The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) and others in the beef cattle industry are on the wrong side of the "death tax" issue. They've fallen for the line advanced by the super rich that all inheritance taxes are wrong. There are many good arguments for a fair inheritance tax.

What makes inheritance taxes unfair, particularly to farmers and ranchers, is the fact property is often held for many years before the death of its owner. To tax the full capital gain is wrong, because much of the value, in some cases virtually all of it, is the result of inflation. NCBA should be pushing for inflation indexing.

The same goes for capital gains tax. Those who earn money on relatively short-term investments (up to two years or probably longer) should pay regular capital gains tax, on the full amount they earn. On the other hand, property held for many years should be indexed to inflation.

Over the last few years, the administration and our legislators have worked very hard at reducing taxes for the wealthiest citizens. The middle class, when social security and Medicare taxes are figured in, now pays as high of a percentage of their income to the federal government as the very wealthy.

Most of today's farmers and ranchers are far from rich. They don't need to join hands with the wealthy. With inflation indexing for both inheritance and capital gains taxes, those who can afford it will pay a fairer share of federal taxes. To eliminate these taxes across the board only means the government will go further into debt, or the middle class will have to pay higher taxes -- probably both. Keith Evans