More Democrats reject Harpootlian’s party line on John Courson’s Senate re-election

Today I had an advisory saying the following would be at a press conference today at 2:

Leon Lott, Richland County Sheriff
Joel Lourie, S.C. Senator
Darrell Jackson, S.C. Senator
John Courson, S.C. Senator

… and that they would “make an unusual announcement concerning the campaign for S.C. Senate District 20.”

Joel Lourie

I wasn’t able to make it, so I called Joel Lourie a few minutes ago to see what I had missed, and it was as I thought: More Democrats coming out for John Courson in his re-election race against Democrat Robert Rikard, who increasingly seems to have little backing beyond Dick Harpootlian. I’m starting to feel a little bad for Rikard, whom Lourie says “seems like a nice guy… nothing against Robert.”

“We need John Courson in the Senate,” Lourie said. “He’s one of the very few guys who knows how to build bridges and work across party lines. We need more people like John Courson.”

He added that he and Sen. Jackson were among the first to urge Courson to run for Senate president pro tem, so how could they not back him now?

Furthermore, “As a state senator, I think we’re better off having John Courson as president pro tem, following a moderate course, than picking up one more seat.”

And there’s a personal element, as there so often is in the Senate: “My Dad was a mentor to him, and now he is a mentor to me. One of those who can give me advice.”

What about the increasingly isolated Democratic Party Chair Dick Harpootlian? He called Lourie after the press conference. “We had a pretty harsh conversation afterwards,” he said, and decided to go no further. “We had some very harsh words with each other.”

“I’m not sure what Dick’s infatuation with this race is,” he said. But it’s obvious he didn’t check with the Democrats in the Senate before making such a big deal about trying to turn Courson out of office. “The Senate Democratic caucus’ focus is on helping our incumbents, and providing as much assistance as possible for Thomas McElveen in Sumter.”

85 thoughts on “More Democrats reject Harpootlian’s party line on John Courson’s Senate re-election

  1. kc

    With Democrats like that, who needs Republicans?

    On the other hand, maybe this is the Dems’ sly way of backing Rikard . . . by arousing the suspicions of the Democrat-hating Republicans.

    Reply
  2. shameful

    What is his infatuation with the race? Maybe that as chair his JOB is to kick out Repubs and put in Dems. Good Lord.

    This is the kind of crap that makes liberals want to join forces with the tea party folks. It’s time to grow a back-bone and quick supporting people on the other side just because you’ve become drinking buddies over the last few decades.

    Reply
  3. Phillip

    This is a tough call for those who would like to see a genuine two-party system in the state. But I think there’s a lot to be said (on a national level as well) for supporting that rarest of birds, the moderate Republican, or as I like to call them, the members of the non-insane wing of the party…lest they go extinct.

    When I saw that Tom Turnipseed was going to vote for Courson…well, that’s good enough for me.

    Reply
  4. Doug Ross

    This post brought to you by the ad in the upper right corner. Probably funded by the exorbitant pension he receives.

    I am constantly baffled how we can have a completely dysfunctional state government yet you can’t see that the cause is all the career politicians who have created it.

    Reply
  5. Obiewankenobie

    That Rikard — “nice guy” — I’m sure. Not knowing much about SC’s Democratic politics and having learned a great deal about SC Dixiecrat politics (yes, sorry ever-hopeful citizens of SC, Dickie is a Dixiecrat)…

    Is it the name recognition or the “good cop” turned lawyer routine that catapulted him to the top of the dog pile of regime change applicants?

    Rikard is synonymous with “nursing home” and long, dusty county roads out here in the boonies. I’m sure he’s legit — but has he nailed a Dixiecrat lawyer yet? Didn’t think so. This is from his web site:

    “…Robert has taken on some of the most corrupt lawyers in South Carolina and brought them to justice…”

    http://www.rikard4senate.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=175&Itemid=28

    ###

    He also needs a grammar-savvy proofreader unless this is intentional to cozy up to the blue collars:

    “Robert has also used his keen legal skills to tackle an issue most attorney’s shy away from – ethics among lawyers and legal professionals.”

