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5 Billionaires Who “Skated” On Death Tax

Anyone else find this slideshow [3] distasteful?

The estate tax [4] had a one year reprieve this year and anyone who passed an estate, i.e. died, would not have to pay the estate tax. Fortune tallied up how much money five estates “saved” when their billionaire died. The billionaires were Dan Duncan ($10 billion), John Kluge ($7.5 billion), Mary Janet Cargill ($2.5 billion), Walter Shorenstein ($1 billion), and, most probably famously, George Steinbrenner ($1 billion). It’s a loss of revenue of around $9.9 billion.

In case you’re wondering, $9.9 billion is fraction of a fraction of the national debt [5], which stands at over 13.8 trillion.

The distasteful part is that those five people had families who lost someone. While some of them might be celebrating the fact that they inherited more because the estate tax took a nap, but that doesn’t mean we should be counting the tax revenue we didn’t collect.

When you think about it, it’s a sad commentary on what we’ve become.