I am so tired of hearing your paper's continual drumbeat regarding the diminution or elimination of estate taxes on small estates [editorial, June 25]. The message is always the same:
* Heavily tax the slightly rich, slightly dumb folks who worked very hard, saved very hard and were slightly lucky. Don't acknowledge that whatever they have in the bank is after half of their earnings have already been paid to the government in income tax.
* Don't acknowledge that these folks have no access to the lawyers and estate planners who could prevent the decimation of their "estate," because they actually don't have enough money or financial clout to make it worth the while of a high-powered lawyer or planner.
* Say nothing about the very, very rich -- those mega-millionaires or billionaires whose lawyers have already shielded most of their estates from the ravages of the estate tax and who have ensured that their heirs will receive most of what their parents and forebears have accumulated. How did Teresa Heinz Kerry [news story, April 2] manage to pay only a minuscule amount in estate taxes on her inheritance of billions?
Why not address issues such as these, rather than pick on the little guy? Is it because the little guy can't figure out how to fight back and the big guys can and do? To quote Daniel Akst of the New York Times, "maybe saving money is just for chumps." Certainly your paper must believe that it is.
-- Stephanie Weisbroth