    Reply
  6. Joey Oppermann

    Soooo….the Democratic chairman shouldnt try to pick up a seat that leans Democratic already? That’s insane The Senators can play their inside baseball, its understandable, but they need to get out of the party’s way on this. As long as Harpootlian stays the fighting chair that he is he will never be isolated.

    All that aside, no one should care what any of these guys says. This is about which candidate, Rikard or Courson, is best for Senate District 20. Here’s a hint…vouchers and Confederate flags aint a big hit in Richland County.

    Reply
  7. Brad

    So, Joey — was it “insane” when Republicans helped you elect Steve Benjamin mayor? You’ll say that was a nonpartisan election (which of course all elections should be), but still. The principal is the same — supporting the right candidate, without regard to party.

    What I consider insane, frankly, is this business of choosing one’s candidate based on whether he has a D or an R after his name, regardless of his qualifications.

    It would be a relief to hear supporters of the Harpootlian position make a case for why Mr. Rikard is better qualified. But they don’t, unfortunately. They speak instead of his having the D after his name, as though it mattered.

    Reply
  8. Silence

    Hi to Joey from an old friend.

    @ kc – “With Republicans like that, who needs Democrats.” Fixed that for you.

    Reply
  9. Joey Oppermann

    Brad, fundamentally different issue. Republicans in South Carolina are not on the verge of extinction. So they have the luxury of supporting the occasional Democrat. I envy them that. Democrats do not have that luxury, if they have a well-qualified candidate who has a good shot to win and pick up a seat in the other column, then they have to fight for it. Democrats and Republicans are not on an even playing field in this state. They are enjoying their dominance and we are fighting to survive. And the D does matter if you would like to see a competitive party system preserved in this state.

    Reply
  10. Silence

    Joey – I’d amend your comment, if you’d permit me that.
    Democrats in SC aren’t going anywhere. It’s white male Democrats in SC who are on the verge of extinction. Not to worry though, we have plenty of liberal, big spending “Republicans” in SC.

    Reply
  11. Steven Davis II

    “When I saw that Tom Turnipseed was going to vote for Courson…well, that’s good enough for me.”

    Wow, I’m almost speechless having read that.

    Reply
  12. Joey Oppermann

    Silence, I respectfully disagree. Democrats are in danger of being a permanent minority party with no ability to meaningfully shape state policy. Only having 40 odd Dems in the house and 18 or 19 in the Senate is tantamount to extinction as a legitimate political force. That’s why they need to stick together.

    Reply
  13. Brad

    Joey, I appreciate that you feel beleaguered and threatened with partisan annihilation, and I try to feel your pain.

    But just to put it in brutal terms, my attitude is that if one of the two parties is withering toward nonentity, that’s a case of one down, one to go. Because I believe political parties are the bane of our republic. They foster intellectual dishonesty and militate against the proper functioning of the deliberative process. I cannot possibly see anything good in a system that encourages people to support the stupidest candidates on THEIR team, and oppose the wisest ones on the OTHER team. There lies madness. (And I’m not suggesting that’s the case in District 20. I’m saying that partisanship DOES demand that of its loyalists, however, in situations where that’s the case.)

    Back in the 90s, when Democrats were becoming Republicans left and right, I wrote a column that some may have regarded as Swiftian, but I was serious: I urged ALL Democrats in South Carolina to become Republicans — to step out and make big announcements, with the GOP party chair grinning and patting them on the back, welcoming them to the fold. (I would have of course been just as happy to see all Republicans become Democrats, but that seemed even less likely.)

    Republicans like to moan about the days before their ascendance, the days of “one-party” politics in South Carolina. But there’s no such thing as “one-party” partisan politics, in the sense of what I despise about partisanship. When there is only one party, for practical purposes there are NO parties, and EVERYONE is forced to examine candidates and issues individually, and judge each on his or her or its merits. No longer do we have the idiocy of people pulling the lever for a candidate purely because of party.

