I’m long been an opponent of the death tax. I believe if a ranching family has worked hard their entire lives to pay off their debts, amass some land and pay taxes on those acres throughout their lives, it’s both an insult and a painful blow to be taxed once again upon the death of the patriarch of the family. He’s paid his dues to Uncle Sam; now let his legacy continue for the next generation.
In recent weeks, I’ve blogged my support of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) media campaign promoting comprehensive tax reform. With five videos featuring ranchers’ personal testimonies about how the death tax has impact them, it’s a good reminder to me that we must continue the fight to repeal the death tax to protect family ranches and agricultural businesses.
According to NCBA, new comprehensive tax reform legislation may be introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives next week, which will launch the conversation about repealing the death tax. We know that President Donald Trump is in favor of eradicating this antiquated taxation, so I’m hoping that Congress follows suit.
However, not all BEEF readers may be in agreement with my stance on the issue. I can recognize that there are two sides to this discussion, and many argue that the death tax impacts such a small percentage of ranching families that it is not really a major cause for concern. Instead, if we really want to help those in production agriculture, we should focus on issues like health care, for example.
Recently, I received an email from a reader who offered another take on the discussion of the death tax. The reader said he would much prefer to pay taxes when he is dead rather than when he is alive. He argued that while he supports Trump’s tax overhaul, he says he worries about the increase in deficits and government overspending.
He adds, “Just because Mom and Dad work from sunup to sundown doesn’t mean Junior is entitled to anything, including inheriting the family farm or family business. If it is important to the kids to maintain a family legacy, let them take out a mortgage and scrimp and save just like their parents did. They will still have it much easier than Mom and Dad did with the leg up that is being given. I don’t want a system like Great Britain’s with its ‘landed gentry,’ where my lineage guarantees my lifestyle.
“We are a country of doers. Of workers. Of builders. If the next generation isn’t willing to sacrifice to maintain family assets, maybe they should sell them. We take out student loans to get through college and spend years paying them back so we can reap the benefits of an education, so why not the same with the family business? If it is important enough to them, they will do it through their hard work, not through their entitlement.”
My question of the day is what is your view on the death tax, and why do you feel the way you do? I would love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.