Fareed Zakaria: Americans should give half of inheritance to government

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Time magazine columnist and CNN host Fareed Zakaria says Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” tax reform plan is “sloppy and, in parts, bizarre.”

So he offered his own version of a tax reform plan in his weekly column in Time. In it, Zakaria argues that Americans should give the federal government half of what they inherit.

“I would enact a 50 percent inheritance tax, because nothing is more un-American than an inherited elite that perpetuates itself,” Zakaria wrote for the magazine.

The columnist, however, didn’t attack Cain’s plan — which throws out the current tax system in favor of a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent income tax and a new 9 percent national sales tax — with the ferocity others have.

“Cain’s idea has caught the public’s attention, and for good reason,” Zakaria wrote. “I am going to defend not Cain’s specific policy proposals but their general thrust. His plan is sloppy and, in parts, bizarre. But the impetus behind it — tax simplification and reform — is not.”

Zakaria went on to propose a federal tax structure that is “flatter but not flat.”

“I would keep a few straightforward deductions — state and local income taxes and charitable contributions,” he wrote. “I would lower the corporate rate to 18 percent and impose a VAT of 9 percent.”

Zakaria ended his column writing, “Don’t expect it to catch fire on the campaign trail anytime soon.”

Reached for comment, Dick Patten of the anti-death tax group American Family Business Institute said “the death tax ought to be repealed immediately” and referenced a new study from Steve Entin which claims that reducing the tax could actually increase federal revenues.

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