A person likely goes to school, then finds work. Property is bought and a life is lived. The entire time taxes are paid. A federal income tax, state income tax, sales tax, property tax to name just a few. When this person dies, the government taxes their estate/wealth at a rate of 50% or so. Do you support this policy?
Notice that I didn't specify the size of the estate because it doesn't matter. It should be of no concern to you whether their estate/wealth is worth a few hundred thousand dollars or a few billion. I don't care whether it's small business or Michael Dell's fortune. It is simply unethical to tax their estate/wealth for a third or fourth or nth time.
Simply because the government can levy a tax to feed it's bloated budget is not a good reason for an estate tax. Neither does referring to the modern rich as robber barons. These people have earned their wealth, paid taxes on it, and have a right to decide where it goes after their death. They can decide to give it to charities and foundations and start universities, and give away hundreds of millions of dollars like, the robber barons, Carnegie and Rockefeller. Or they could decide to give it to their surviving relatives regardless of how decadent they might be.
Since when is the government responsible for deciding whether a person or an institution deserves money or not? Are charities or foundations or universities or offspring deserving of the fortune? Who knows? It's the dying person's money. S/he decides. It doesn't matter whether this heinous policy effects the top 30% or 3% or 0.3%. The point is that it's still wrong. It should apply to 0% of the population.
The argument for the tax goes that the offspring can live off, let's say, 10 million dollars tax-free. Thus, the rest of the estate/wealth should be taxed. Hey, the offspring didn't earn their money. Fuck 'em. So, extending this logic, shouldn't rich kids get taxed? They get pocket money, cars, property, and very likely securities. They didn't earn that; they were born into it. Taking it a bit further, shouldn't spouses of rich people get taxed? They use the houses, cars, perhaps even the lear jet -- in effect they use half the wealth of their rich spouse while paying close to zero tax.
Let's take the quintessential example: Bill Gates. His overall wealth fluctuates but let's say it's 50 billion dollars. Hey, obviously his offspring can live with...a billion dollars. After he passes away, the government should take the rest away! Sigh. Isn't it strange that the guy who worked his life earning every penny doesn't have a say in where his money goes but the government does. The kids don't deserve the money. The government, of course, always does.
This post was sparked by the following two posts at Outside the Beltway:
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