Rich Cling to Life to Beat Tax Man
--Wall Street Journal, Dec. 30, 2009
Through a quirk of Congress
Or perhaps for the amusement of the gods,
The estate tax for the richest 5,000 Americans
Disappears on Jan. 1 for one year
Before rising again like a zombie accountant.
“I have two clients on life support,”
Says a New York lawyer. Families
Of the taxable soon-to-be-deceased
Could not be reached for comment.
Next year, of course, they will have
The opposite problem. The IRS
Receives some discreet inquiries: Denmark
Allows assisted euthanasia. The IRS announces that
The Danish Solution will not
Disqualify Americans from a tax-free exit.
Copenhagen, the famed winter resort,
Expects a surge of first-class
reservations for next December. Air tickets
One-way only; return as freight.
The Journal neglects to address
The next obvious question: why
Do the poor cling to life?
Economists receive a federal grant and
Send terrified graduate students
To find these “poor” and give
Them surveys, construct
Multivariate models and search
The literature. After two years, they
Determine it is not the estate tax.
Maybe it’s a song, a rainbow,
French fries with ketchup,
Dancing in the street; more research
Is required, if funding can be found.