    You, and other Democrats in South Carolina — who have practically no hope of returning to dominance in your lifetimes — should welcome this. Here’s an example of why: No serious observer could doubt that if there had been no parties, or if both candidates had an R after their names, Vincent Sheheen would have beaten Nikki Haley in 2010.

    Vincent was far more likable, and didn’t have all the ominous warning signs that Nikki exhibited — warning signs that caused quite a few Republicans to do what you castigate Lourie for doing, and vote for the Democrat.

    Less thoughtful Republicans couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a D, so Nikki barely won — and then, only in a year in which Republicans everywhere, and particularly Tea Party Republicans, were triumphing.

    In races where voters knew nothing or very little about the candidates — such as secretary of state (quick, name him, average voter!) or comptroller general — those “generic” Republicans got 58 to 60 percent of the vote.

    Without the barrier of his political identification — a meaningless thing, to me — Vincent Sheheen would be governor now.

    Think about it.

    Reply
  14. Silence

    Joey – About 40% of this state’s voters are pretty consistently democrat voters.

    That’s roughly in proportion to the representation in the state senate (18/46)= 39%

    Oddly enough, the proportion in the house is very similar (48/126)=39%

    I don’t think dems are underrepresented.

    However, I do agree that through their own policy choices (nationally) the Democratic party has ensured that in some locations it will be a minority party until something significant changes.

    Part of being a good politician is compromise, working across the aisle, and recognizing exactly when to stand on principle, and when to cooperate with the opposition. Blaming some fairly conservative Democratic politicians for endorsing a “Republican” (Rhino) candidate is hardly fair. It’s like blaming a duck for floating in a pond.

    Reply
  15. Joey Oppermann

    “Without the barrier of his political identification — a meaningless thing, to me — Vincent Sheheen would be governor now.

    Think about it.”

    Believe me, Brad, I think about it all the time.

    Reply
  16. Joey Oppermann

    State Democrats can’t control what the national party does. And yet we remain the only party that consistently advocates for middle class and struggling people in this state. We remain the only party with legitimate multi-racial cooperation, the importance of which cannot be overstated.

    The Republican Party is none of those things, and if their dominance grows, they will do what they are already doing. They will purge inadequately anti-government members in their primaries. Only some long entrenched Republicans are able to consistently resist that primary purging trend. This is not because SC Republicans are “bad people,” but because, structurally, that is how it has developed.

    If you look at the place that had the most conservative Democrats who switched, most of those elected officials have now been primaried or forced out of office in some fashion by the faction of the GOP located regionally on the coast and dominated ideologically by Club for Growth. Those were the reasonable, pro-public education conservatives. Most of them are gone now. That is what SC Republican dominance looks like.

    This 340 old, malign political trend in South Carolina politics has only ever been slightly countered by multiracial political coalitions with some degree of class consciousness. Tillman tried one without the other and it was almost immediately co-opted. We don’t need a gone or irrelevant Democratic Party, we need a better Democratic Party.

    Reply
  17. Ralph Hightower

    That’s in Harpo’s job description. I’m probably pretty sure that it was in McMasters job description when he was SC GOP chair; but he sure surprised me as Attorney General.

    I’m in Lexington County and I am seeing campaign signs for Clerk of Court and other non-legislative positions. Why should court officials identify themselves as Republican or Democrat? Shouldn’t they just follow the law and proper legal procedures?

    Reply
  18. Joey Oppermann

    No.

    No, I’m not making an ideological or personal judgement.

    However, the structure of the current state Democratic party is healthy for long term trends in our state, and the structure of the current Republican party is very unhealthy.

    Reply
  19. Steven Davis II

    @Ralph – it’s because of one Clerk of Court candidate who is related through marriage to a US Representative and the SC Attorney General thinks it matters and that people will vote for her. Most people that know her still won’t, she’s not the least bit qualified for the position.

    Reply
  20. Brad

    Ralph writes, “Why should court officials identify themselves as Republican or Democrat? Shouldn’t they just follow the law and proper legal procedures?”

