The Health Of America Starts On The Farm

5 thoughts on “The Health Of America Starts On The Farm”

  1. And I would add that tax policy needs to be crafted to protect non-corporate farming. Inheritance taxes can destroy family farms. A million dollar net worth? Add up land, out-buildings, equipment and so on, and it’s extraordinarily easy to rack up a net worth in the millions. If the next generation has to sell the farm to pay the taxes upon a parent’s death – the cost so far outweighs the benefit it’s breathtaking.

    I know what was proposed, but I don’t know yet what ended up passing. If the rum producers, Hollywood and NASCAR get their goodies and the farmers took a hit, I think my head is going to explode.

    1. Hey Linda, I keep hearing the argument that the estate tax would hurt family farms and small businesses, but no one has ever offered examples…I did fin this online…

      Very few family farms and small businesses are affected by the estate tax. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that with a $2 million exemption, only 123 farms per year in the U.S. would owe any estate tax, and the number of small businesses is similarly small. In 2001, the New York Times reported that American Farm Bureau Federation (who was in favor of repealing the estate tax) could not cite a single case of a family farm lost due to the estate tax.

      On average, those few small business and farm estates will owe only 14 percent of the estate, so it is unlikely they will have to sell the business or farm. Plus, they can spread any payments over 14 years. They also benefit from special use valuation, and minority interests and marketability discounts.

      Moreover, gutting the estate tax would actually hurt family farms. The estate tax helps make family farms more competitive against mega-scale agriculture, because it moderates ever-larger concentrations of wealth and economic clout. Repeal of the estate tax or exempting farms completely will only encourage further concentration of farm ownership, which reduces competition. An unlimited exemption for farm assets could create a giant loophole from the estate tax because wealthy individuals who expect to owe estate tax could use much or all of their wealth to buy farms before they died.

      via Estate Tax FAQs | United for a Fair Economy.

      I tend to lean more progressive in the tax department. And from what I’ve always seen, the rates we had back pre-Bush worked pretty good. I was almost willing to risk the cliff just to see the field leveled a bit once more…But it didn’t happen.

      1. Well, yes. But the folks you’re quoting are in favor of raising estate taxes across the board. I don’t have time now to search them out, but there are plenty of agricultural organizations who take quite a different view. As I understand it, much of the anxiety has been about the proposed changes – a lowering of the exemption to $1M. I’ll see what I can find later.

        In any event – it’s an important issue, and the article you linked is good.

        1. I suppose that’s the problem. The Farm Bureau and others are always talking about the farms that would have to sell to pay the taxes, The CBO and others say it isn’t so. The CBO is supposed to be non-partisan, but that point is debated daily in the press (by one side at least).

          My problem is that our farm policy, which is also our food policy, tends to be aimed at helping the same folks that our tax policy favors. And while I am sure most of those folks would fill the hit from a change in inheritance taxes, I don’t think very many would qualify (at least in most peoples eyes) as family farmers…Just my opinion on that one…

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