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<<However, given the government's tendency to
change the law on retirement accounts, I don't want to pay tax now and pay tax later
when the government decides in 20 years it needs new income and there are a lot of
IRAs with a lot of $'s in them.>>

You're right. Any change in the tax laws today could conceivably go away by the time you're ready to take advantage of it in 35 years.

That said, what if it doesn't change (or as TMFPixy intimiated in an earlier posting, it changes but all existing Roth IRAs are grandfathered)? In 35 years, you're $2500 @ 10% would grow to $70,000. If you don't convert, you're assured of paying tax on it (hopefully not at the egregious 60% rate you stated); convert and it's all yours. Assuming you can pay the tax from outside the IRA, I think the reward outweighs the risk, but it's a choice everyone needs to make for themselves.
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