    Indeed. Those are purely administrative jobs, and do not set policy. There’s no reason for them to be elected. They should be hired by the county administrator, according to their qualifications.

    Reply
  21. Silence

    Joey, doesn’t the Democrat party purge members who aren’t liberal enough? It sure seems like the number of blue dogs has dwindled.

    Isn’t the decline in moderates on both sides just a natural result of a two party system?

    Reply
  22. Kathryn Fenner

    The Democrats have been a big tent for a long time. Those leaving the party have done so voluntarily, in search of better electability.

    Reply
  23. bud

    I would suggest that the Democratic party has moved to the right and the Republican party has moved to the right by a greater magnitude. This gives the illusion that the extreme far left of the Democratic party has moved to the left when in fact it has remained about where it always has or even moved a tad to the right. Liberals like me really don’t have anywhere to go so we cling to the Democratic party as a sort of lifeboat until the country comes to it’s collective senses. Hopefully this rightward drift will end soon.

    Reply
  24. Silence

    @ bud – the Republicans may have lurched to the right, but oddly enough, current and previous presidential candidates are moderate by any reasonable definition. Yes, both had to run right in the primaries to defeat more conservative challengers, but neither of them would have been considered hardline conservatives or even conservative partisans before they ran for president.

    I’m not so sure that the Dems haven’t moved left though, and I don’t think they’ve moved to the right.

    Reply
  25. Mark Stewart

    That’s certainly an accurate assessment on bud’s part as to SC.

    The Democrats, nationally, would do better, however, if they would seize the opportunity handed to them by the Tea Party and social conservative types and firmly stake out the middle ground. As long as they continue to give power to the left wingers the Democrats squander this opportunity as surely as the Republicans have wasted theirs.

    Reply
  26. bud

    With Russell Feingold and Dennis Kucinich gone the true liberal in congress is rare indeed. Perhaps Bernie Sanders and he’s officially an independent, not a Democrat. Plenty of Allen Wests and Michelle Bachmanns though.

    Reply
  27. bud

    Here’s how I would define middle of the road:

    1. On healthcare something like Obamacare would be the acceptable. It’s not European style socialist medicine but it’s not a pure free market approach either.

    2. Defense spending would decline from the amount spent by the next 15 nations combined to the next 8-10. We certainly wouldn’t be increasing defense spending especially when there is no comparable threat such as the USSR or Nazi Germany. A true liberal would reduce spending to about the next 5 nations combined or less.

    3. The top marginal rate would be about 35-40%. The Romney plan that would cut the top marginal rate to 25% would be considered extremist. A liberal plan would have something like a 50% top marginal rate or higher.

    4. Labor Unions would not be the boogeyman portrayed by Republicans but rather would be an important part of our nations approach to commerce. Moderates would be wary of too much power in the hands of the unions. Union busting as per the Republicans would be regarded as extremist. Liberals would not be wary of union power but rather would cherish labors power in the economy.

    And so on. Moderate positions are typical of the Democratic power. Liberal ideas are scoffed at.

    Reply
  28. Doug Ross

    A moderate would be in favor of:

    1) A balanced budget amendment
    2) Cutting defense spending as well as other spending
    3) Offering optional alternatives to Social Security and Medicare (how else can you be considered moderate without offering options?)
    4) Elimination of affirmative action
    5) Real tax reform that would eliminate 90% of the IRS. A tax return should be able to be completed on one sheet of paper for an individual. How much did you make, how many dependents do you have, here’s your tax.

    Reply
  29. bud

    Doug I’m not nessisarily defending the moderate position but merely defining it. What you are suggesting is the conservative position. If you agree with those things fine but don’t label those things as moderate.

    Reply
  30. Doug Ross

    @Bud

    So the moderate position is:

    1) Deficit spending
    2) No cuts to non-military spending
    3) Only government solutions for Social Security and Medicare
    4) Race based advantages
    5) A complex tax system

    Good luck on getting people to buy into that moderation.

