Rich Cling to Life to Beat Tax Man

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.