There are two major criticisms to have emerged from the Van Hollen bill that deserve consideration. The first is that it doesn’t fully bridge the revenue versus benefits gap in Social Security finances. That’s absolutely true. As the senator acknowledges, it only covers about one-fifth the shortfall, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be part of a solution. As it happens, Senator Van Hollen is co-sponsor of a bill with that broader sweep, the Social Security 2100 Act, that raises the cap on Social Security taxes along with other steps to wipe out the imbalance. The other complaint is that certain families get hit too hard by the estate tax, the group most often cited being family farmers with high-valued land but not necessarily high corresponding cash flow to cover taxes. But this appears to be more legend than fact given how so few estates are even subject to the federal tax (nationwide, the number of such estates that include farm assets is well short of 1,000 each year) — not to mention provisions in tax laws that go easy on farm inheritance, including giving qualifying heirs up to 15 years to settle the tax bill.