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Steve King Worried People Will Commit Suicide If Estate Taxes Rise

Reported by Ellen - December 14, 2010 -

Republican Congressman Steve King doesn’t like the new tax cut deal because, among other reasons, the extension of unemployment benefits means that people will likely sit around on the dole longer. But he’s for the compromise because it prevents a rise in the estate taxes and a “moral conundrum” of wealthy people having to make “end-of-life decisions” in the face of a looming estate tax increase.

In his appearance on the Hannity show last night (12/13/10), King said about the extension of unemployment insurance, “We find out that most of the people will get a job at about the time the unemployment runs out.”

Hannity broke in to say, “So you’re saying that statistics show that, that when people know their unemployment’s running out, they run out and get a job?”

“That’s what happens, Sean,” King said. “And at about 15 weeks of unemployment, they will spend about 20 minutes a day and as their (un)employment goes to 26 weeks – and that’s when it runs out, at 26 weeks – they spend 70 minutes a day.”

King never cited a study and Hannity never asked for one. But a host of economists disagree. They note that jobs are scarce and that there are more workers than jobs. Either King and Hannity didn’t know that or they didn’t care.

Hannity suggested that maybe Republicans ought to allow the tax deal to die, take it up in the new Congress and make it retroactive, “rather than take a bill with spending that you don’t want.”

But King thought it was better to take the bill as is because it extended all the tax cuts. “The problem I have, and it’s a moral conundrum, is that if you see estate taxes that kick in and go from zero estate tax now to a million dollar exemption in a (55) percent bracket… If that rolls over at the first of the year, there will be probably thousands of families around a deathbed making end-of-life decisions. Instead of their priest or their pastor or their doctor there – they’ll be there, too – the tax man looms over that bed… Some people will decide they don’t want treatment…”

“So you think people will decide not to have treatment at the end of this year and die so they don’t have to pay taxes?” Hannity sounded a bit dubious, but not enough to ask for any evidence or statistics.

“Absolutely,” King said. “I hear those anecdotes now, Sean… That’s the component of this tax discussion that bothers me the most. What happens with the estate taxes and what happens to the moral decisions that people have to make.”

Then, Mr. Moral Compass promised with a smile to repeal “Obamacare and pull it out by the roots, lock, stock and barrel.” He chuckled at the thought.

Does King think that more people will die as the result of rising estate taxes than lack of health care? Or is it that only the deserving would needlessly die if estate taxes go up? I report, you decide!