    Reply
  31. Mark Stewart

    Yeah, 1 and 5 are total outliers. Reasonable people have a more expansive view of things than those would indicate. Sorry, Silence.

    Reply
  32. bud

    A balance budget AMENDMENT is radical. You can favor a balanced budget over the long term (as I do) without the extremes of an amendment which could be very dangerous in times of emergencies.

    The status quo is moderate. Cuts or increases are conservative or moderate. Military spending is an exception given the lack of a credible military threat.

    Again, the status quo on SS and Medicare is the moderate course. Some tweaking such as an increase in the retirement age could fit with a moderate view. A radical privatization is decidedly conservative.

    Race based advantages. No comment. Probably needs to go but thats a conservative idea that I support.

    I wasn’t talking about the complexity of the tax system. We could increase taxes on the rich and make the system simple at the same time. Two different issues.

    Reply
  33. bud

    Let me ask you this Doug, if the MODERATE position on taxes/spending is a balanced budget constitutional amendment what would the CONSERVATIVE position be? Seems like you’ve run out of room on the right when you take that position.

    Reply
  34. Doug Ross

    How could anyone feel that ongoing deficit spending is the moderate approach? And revising the tax code is an outlier? Wow.

    Reply
  35. Doug Ross

    @Kathryn

    I’m okay with no dependents as well. No mortgage deduction, no charitable contributions, no tax credits. But it would have to come with lower rates.. maybe 3-4 for income and 2 for investments (long term/short term). And no estate tax.

    Reply
  36. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – Until they eliminate welfare calculations based on dependents, I say keep them for income tax deductions.

    Reply
  37. Steven Davis II

    One thing about cutting defense spending, it tends to increase unemployment numbers. Counting military personnel entering the job market, government contract employees, and employees of defense industry companies.

    Reply
  38. Mark Stewart

    Revising the tax code to a one pager is an outlier. Of course the code ought to be simplified and broadened through the elimination of deductions; no moderate would dispute that part of your pitch.

    And, Doug, it’s not about deficit spending; the issue you brought up is a constitutional ban on “unbalanced” budgets. That is like asking for a return to the gold standard – so it is an outlier opinion.

    Reply
  39. bud

    One thing about cutting defense spending, it tends to increase unemployment numbers.
    -SD II

    Thats true for ANY type of government spending. That’s why the austerity measures in Spain, Greece and the UK have been such a spectacular failure.

    Reply
  40. bud

    As Doug says lets get rid of ALL deductions, period. I would cut the rates to make it revenue neutral. But I certainly wouldn’t have a lower rate for investment income and very definetely would not get rid of the estate tax. I might limit that to income over $1 million.

    Reply
  41. Kathryn Fenner

    Welfare is about need. Dependents matter in that calculation. If you are needy after you pay your tax, you collect from the welfare system.

    Reply
  42. Kathryn Fenner

    Also, one thing about cutting social service spending or income tax deductions is that it tends to increase unemployment…..

    Government and social service agency workers are employees just as much as soldiers are.

    Reply
  43. Steven Davis II

    “social service agency workers are employees just as much as soldiers are.”

    Actually this country could survive without social service agency workers, not true about soldiers.

    Reply
  44. Steven Davis II

    Regarding to going to a one page tax return, think of all the IRS agents and tax accountants who will be forced out of work.

    Reply
  45. bud

    My tax plan would be based on family income, regardless of size. It would basically have a zero rate for the first $20k. Then tax brackets increasing. The type of income would not be an issue. Perhaps taxing dividends at a higher rather than lower rate might be appropriate but probably all the same. I don’t buy for one nano-second this double taxation argument for dividends or inheritance. The highest bracket would probably be around 50%.

    Reply
  46. Silence

    @ bud – how about a flat tax on consumption rather than income? Give a rebate for the first 20k of spending, then tax everything after that at 15-25%.

    This would have the effect of taxing spenders while not penalizing savers and investors. No tax on earned income, dividends, interest or inheritances.

