Thursday, May 22, 2003

Bill Gates Sr. on the estate tax

Andrew Tobias today featuring Warren Buffett on Dividend Voodoo - "If the receptionist and I had both been born in, say, Bangladesh, the story would have been far different" - brings to mind Papa Gates On Death And Taxes from Forbes :
Imagine, he [Gates] says, that God is in his office looking over his portfolio. God's stocks are down--he's too heavy in the dot-coms--and to reverse his fortunes, he summons the next two spirits to be born on earth. He proposes an auction. The winner will be born in the United States, the loser in Ethiopia. He asks the two spirits to bid by writing down what percentage of their net worth they are prepared to cede to God upon their death. Hearing the terms, God's adviser (his accountant?) pulls him aside and says it will never work. Both spirits will certainly write 100%.

"What is it worth to be an American?" William H. Gates Sr. asks. The estate tax, he says, is a small price to pay.

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