Friday, December 17, 2010

Going Nuts Over Tax Cuts

This afternoon, President Barack Obama will sign an $858 billion tax bill into law. Extending the Bush-era tax cuts for another two years, the bill will also cut the estate tax for the most super-mega-ultra-filthy-dirty-rich Americans—a provision that Republicans demanded be included if they were to also approve the bill's extension of unemployment benefits for 2 million people currently out of work. In short, Republicans delayed support for those 2 million until the wealthiest Americans—those who have estates of more than $5 million per individual or $10 million per couple—benefited from the deal as well. How many people were the Republicans fighting for, you ask? Forbes reports that, as a result of Republican advocacy, fewer than 4,000 people will pay a federal estate tax next year. No one can blame the Republicans for betraying their own.

Which is why, come the annual office Christmas party, P&PC will be handing out the helpful object pictured here—a poetic Squirrel Dimesaver issued by the Calvert Savings & Loan Association in the early 1940s (the date on the Mercury head dime in the squirrel's paw on the cover pictured above is 1941). We figure that if the P&PC staff is going to be among those 4,000 wealthiest Americans some day, we'd better get started now. As the poem printed inside advises:

Like our friend make Savings Pay,
Start with a dime in this folder today
For it's steady savings in small amounts
That add up fast in your saving account.

The P&PC office doesn't yet have an accounting intern to do the calculations for us, so forgive us if our math is wrong. As far as we can figure, though, the reduced estate tax kicks in at $5 million per person ($10 million per couple). So, if we use this Calvert Savings & Loan "steady savings" mechanism—which collects $3 worth of dimes when completely full—we will only have to fill it 1,666,667 times before we die in order to meet the $5 million threshold (or $3,333,333 times per couple) that will put us among the wealthiest 4,000 people whose estate tax rates have just gone down.

That shouldn't be all that hard, should it? I mean, if we live another 50 years, we'll only need to fill this dime saver about 33,333 times per year—or just about 91 times per day. Admittedly, we'll probably get a pretty serious case of carpal tunnel syndrome along the way, and our thriftiness might be called unpatriotic. But that's nothing our good old American bootstrapping heirs will have to worry their pretty little heads about now, is it?