Thursday, July 15, 2010

Why Oligarchs Like Estate Taxes

One thing that needs to be understood about oligarchs is that they are accumulators of assets and businesses. If it throws off huge cash flow, they want it. It is not for entertainment value that Warren Buffett in each issue of Berkshire Hathaway's annual report announces that he is looking to buy businesses.

What does this have to do with estate taxes? Many of the great family businesses of all time have been put  on the market for oligarchs to swoop up because of estate taxes.

A case in point, that turned out okay, is the recent death of majority New York Yankees owner, George Steinbrenner. Because he died this year, when there is a fluke no active estate tax, the family will be able to hold on to his stake in the Yankees and keep it a family business. If he had died, the year before, or even worse, next year, the estate tax bill would be horrendous, over $500 million. The family would have been forced to sell. Most likely into the hands of an oligarch, maybe even Buffett.


  1. When the corporation gained person hood through the 14th amendment, if memory serves, the wealth of the owner could be passed to the receiver (Family) with no death tax.

    Having a death tax ensured a frugal man could not leave his money / business to his family thus distroying the ethic of hard work building a family estate.

    The solution is to have a corporation but the average man cannot cope with the regulations and knows not of all the loop holes.

    An off shoot of the Radical Republican Party of the 1860's and the War to Prevent Southern Independance.

  2. RW, this is pretty good conspiracy talk, but did you like the theory I repeated on my blog a while back? It ran like this:

    Back in the early 1900s, the powerful families were behind the creation of the income tax and the Fed. They put their own estates in a "dynastic trust," also called a "100-year-trust," where they would be shielded from estate taxes that were systematically knee-capping any rival families.

    But the problem is that after a 100 years, they would have to roll the assets over. What to do?? Why, conveniently arrange for a one-year moratorium on estate taxes, say in the year 2010.

    You like?

  3. The oligarchs are also in favor of throwing the masses off their scent by advocating taxes for the "rich"...of course they love to define the "rich" as those with INCOME in 100k-500k range. Sure these people are doing better than 98% of folks...but the truly rich are defined by ASSETS, not income. As soon as you see analysis talking about the relative progressiveness/regressiveness of the Income tax then you can be sure you are reading propaganda.

    Young two-income families wth good incomes are usually highly educated and paying off college debt while buying into a insane housing market, buying lots of food, trying to get good schools, good childcare...and they usually had much lower incomes only a few years earlier as they left grad school. I'm not asking for pity, but geez Buffet sure is concerned about increasing my VAT/Payroll/Food/CO2 and Income taxes while making sure his tax protected corporations and thousands of loopholes are protected. I bet Buffet has his car paid for through tax free corporate money. My 1992 ford ranger breaks down and I pay for the new fuel pump with after-tax money...the banksters aren't paying after-tax for much...only us little people.

  4. @Bob Murphy

    If David Rockefeller "dies" this year, talk to me some more.

  5. Warren Buffett, money-launderer for the Fed. If a bill to audit the Fed ever passes, Berkshire Hathaway's stock price will collapse the same day.

  6. Bob Murphy,

    Do they even need such trusts? The Rothschilds have been through several generations so far, it seems their estates have managed to remain in tact.

    Not saying you're wrong, just wondering out loud (in the noiseless vacuum of the internet).

  7. As someone that made a living dispensing tax advice I can tell you that high income taxes on ordinary income (ie W-2 type) served as a means of corporate wage controls on white collar compensation. OF course, back in the days of the corupt'54 code, to get around these limits companies had liberal expense accounts, company cars, company vacation homes, executive homes, private jets, etc.