This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," December 4, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: OK, do not die until you see this segment. Why? Well, we'll tell you in a minute. But first, unemployment numbers are out. The national unemployment rate slid down to 10 percent from 10.2 percent in October. Good news, but should we hold our breath? We report, you decide.

Joining us live is Steve Moore, senior economic writer for The Wall Street Journal editorial page. I feel good about the trend. That's a downward trend. That's a good trend.

STEPHEN MOORE, WALL STREET JOURNAL, "THE END OF PROSPERITY" CO- AUTHOR: You know, you listen to President Obama today, though, in Allentown, you would have thought, you know, we had 300,000 new jobs or something. I mean...

VAN SUSTEREN: But it's the first time it's going in the right direction! This could be a very good sign.

MOORE: I think it could be. I mean, we lost 11,000 jobs, so still negative, but...

VAN SUSTEREN: Do we know how many people have just given up, though?

MOORE: Yes. We...

VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, the discouragement factor worries me with this number.

MOORE: There were -- I think the number was somewhere between 60,000 and 70,000 people just dropped out of the labor force.

VAN SUSTEREN: So how -- if they had stayed in the labor force, what would our number be?

MOORE: It would have been another -- it would be higher. We probably wouldn't have seen...

VAN SUSTEREN: 10.1 percent?

MOORE: Maybe.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK.

MOORE: But the point is, I mean, you're right. This is -- this is improvement. And by the way, they revised the numbers from the last two months. Less -- fewer jobs were lost in the last two months than...

VAN SUSTEREN: That's a good sign.

MOORE: Yes. So it is a good sign. We're still...

VAN SUSTEREN: Does that mean we're on the road?

MOORE: Pardon?

VAN SUSTEREN: On the road to recovery?

MOORE: Hopefully. You know, I mean, look, this has been a two-year- long -- this has been an abnormally long recession. We're entering the third year of it. I still believe that the stimulus plan hasn't really helped one iota. I think, actually, that if we hadn't done all this spending and all this debt, I think we'd be further along the road. I think we'd have job creation by now.

And to the extent that you've got stimulus, people forget that a lot of the stimulus right now that's coming from Washington isn't the spending, it's the money creation from Ben Bernanke. We've put trillions of dollars of -- additional dollars into the economy through just easy money policy.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, 2010, a good year to die, especially if you're rich, right?

MOORE: (INAUDIBLE) amazing story (INAUDIBLE)

VAN SUSTEREN: This is incredible!

MOORE: Yes, I mean, basically, what happens is, this year, the estate tax is 45 percent.

VAN SUSTEREN: In 2009.

MOORE: In 2009.

VAN SUSTEREN: So that means...

MOORE: For the next month.

VAN SUSTEREN: That means if you get a salary -- you give a salary, you pay taxes on it, and you died today, your heirs have to pay 40 percent on the estate.

MOORE: Yes. So look, if you've got somebody in your family who's rich and really sick...

VAN SUSTEREN: Tell them hang on to the first of the year!

MOORE: Oh, my gosh. Hold on, Grandma!

VAN SUSTEREN: And on to the first...

MOORE: Two more -- two or three more weeks. And then what happens...

VAN SUSTEREN: This is so sick.

MOORE: It is sickening!

(CROSSTALK)

MOORE: ... 2010, the estate tax magically goes to zero...

VAN SUSTEREN: Which means if you have a really rich uncle...

MOORE: Oh, my Gosh!

VAN SUSTEREN: ... that you hate who's sick in December, you say...

MOORE: A year from now...

VAN SUSTEREN: ... Quick, quick, quick!

MOORE: ... you're pulling -- you're pulling them off the life support system, basically, and...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: This is a really twisted discussion.

MOORE: ... and then 2011, it goes back up to 55 percent. So it's this crazy system. The Democrats yesterday in the House voted to keep the estate tax at 45 percent, which is an abomination. I've called this the most immoral and evil tax that we have in the system because, as you've said many times, Greta, you paid a whole lifetime of taxes...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I know. Here's...

MOORE: ... so why should you have to...

VAN SUSTEREN: Here's the...

MOORE: ... pay tax on it when you die?

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, here's the other problem, too, is that if -- if the people -- let's say that we both make the same amount of money...

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... but I decide to spend mine like...

MOORE: Exactly. Well put.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... and you decide you want to save yours for your kids.

MOORE: that's right.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I spend mine, like -- I don't mean to pick on sailors -- I was going to say a drunken sailor, but that's impolite.

MOORE: You know, it's so...

VAN SUSTEREN: But so -- so now you...

MOORE: It's so true!

VAN SUSTEREN: And you -- your family takes a hit and mine doesn't.

MOORE: Well, and I think a lot about my father. I mean, my father was a small businessman his whole life. He spent his whole life putting his sweat equity and his money into that business, and you know, now if he dies, he has to pay this huge estate tax. And by the way, this estate tax means that the tax collector at the time of death takes, when you include the state estate taxes, half of someone's lifetime earnings. I mean, isn't a lifetime of taxes enough? Why do you have to pay another 50 percent when you die?

VAN SUSTEREN: And so that our Navy, for which I have an enormous amount of respect, isn't mad at my comment, we could have -- I could have said a drunken lawyer or a drunken anchor, spend like a drunken lawyer or drunken anchor. OK, the House bill, though, has a $3.5 million threshold.

MOORE: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: So that's...

MOORE: That's not enough. I mean, look...

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, usually -- I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

VAN SUSTEREN: If you have a farm...

MOORE: Right. Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... or a business, you know, that $3.5 million...

MOORE: There are thousands of examples of businesses that have to be sold at death, where basically, you can't keep the business in the family because -- that's why I think this is such an un-American tax!

VAN SUSTEREN: But that's -- I mean, we got to pay for the -- you know, the debt to China, the stimulus bill and all this stuff.

MOORE: But that's the other thing about this tax. It doesn't even raise any money. We get about 1 percent or 2 percent of our total federal tax revenues from this tax. You know why? Because people with a lot of money, they find ways -- they hire estate tax attorneys who get around it. The people who get hammered are the small businessmen and women and those dairy farmers from Wisconsin and people like that!

VAN SUSTEREN: And who I care about, who are my...

MOORE: Exactly.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... who are my...

MOORE: So it's a terrible tax. We ought to -- you know, Steve Forbes used to say no taxation without respiration, and he was right!

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, 2010 is the golden year, no taxes if you die.

MOORE: Yes, that's when you want to die.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is so perverse (INAUDIBLE)

MOORE: Don't die for the next three weeks.

VAN SUSTEREN: That is so perverse, our discussion.

MOORE: It is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Anyway, Steve, thank you.

MOORE: See you, Greta.

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