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The Inheritance Tax

The bad news is you have to pay it.

The good news is that paying it validates the fact that someone died and it wasn't you.

The really great news is that if someone dies and leaves you something of value, you will wind up richer than you were because the IRS, unlike the Grinch, doesn't take every last bit of it. They always leave you something, even if it is only a crumb fit for a mouse.

Seriously speaking, a lot of people get really agitated about paying inheritance tax. Of all the federal taxes, it is the most hated by far. Even the income tax comes in for less abuse and foaming at the mouth than the inheritance tax.

Well, what's that about? Greed. That's what. Human nature. That's another what. An overstuffed sense of entitlement. That's a third what. And if you want a fourth and fifth, look up the meaning of the words "gall" and "arrogance."

The ironic fact is that people hate the inheritance tax even more than the income tax precisely because they did, in most cases, absolutely nothing to earn it. An inheritance is generally something people get through acts of God in such matters as parent selection, causing spouses to slide on the ice and under a bus, making sure that wealthy aunties remain old maids. Stuff like that.

Note: There are, obviously, exceptions to the above rules. If you murder mommy and daddy to obtain what is frequently -- and very quaintly -- called your "birthright," you are clearly taking things into your hands, not leaving them up to God. And there are those occasions when someone earns an inheritance by having providing services above and beyond the call to the deceased -- an especially kind nurse, for example.

Exceptions noted, it is indisputably true that the vast majority of people who inherit money or other valuables were simply in the right place at the right time. They don't deserve that inheritance one bit more than you or I. In a rational world the loot would be piled in a cage and anyone who wanted to could enter and fight for it.

But this is not a rational world. In this world, people get an inheritance for nothing. Which makes their bitterness about having a percentage of it utilized for such charitable purposes as killing Afghanis very churlish indeed.

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