And a particularly happy one for George Bush’s favorite class, which did not expect Congress to allow the estate tax to lapse into nonexistence, at least for this year. As with many things the recent Congress has produced, this lapse has disappointed and angered all sorts of liberals – but that’s water under the bridge. The question that comes to mind now: what can Congress do about it?
There are three immediately evident options:
- Do nothing until the tax expires.
- Bring the estate tax back.
- Bring the estate tax back and make it retroactive to January 1st.
Inaction, tempting as it may be to a Congress prone to division and frightened about upcoming midterms, has a steep cost in lost revenue – always a bad idea when the specter of a double dip is still looming. Making a newly reinstated estate tax retroactively effective would probably lead to all sorts of court problems, attractive as it is to the rampaging socialist within me; which leaves us with the irenically moderate #2. Of course, the sooner our elected representatives get around to it, the better…