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Monday, April 21, 2008


John McCain showed us his tax returns last week -- but not his wife's. Like John Kerry, Captain McCain married a really rich woman, and they file separate tax returns. Kerry's spouse resisted releasing her returns back in '04, but she eventually gave in, at least to some extent. It will be interesting to see what happens with Mrs. McC., most of whose dough comes from her family's monster Budweiser distributorship.

Comments (17)

Inheriting wealth seems to have some similarities to inheriting skin color. I never understood the hatred it attracts.

I don't see the relationship between genetic inheritances and state-sponsored ones at all. After all, one can disclaim an inheritance. I've never quite understood why dead people should be able to control and dispose of property.

Allan L., It is simple for me to understand. If I worked for thirty years to provide for my family with a well attended coffee cart that had built up a following that made the business worth $40T at my death, I would like my family to have the benefit.

Now if I had done the same to develop a coffee roasting company that sold many diversified products to the coffee retail industry and after the thirty long years of experiencing the good with the bad, taking risks, having fifty employees that depended on our business for their families success, and the business accumulated a value of $4M, I again would want the business to continue if possible and to definitely benefit my family.

I see no difference in the value between $4T, $40T, or $4M. I don't want others or our government to be making judgements on my efforts, whatever the thirty year results may be, more than they do with death taxes.

I never understood the hatred it attracts.

I don't think there's anything in there about "hatred." But there's a certain amount of hypocrisy in some commentators talking about the "wealth" of the Clintons and the Obamas as compared to John McCain when they use the combined family income of the first two and the individual income of McCain.

If you were to compare just the income of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John McCain, you might be able to say that -- at 72 and with a significantly smaller income -- McCain was sort of a loser. He came from a privileged background, he's older, he's been in the Senate longer, etc. Clinton's and Obama's incomes make him look like some sort of aged slacker.

It's not all about Cindy's family wealth.
She has enough other baggage; like the non profit medical aid organization, she founded (now defunct) from whom she stole the prescription drugs she needed for her drug addiction; her connection to the scandals of the Keating 5 and the S&L mess, and of course her own moral compass. After all, she was "dating" John McCain while he was still married to wife #1, who waited for him to return from the Hanoi Hilton. John and Cindy were married only one month after his divorce.
Good old fashioned GOP family values!?

A bit off the subject but I share a pet theory I find in the weak part of my conservative soul. Here it is: The function of progressive democrats is to actually keep the have nots from revolting against the haves in a Soviet style bloodletting. The Democrats promise to go after the wealthy, calming the have nots, but in the end, the rich still get relatively richer through special connections, loopholes, and natural advantage. But it is the perception of change in equity that is important in quelling the potential mass uprising, saving the system from radical change.

P.S I'm still voting for Cindy McCain. What the heck we might get a free beer out of it.

Make mine a Vicodin with a beer back, thanks.

McCain's income does not make him a loser, his policy on occupying Iraq does, and just for the Office of President in my book. Imagine if a few months into the general election McCain announced that he no longer supported the war and intended to redeploy the troops and bring some home. Imagine further that he was crossing his fingers behind his back when he made his announcement. A page right out of the Nixon playbook.
"The election made politics the master of the war strategy. On 31 October, Johnson announced progress in the peace talks and a bombing halt to boost Humphrey, the Democrat candidate. Nixon countered with a claim to have a "secret plan" to end the war, providing no details. Nixon won the election but had no plan other than Vietnamization during gradual withdrawal."

lw, I get that people want to control their property (and others' if they can get away with it) both during their life and after they're dead. I just don't get why they should be accommodated.

Bob Clark, that was very perceptive. Who helped you with it?

I get that people want to control their property (and others' if they can get away with it) both during their life and after they're dead. I just don't get why they should be accommodated.

So, Karl... er, Allan,

You think people should neither be able to control their property (why bother even using the term "their property"?) during their life NOR after they're dead, right?

I assume, then, that you endorse the Mighty OZ as the rightful controller? Or perhaps some other enlightened body or individual?

How progressive...

...or is that fascist?

Might require a few changes to the constitution, but, hey.

No, cc. I see my second post wasn't clear enough for you. Read what I wrote up above--it's talking about people after they're dead.

Alan L., you[re about as clear as mud.

lw, what part of a 100% estate tax (with deductions for bequests to spouses and charities) is unclear to you?


She's the heir to a Buttwiper fortune? That's reason enough right there to vote against McCain....bad choice of beer heirs.

I get that people want to control their property (and others' if they can get away with it) both during their life and after they're dead. I just don't get why they should be accommodated.

Take your pick:

A) Because no one else has a higher claim to the property of a deceased person than those specifically named in his/her will

B) Because might doesn't make right

C) Because it renders the concept of "ownership" meaningless when an owner of property prevented from giving it to another

D) Because the majority of civilized cultures have recognized a right to pass on property to heirs throughout recorded history

E) Because only a looting collectivist would see it any other way

F) It belongs to our family and Smith & Wesson agree with us

G) All of the above

...bad choice of beer heirs.

I hate it when that happens...

...Oh, heirs!

A pretty good list, Pancho, even if most of the items on it reduce to "it's mine, dammit!". You could have added that the statutes of most states and countries recognize a right of relatives to inherit what an intestate decedent leaves behind. Even so, I wonder if it is good social policy, particularly in a time of increasing wealth concentration and increasing gap between haves and have-nots. Those words ("social policy") are no doubt fighting words for the Smith & Wesson crowd, but consider how hard it would be to accumulate any savings without the security provided by government. We have good contemporary examples in Iraq, Somalia, Zimbabwe. If I had to trust either government or families with inherited wealth to provide a safe and productive social environment for my grandchildren, I don't think I'd pick the rich heirs and heiresses.

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