Even in death, George Steinbrenner is still beating the government.
Because the 45 percent estate tax lapsed at the end of 2009 — and won't return at a higher rate of up to 55 percent until 2011 — Steinbrenner's family is avoiding a tax payment of about $500 million.
That's a lotta cheese and, as you can imagine, the New York taxpayers who footed the bill for his billion-dollar ego-gratifying ballpark in the Bronx aren't too happy with the situation.
In fact, there's so much chatter about it in New York that Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner was posed this question in Washington on Thursday.
Should the Steinbrenner family make a voluntary contribution to the United States treasury?
"It's an excellent question," a smiling Geithner said Thursday.
Geithner didn't go any further than that, most likely because it was actually a ridiculous question and he realizes there isn't a soul in American who's offering to pay taxes that don't exist in the current code. However, he did go on to say that he's upset that Congress allowed a situation where the families of billionaires are somehow better off financially if their rich patriarchs die in 2010.
At any rate, Hal and Hank have to be relieved they won't have to resort to selling off their share of the Yankees so they can afford that now non-existent bill from Uncle Sam.
And as It Is High, It Is Far points out, those savings will be more than enough to pay Albert Pujols(notes), Cliff Lee(notes) AND Carl Crawford(notes) in coming seasons. As usual, The Boss wins again.