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The use up your 15% capital gains bracket refers to people who have over $1MM in accumulated capital gains.

If stepped up basis goes away, amounts over $1MM will be subject to 40+% capital gains tax (in some proposals yet to be adopted in Congress).

Those people would be better off to work off the amounts over $1MM by taking capital gains at the 15% rate (or less) whenever they have the opportunity.

If in addition your estate exceeds the new estate tax exemption of some say $5MM, you can be paying 40+% federal estate tax in addition to 40+% capital gains tax. Those are numbers you definitely want to stay below if you can figure out how. Spend it. Give it away as to charity? Or go see a good estate planner.

As to millionaires on these boards, it is very possible to get $1MM in your IRA if you start saving early, invest wisely, and stick to the program through thick and thin. There are probably a lot more millionaires on these boards (by the time they reach retirement age) than you realize.
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