Tom Herman answers the pressing question: What Will Happen to the Federal Estate Tax? (Wall Street Journal, 11/7/2010). Here is part of his answer:
Q: In reading about what will happen to the Bush tax cuts in 2011, the federal estate tax is never mentioned, in my experience. Why so, and what should we expect?
—N.M., Santa Cruz, Calif.
A: The strange saga of the federal estate tax, dubbed the "death tax" by its foes, has drawn growing attention lately. Nobody knows what will happen -- even though the midterm elections now are history. But there is a chance that Congress finally will take action in coming weeks when lawmakers return for a lame-duck session.
Naturally, you can't rule out the possibility that Congress will do nothing. Gridlock seems like Washington's natural state these days. But there is a compelling reason to expect some action: If Congress does nothing, the nation will face a bizarre set of circumstances.