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Chet --- I don't understand what argument you are making or who you are targeting so I went into the IRS website to see what they are saying about gift and excise taxes. So here is what I took away.
1. If you want to give (gift) away your money or property in a year to anyone, but usually your kids, you can do so tax free as long as the amount does not exceed $14,000 ($28,000 for husband and wife). You can make gifts in a calendar year to any number of people but no gift can exceed $14,000 in a year without incurring taxes. If you give away more than $14,000, you the donor have to pay taxes on the amount that exceeds the $14,000 exclusion. The $14,000 exclusion has remained the same for the past few years (2013-2016). In 2009-2012 it was $13,000.
2. If you die, your estate is subject to an estate tax (Republicans call it the death tax). However, that estate also has an exclusion that is not subject to those taxes. The amount for 2016 is $5,450,000, a 1.0 percent increase increase from $5,430,000 from 2015. The 2010 amount was $5,000,000. So yes it has increased from year to year based on some kind of schedule agreed with Congress.
3. Estates over $5,430,000 in 2016 will be taxed at the prevailing estate tax rates. These are really complicated, and it's fair to say that the super rich, the billionaire class, has long ago taken measures to shield much of their estates from estate taxes should they die. But some millionaires are probably not so lucky.
4. Social Security benefits are tied to a formula developed a long, long time ago in 1973. Each year it increases based on a inflation index (CPI-W) tied to a basket of goods and services used in the 3rd quarter (Jul, Aug, Sep) of every year. So it's really a snapshot of the cost increases (or decreases) in that select basket of goods and services for that specific 3rd quarter to that 3rd quarter in the next year. Any changes in the other nine months of the year do not affect the calculation. If the number is negative, it is held to zero.
5. In my opinion, this methodology lacks any scientific basis. I think it was developed before computers were born in a big way. I am more in favor of a methodology that includes all 12 months of the year and a different basket of goods and services. Attempts to change the formula have largely been resisted by both parties in Congress. Compromise is not an option. So if you have an issue with the way the calculation was originally set up, go back to those in power in 1973. If you want to change it, complain to your Congress person. Barack Obama had fuck all to do with it and neither did the IRS. The IRS just implements the laws passed by Congress.