This short video will inspire the sighted — what a time to be alive! — and could really improve the lives of the blind. The Orcam is not completely cheap — $2,500 or $3,500 — but, for those who need it, would seem to be a bargain.
Policy is not, at this stage, what people are concerned about with Trump — he is, as so many Republicans have said or signaled, simply unfit to be President. But I can’t resist pointing out Trump’s triply offensive promise Monday to eliminate the estate tax: “No family will have to pay the death tax. American workers have paid taxes their whole lives. It’s just plain wrong and most people agree with that. We will repeal it.”
First off, it’s grossly misleading — basically a lie. A scare tactic. Right now, no family has to pay the tax — 99.8% of estates, or some number like that, escape any taxation. The two-tenths of a per cent that do is essentially a rounding error. And it’s a rounding error that does not apply to “American workers,” none of whom, by the common understanding of “workers,” earns enough to amass an estate of more than $5.4 million. And it’s only to the extent one’s (or one’s and one’s spouse’s) estate exceeds $5.4 million (or $10.8 million (with a simple by-pass trust) that even a dime of estate tax is due. So it’s just bogus. And that’s offensive.
Second, the people within that tiny rounding error it would most benefit are billionheirs — like the Trumps* — who already arguably have it better than they should, given the way Republicans have swung the pendulum ever further in favor of the ultra-wealthy these past 35 years. And that’s offensive.
Finally, it’s just bad policy, both morally and in terms of economic productivity. As explained here, for example. And would hurt all the nonprofit organizations that rely in part on bequests.** Offense #3.
*Although I suspect they’re mere millionheirs, all his bragging notwithstanding.
**With the estate tax deduction for charitable gifts gone, the after-tax cost of giving would double. And when you double the cost of doing something, people do less of it.
Quote of the Day
On the day of the 1983 economic summit, James A. Baker 3rd, then chief of staff, realized Mr. Reagan had not read his briefing book. When Mr. Baker asked why, Mr. Reagan responded, 'Well, Jim, The Sound of Music was on last night.'~Professor Herbert S. Parmet reviewing President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
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