the end of life reach a point where extending life ceases to be a good thing for that person because the quality of life has so degraded that quality of life has become miserable," Fitzpatrick said.