    I think this would encourage thrift, which is something that we should support as a nation. It would reign in profligate spending and conspicuous consumption.
    If Paris Hilton wants a new yacht or Kim Kardashian wants a new Bugatti, they’ll pay. If Henry Ford the 23rd wants to inherit the entire company, he can. It’s a square deal.

    Reply
  47. Steven Davis II

    50% income tax? Do you really want all of the industrialists and people who own companies to no longer live in this country?

    Bud, a hypothetical situation. If you have a relative die and leave you a house in a high real estate area, say Manhattan, what happens when you get hit with an inheritance tax for $100,000? Would you have any other option than to sell the property? What if you can’t sell the property and it sits on the market for a year? Does the IRS in your world, just give you an extension until you get your asking price?

    We’ve had this discussion many times, but do you expect family farms to have to be sold just to pay the inheritance tax just because a parent dies and leaves the family farm to his children? In today’s market, it doesn’t take much land to reach a million dollars, even though the family doesn’t make much more than the poverty line off of it each year. So where would you set your line? $1 inheritance, $100,000, $1,000,000, $10,000,000? What happens if this inheritance isn’t land, but say cash or gold coins? Same value placed on everything?

    Reply
  48. bud

    … how about a flat tax on consumption rather than income?
    -Silence

    It would be regressive since lower income folks spend a higher percentage of their income and save less. For the folks at the very bottom that could work out. But then we’d hear a different variation of the 47% who don’t pay taxes.

    Another problem is the huge black market incentive it would create. Not sure the bureaurcacy problem would be lessened given the need to police transactions in the market to ensure taxes are collected. Afterall we struggle to tax stuff bought on line now.

    I favor a progressive form of taxation through the income tax. It could be simplified.

    Reply
  49. bud

    If you have a relative die and leave you a house in a high real estate area, say Manhattan, what happens when you get hit with an inheritance tax for $100,000?
    -SD II

    If I inherited a valuable house and had to sell it to pay the taxes I’d be far better off than someone who didn’t inherit such a house. Some provisions should be made to allow time to sell the property.

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  50. Brad

    Aside from that, I don’t want to tax consumption because we are seriously suffering right now from a lack of consumption. People who have money sitting on it instead of putting it into circulation. I wouldn’t want to discourage what spending IS going on…

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  51. Silence

    @Brad – We aren’t suffering now from a LACK of consumption. We are suffering because for years people overconsumed, and mostly did it on credit. In 2007 the party ended and we had one large collective hangover.

    In the long term having a high national savings rate would benefit everyone.

    Reply
  52. Kathryn Fenner

    Forcing people to sell houses they inherit but don’t live in would be a blessing in so many cases. Heirs are generally lousy landlords.

    Reply
  53. Silence

    The bigger issue with inheritances is not houses or marketable securities. It’s family businesses or farms valued in excess of the exemption.

    It’s going to be very difficult to find a working, profitable family farm valued under $1M – the exclusion amount for 2013. That will also catch a lot of successful small businesses. A lot of large farmsteads will need to be either broken up, mortgaged or sold to pay the taxes due on the land, equipment, crops and livestock.

    Forcing a functioning business to either break up, be sold, cease operations or even just take on a huge amount of debt is plain stupid. Period.

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  54. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – So all inherited property is rented out… interesting.

    Do you feel the same about family farms? When dad dies, the kids have to sell to pay the taxes… I’m reading that this is a good thing in your mind.

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  55. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – I guess its a good thing I didn’t become a lawyer like my mother wanted me to and went into IT instead. Reading comprehension plays little, either it works or it doesn’t in what I do.

    Reply
  56. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – So what’s your thinking on the whole family farm inheritance tax issue? Should the family have to sell just because someone dies?

    Reply
  57. Kathryn Fenner

    I think if the farm is so large as to trigger estate tax issues, the farmer would be well-advised to seek quality legal counsel.

