Dec. 26, 2010
COLUMBUS: I hope your Christmas and other holiday celebrations were fruitful and all presents were appreciated. The perfect Christmas present this year might have been His and Her snow shovels. But don’t call it a present when you hand it to her. Be sure to include a pair of insulated designer gloves. And fur-lined boots, too, without high heels. This may not be the most romantic ensemble, but it’s practical. From Atlanta to Maine it was a White Christmas weekend. In the Midwest, it has been a White December.
As the new year begins you’re gonna hear a lot of optimistic predictions from business leaders and bankers and politicians. But today on Fox News, Senator Tom Coburn said that if we don’t change our ways and get our finances in balance, then we’re in for “apocalyptic pain.” He said we have to cut spending or in the next 3 or 4 years production will drop, unemployment could double, and hyper inflation would hurt everybody, especially the poor. If you’re wondering how a Senator knows anything about apocalyptic pain, well, Coburn is a medical doctor, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. He has delivered 4000 babies and the mothers of many of those 4000 have gone through apocalyptic pain, at least for a few hours. He says if we keep acting like Greece and Ireland our apocalyptic pain will last a whole lot longer.
The tax bill just passed by Congress gave a nice present to rich old men (and women). Unless you have more than $5 million the inheritance tax won’t apply to you in 2011, the same as this year. If Congress had not acted, I was concerned the Obituary pages would be filled this week with members of the wealthy class whose heirs kinda nudged them along into the Hereafter.
Of course if you are above $5 million in assets, the government will grab 35 percent after December 31. In that case, when one of your offspring hands you a glass of eggnog be sure it don’t include some tainted moonshine.
Historic quotes from Will Rogers:
“Well, Christmas has passed. I was just thinking if there was some way to make the Christmas spirit continue during the other days of the year, why we would be the most happy and wonderful Nation on Earth. Gosh, if all of us that was able would just feed and do things for folks without waiting till Christmas. I think we mean well, but we just sorter got in our heads that about one day a year pays our obligations off, then we swell up and hide our Conscience till the next gift day comes along.” WA #628, Jan. 6, 1935
“They have passed the big inheritance tax, and that gets you when you are gone. You used to could die and be able to beat taxes, but not now. The undertaker don’t go over your body as carefully as the assessor does your accumulated assets, and he gets his before the undertaker. They have it on these big fortunes now where they pay as high as 60 to 70 percent of what they leave. That’s mighty expensive dying when it runs into money like that, and you won’t see ’em dropping off as casually as they have been.” WA #594, May 20, 1934.