No. of Recommendations: 10
The second problem is that the result of the hypothectical so well parodied is that is exactly what would happen. The repeal of the estate tax would be one of the single greatest damaging initiatives undertaken in this country's history. In the short-run, the conservative argument that an individual has a right to dispose of the capital he has accumulated through his efforts as he sees fit has merit. In the long-run, repeal of the estate tax would create nothing less than a noble class. You conservatives should know your DeToqueville, right? How are we not looking at the equivalent of Jefferson's fight against primogeniture(SP?)? Without its abolition, we get a landed nobility in this country whose interests are necesarily aligned with their kith and kin, rather than the common good. The abolition of primogenture, and its hereditary offspring in an age where money, rather than land, is the measure of wealth, the estate tax, force a meritocracy on the country. Where we are constrained to act for the common good not because we are some idealistic leftist, but because we are constrained to look to the mass of society rather than daddy for economic success. Without measures like the estate tax that force those with the most capital in society to distribute it or have it distributed in taxes, they simply would not. They would protect their own interests and those of their family.

Or, even if you assign more noble motives to an inheritor, namely a desire to act in the common good, you are left with the problem of all nobilities and monarchies. The reigns of power inevitably fall into the hands of those with less noble motives, the caligulas of the world. Unfortunately, we then have no recourse to relieve them of that power save revolution and the gun.

So, hey keep arguing for a repeal of the estate tax, you monarchists. As for me, I'll stay a republican.


Guess you haven't studied much history, have you?

Even without the death tax, there is very little chance of a "ruling" class developing. For every family like the Rockefellers that manage to pass on wealth for several generations, there are many more, like the Hunts, where the second generation loses it all, or at least most of it. The Kennedys seem to be making it, barely, to the third generation. The rule of thumb - death tax or not - is rags to riches to rags in 3 generations.

As for your comment on "staying a republican". This country revolted over total taxes of less than 5%. Yet you believe that tax rates over 10 times that is necessary to maintain the republic? This country was founded with a strong emphasis on property rights, and the right of a person to dispose of his own property however he wished. This is codefied in the Articles 3, 4, 5, 7, and (indirectly) 9, and 10 of the Bill of Rights. Seems like property rights were pretty darn important to our founders. It was not until Keynes wrote in the 30's, once everyone had a 3 bedroom house with a car in the garage, economic growth and development would come to an end, that ideas such as progressive taxation and wealth redistribution became popular. The estate tax is one last chance to redistribute a person's wealth. It is of note, that Keynes, himself, disavowed Keynesian economics shortly before he died.

This republic will not survive constant attacks on the producers. The current economic revival started with the reduction in taxes in the 1980's (and subsequent doubling of government receipts). If you want the economy to grow for everyone's benefit, why do you want to punish the very people who are successful in growing the economy? If you punish success, why would you think people would continue to work as hard to suceed. Case in point: When my father stopped working - stopped contributing to society - every dollar he earned he was taxed 40% by the federal government, another 8% by the state, and 15% by Social Security and Medicare (for which he got no SS benefits because he earned too much). This is a total of 63%. For every after tax dollar that he earned, he would loose 55% of if, leaving him with a net of 17 cents on the dollar for his effort. On the other hand, for every dollar that he had saved, if he spent it now, that would reduce his estate taxes by $1.22. So, why work? If he worked, government would take 83%. If he stopped working, the government would give him 122% of what he spent. Is there any wonder that he would stop working, depriving society of his intellect and experience.

Now, factor out the estate tax, and you get the following: If he kept working he would get to keep 37% of what he earned, but still give up social security benefits. If he stopped working, every dollar that he spent would cost him a full dollar - no subsidy. Instead of being a 17%-122% comparison, it is reduced to a 37%-0% comparison. Definately one that favors staying productive, instead of staying at home.

I guess you also believe that in order to make the cart go faster you should shoot the horse.

FF
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