Editor’s Note: The following are short editorial commentaries that are timely and reflect the position of The Bradley Report. As time goes on, particularly if these subjects become a greater part of the national discussion, we will revisit them in greater detail. In all events, and as always, we welcome your comments and observations.
Death & Incapacity Taxes
It is the view of The Bradley Report that laws relating to estate taxes must be revised. This has been postured as a ‘Liberal versus Conservative’ issue, based on the assumption that great estates belong to the conservatives and that the rich should be taxed heavily when passing on their wealth to their heirs. Concomitantly, it is assumed that such heavy estate taxes will not be too great a burden for the working classes, and the benefits will outweigh the shortcomings. These are false assumptions.
The current estate tax system is unfair, period.
No one should have to fear that the property they inherit from their hard working parents might have to be sold in order to meet tax obligations. Nor should a mortgage have to be taken out in order to receive an inheritance. This is simply wrong.
Estates, whether they are simply home properties or complicated inheritances involving homes and businesses and stock portfolios, should not be burdened again at the moment when a death occurs. The current laws are close to confiscatory, and have resulted in family owned businesses being sold to corporate entities because the family members cannot bear the tax burden. Similarly, homes that have been debt free for years, including the up to date payment of property taxes, have had to be sold or remortgaged.
It is a myth that this system doesn’t seriously affect the working classes. But even if that was the case, it would still be wrong.
Similarly, the legislation that demands that an elderly person sell off his or her property, or give it to heirs as early as possible, for fear that if struck down all the property of a lifetime of work can be fed into the maw of a long-term health care facility is wrong. Americans are not fools. They see billions of dollars spent around the world for various purposes and yet when, after a lifetime of hard work and the uncomplaining payment of taxes on virtually everything, they understand that whatever they have managed to build and maintain can be lost to their loved ones simply because they have physically failed.
This is disgraceful. We can do better. And we must do better.
Israel’s Right To Exist
An apparent tenet of the radical Arab world is the belief that somehow, if enough pressure is brought to bear, Israel may cease to exist.
This seems, on the face of it, absurd to people in other parts of the world, but not so to many of the rank and file in the Islamic world. It is, we think, important to recognize this abstract concept, no matter how bizarre it may seem.
The Arab world cannot itself have peace and prosperity so long as it holds to the idea that somehow it can expel Israel from its midst. This is a reality that must be kept in mind in all interactions with the Arab world.
There is no turning the clock back. Israel exists and will continue to exist. The Arab/Islamic world must come to terms with that fact.
This is also true of Islamic arguments that Palestine is an occupied territory, as though there was a nation-state of Palestine that was somehow forced to concede land to Jewish settlers. That is a myth. Further, when Israel first came into being the Arab population was not disenfranchised; in fact, the Arab population had available more rights and protections than ever before. But when neighboring Arab states joined together to crush the fledgling Jewish state, they announced their intention through radio broadcasts and general communications and urged that the Arab population leave until after the Israeli's were defeated, when they could return to greater possibilities. Many Arabs did leave.
But they made a colossal mistake. The Arab nations were defeated in their attempt to throw the Israeli's into the sea, then and later. As a result, the Palestinian Arab population that had fled was now outside, and it wasn't allowed to return. But although they had been encouraged to flee to neighboring Arab lands, when the outcome of the Arab war only served to strengthen the Jewish state, their fellow Arabs didn't welcome them into their midst, allowing them to resettle and take up citizenship in their countries. They did the opposite. They rejected them, and instead they set up 'refugee camps' in which a culture of poverty and disenfranchisement could be nourished, and political gain could be sought by twisting history and disingenuously declaring their Palestinian Arab cousins are victims of the policies of the State of Israel.
Now, so many years later, this disenfranchised population has grown considerably and has come to accept and believe, often fanatically, that all of their troubles are rooted in Israeli actions; they are almost universally ignorant of their own history and are of course ripe for recruitment as the soldiers of terrorism. The old adage that the most dangerous person is the one who believes he has nothing to lose is understood very well by Arab leaders.
This then is the conundrum that is presented to the Israeli's when the Palestinian Arabs and their allies talk about the "Right of Return." It is a suggestion that the descendants of those that fled during the first attempt to nullify the fledgling Israeli state should be allowed to return, even though their number has vastly increased and it is clear that if they were allowed to return they would do more than overwhelm the democratic political structure of Israel, they would throw the economy into chaos through land claims and other legal maneuvers, all of which would be fueled by an inaccurate sense of history.
It is because of these factors that whenever Palestinian spokesmen want to end discussions or negotiations with Israel, they place the "Right of Return" card on the table. In essence, this would be akin to the United States allowing all of the descendants of the American Indians who fled to Canada to return and claim property and other rights. It is easy to imagine the chaos that would ensue. But such chaos would be geometrically increased if all of those Indian descendants had been generationally imbued with a vitriolic hatred of America and Americans.
The reality is clear: there can be no "Right of Return" for Palestinian families who fled Israel. This posturing must be relinquished by Arab leaders if there is ever to be a settlement.
And the creation of a Palestinian state is the only settlement that is possible or feasible. It was offered tangibly once, during the much maligned accords created during the administration of Pres. Clinton, and it is now up to the Palestinians and all other Arab leaders to recognize that their hope Israel can be driven back to indefensible borders or to the sea itself will not happen. Compromise leading to the creation of a Palestinian state is the only hope that they have, short of Armageddon, which surely some of their populace desire more than any possible political solution.