What's the purpose of an estate tax? Is it a budget booster or social engineering mechanism? Why, in recent times, has the debate over the size or existence of this levy become more intense? President George W. Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress, as well as anti-tax advocates such as influential lobbyist Grover Norquist, have turned the disparagement “death tax” into a rallying cry for outright repeal. At the same time some of the wealthiest individuals in the country are ...

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