In an attempt to convince the Democrats that the estate tax is not needed, White House advisor Gary Cohn justified its elimination by explaining that only morons pay it, according to CNBC in "'Only morons pay the estate tax,' says White House's Gary Cohn."
The White House has denied that is the exact language Cohn used. However, regardless of the language, the sentiment behind the comment may not be entirely wrong.
While it is not true in all cases, most of the time the estate tax can be avoided through estate planning.
The people whose estates end up paying the tax are those who have not done much estate planning or those who have other reasons for not avoiding the estate tax in their planning.
Of course, this does not bring the parties any closer together.
The White House argues that money spent to avoid the estate tax is an economic waste, so the tax should be eliminated.
Democrats argue that ways to avoid paying the tax should be eliminated.
Political viewpoints aside, an estate planning attorney can advise you on an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.
Reference: CNBC (Aug. 29, 2017) "'Only morons pay the estate tax,' says White House's Gary Cohn."