New York Times editorial position on the estate tax: "estate-tax foes sold Americans a myth about a 'death tax' that prevented average people from passing on hard-earned money." The editorial called for the estate tax to be restored because "fairness, progressivity and the need for revenue demand" it.
New York Times news article today advising Times readers on how to get around the estate tax (headline: 'Leave the Children the House, Without a Big Tax Bill"): "Shifting ownership of a home makes sense even for people who are only moderately wealthy, said Lawrence P. Katzenstein, a lawyer with Thompson Coburn in St. Louis. For example, a widow with a co-op apartment worth $2 million and marketable securities totaling $3 million might not want to give away investment assets — she needs to live on the income. By transferring her apartment (if the co-op rules allow it) she can reap a substantial estate tax savings without disturbing her investment portfolio."
The Times article goes on to explain to readers how to get around the estate tax by setting up a "Qualified Personal Residence Trust" or a "grantor trust" or a "limited liability company." All this creates plenty of work for lawyers and accountants. But if the estate tax is really needed for fairness, progressivity, and revenue, why is the Times publishing advice to readers on how to get around it? Wouldn't it be simpler for everyone to eliminate the estate tax, thus eliminating the need for all this fancy footwork to avoid it?