By Brian Miller

Imagine joining friends for a late-night game of Monopoly, but in this game, there’s a twist: At the start of the game, one player gets an entire side of the game board, from Pacific Ave. to Boardwalk, including the Short Line railroad. Instead of pondering easy questions like whether to be the shoe or the thimble, you’re now grappling with a more important question: Do you even stand a chance in such a lopsided game?

As you ponder the fairness of this board game, Congress is debating the very real future of our federal estate tax, a tax on inherited wealth designed in part to prevent one player from owning most of the board before the game even begins.

Recently, a new proposal was introduced in an effort to break through the stalemate that has led to the current tax holiday for the super wealthy. Because of the inability of Congress to reach agreement back in December, the year 2010 is slowly passing as the first since 1916 with no estate tax. Billions of dollars are now being transferred tax-free, while our national deficit grows. The heirs of the late Texas billionaire Dan Duncan stand to inherit, free of any estate tax, more than the average American earns in 4,000 lifetimes. No one questions the right of parents to pass on a legacy to their children, but how much is enough?

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