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Thursday, April 14, 2005

Estate/Inheritance/Death taxes

Cross posted at Cabal.

I saw this article today at Political Animal. Now I can see where Amy is coming from but I do have a problem with the idea of any sort of inheritance tax. Quite frankly I don't see the reason why the government feels an entitlement to tax the accumulated wealth of a person just because they die and pass it on to someone else. Death comes to us all (unless you believe this), and I think I am correct in saying that it is never an easy thing, so why should a government make it harder by insisting that we deal with monetary issues in a time of grieving?
Amy's point in her article is a swipe at the priorities of the US government, which I can understand:

House Republicans voted overwhelmingly to permanently repeal the estate tax--at a cost, let's remember, of nearly $300 billion over the next decade.

So, to sum up: Actual prescription drug relief? There's no money. Armor to protect our troops? There's no money. The funds to back up the mandated reforms of No Child Left Behind? There's no money. Doing away with a tax on super rich kids? Plenty o' cash to spare.

However, what right does the government have to this money? The government takes taxes to pay for projects and programmes that are deemed neccesary (which is a different argument), they do not have a divine right to grab cash form whatever source they can find to pay for their spending. Yes, I think this perhaps could have waited and I think that the way governments waste money is shameful and deprives important programmes from getting the money they need. However at some point you do have to step up and point out that taking money in inheritance tax is not right and that the government needs to find better ways of finding the cash it needs.
I propose starting with cutting the salaries of our elected individuals and their expense accounts...


Kav said...

Well this post got mentioned in the Blog Report of CJRDaily (from the Columbia Journalism Review) though I feel they might have mocked me - I haven't had time to read the article they mention properly and know little about past American law.

It is amazing what gets picked up, though I guess it was through my trackback to Political Animal.

Anonymous said...


As you might suspect, I fall in the category of people that question whether the government should have any right to these monies at all. Among all of the various forms of taxation, this one seems to be the most redistributive (is that a word?) of all the taxes.

Did these people not pay taxes while they were accumulating their estates? Personally, I do not care what example people use : Paris Hilton (HOT!) or the small family farm. Either way, this tax really bothers me.

If I work long and hard, invest well, and manage to accumulate a little nest egg for myself and my daughter, why in the world should the government be entitled to any of that? Should I choose to give the aforementioned nest egg to my daughter, to my pet snake, or Hubris, why in the world should the government be entitled to any of it. The way I see it, they have had their hands in my pockets the entire time I was amassing my hypothetical incredible fortune, so it should not surprise me that they feel entitled to reach into my pocket one more time, upon my passing.