It was Sen. Grassley himself who rammed the GOP's most astonishing pro-death policy through the Senate in 2001. The estate-tax revision he championed reduces the estate tax to zero next year. But when the law expires at year's end, the tax will jump back up to its previous level of 55 percent. Grassley's exploding offer has an entirely foreseen if unintended consequence: It's going to encourage those whose parents and grandparents are worth anything more than a million bucks to get them dead by midnight on Dec. 31, 2010. This would be a great plot for a P.D. James novel if it weren't an actual piece of legislation.
Faced with an unpalatable choice between cutting benefits and raising taxes to pay for the growing costs of entitlement programs, Republicans gravitated toward a third alternative—restraining growth in life expectancy. If you want lower taxes and aren't willing to risk cutting spending, you need fewer beneficiaries.
I couldn't be more cynical than this article, but it would be amusing to try.