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  58. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – Where do you draw the line? At crop land in the midwest approaching $3500/acre and a family farming needing to farm 12-16 quarters (160 acres each) to make enough to be comfortably middle class (not corporate farm status). Do the math and the land alone is worth $6.7 million to $9 million. A 4-wheel tractor goes for $300,000, a couple combines may be worth $500,000 total, throw in cultivators, seeders, sprayers, and plows for another $200,000 and you’re talking serious assets. Say an average farmer has $10 million in assets and dies. Should this be treated the same as some Wall Street banker with $10 million in his bank account?

    What people don’t realize is that there are reasons why farmer sales happen dozens of time daily in this country. And it’s people like Kathryn who think they should just lawyer up which also cuts into their bottom line.

    To keep this “on topic”, some of you who are in favor of inheritance tax (bud, Kathryn) need to watch the PBS special “The Farmer’s Wife”, you might actually learn something about how the average farm family lives… most have to take 2nd jobs to hand onto their family farms.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/farmerswife/

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  59. bud

    I’m with Kathyrn. If someone owns a huge family farm valued at over a million bucks they seriously need to consider the tax implications. But to suggest the heirs to such a windfall don’t benefit from the inheritance is ludicrous. Folks who didn’t have parents who built a family farm will have to make up the difference in taxes. And that would also hurt the overall economy.

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  60. Silence

    Kathryn – I’m just a “poor” old country farmer – why do I need to do estate planning? Seriously though, what are some sound legal strategies for getting around the estate tax?

    Reply
  61. Silence

    bud- as I’ve attempted to say, and I think SDII has said, it doesn’t take much of a family farm to easily bust the $1M cap. 100 acres of good cropland or pasture would probably do that in the Columbia area, especially when you throw in the equipment, buildings and whatnot.

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  62. susanincola

    Why doesn’t the family farm just incorporate? Then the death of an employee doesn’t have any tax implications for the heirs as far as the business is concerned. Not sure if an LLC would work the same, but still — it seems like such a simple solution that I’m wondering if this is one of those issues that isn’t really an issue for real people….

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  63. Steven Davis II

    @bud – Have you ever been on a farm, or is the grocery store the closest you’ve come?

    FYI – 12-16 quarters of land isn’t a “huge family farm”. With prices for crops equal to what they were in 1975, and fuel and machinery costs 10x what they were in 1975, you do the math. I get the feeling that I might as well be talking brain surgery to bud and Kathryn. If the two of you had your way, the family farm would be a thing of the past.

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  64. bud

    SD II. I’m suppossed to feel sorry for someone who owns $6-9 million in land? Are you kidding me? If you have that much in assets why not just sell it rather than toil on making a middle class income. That person could retain a small parcel, say 20 acres, and continue farming as a hobby and just live off the sale of the remaining land. Folks this is not a complicated issue. Someone with millions of dollars in assets is in way better position to have a comfortable life than someone who doesn’t. So why should the rich guy get a big tax break at the poor guys expense?

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  65. Steven Davis II

    2nd Attempt:

    @bud – You have no clue as to what you’re talking about, and definitely don’t know anything about running a working farm.

    Sell the farm and work on it as a hobby? Really? Would you suggest this to small business owners heirs too? Sell it and open a lemonade stand if they wish to continue the family business?

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  66. Silence

    @ Susanincola & Kathryn – As I understand it, basically, you’d have to set up the LLC and start gifting stock to your heir(s) annually – 26k (per couple) per heir, per year.
    If you were to fairly value the LLC, it would take a long time to transfer a million or more dollars, wouldn’t it? The large midwestern farm that SDII described would exceed even the maximum lifetime gift tax exemption, I think.
    Note: Silence is not a tax lawyer or a CPA.

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  67. Steven Davis II

    @Silence – Unfortunately the “large midwestern farm” you talk about isn’t the average land required to support an average family farm. Large farms in the midwest are 20+ quarters of land.

    And if bud’s head really wants to explode, he should look at how many acres of land it takes to run a cattle ranch in the southwest. 100’s of quarters of land… thousands of acres. Running a ranch on 20 acres and two cows isn’t going to cut it.

    Reply

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