Taxes

“Only Morons Pay the Estate Tax”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

While Trump sells a non-existent "tax reform" plan in public, Trump's chief economic adviser Gary Cohn is selling it behind closed doors in Congress, but you might say he's not selling it so much as he poisoning it.

According to the New York Times, Cohn responded to concerns from congressional Democrats with the kind of joke that only an obscenely wealthy asshole would appreciate.

Mr. Cohn has also rankled lawmakers in both parties with comments that they suggest betray a lack of understanding about the political process and the intricate policy trade-offs that undergird a large tax rewrite. In a meeting with a group of Senate Democrats this year, according to people who were present, Mr. Cohn jokingly dismissed concerns about the wisdom and cost of repealing the estate tax, remarking, “Only morons pay the estate tax.”

A source close to Mr. Cohn denied that he had used the word, saying he had been referring to “rich people with really bad tax planning.”

Look, the word "moron" is not what makes this offensive. We know exactly what he meant. He inadvertently admitted that rich people find ways out of paying taxes that aren't available to average Americans.

A credible "tax reform" plan would close the kind of loopholes that allow men like Cohn or Donald Trump himself to avoid paying taxes, but that's not even being seriously considered. In fact, the tax reform outline released by the White House earlier this year and other plans endorsed by Republicans almost every year call for cutting or even eliminating capital gains taxes.

I suppose you could look at this another way: Cohn helpfully made the case that eliminating the estate tax is unnecessary and won't move the needle for investment or job creation. Only morons pay it anyway, right? Do morons create jobs?

  • muselet

    A source close to Mr. Cohn denied that he had used the word, saying he had been referring to “rich people with really bad tax planning.”

    Oh, that’s so much better. Thank you for clarifying.

    Does anyone else think a monkey throwing his poo at a whiteboard would have a greater chance of creating a reasonable tax system than all the Rs together?

    –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    “Let them eat cake.”

  • It’s always a sign the shit is going to pile up real high when Republicans talk about the estate tax.

  • Badgerite

    Somewhere, Leona Helmsley is smiling.

    • Draxiar

      Exactly what I was thinking.

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