Bending the Third Rail
Because We Should, We Can, We Do
Friday, June 09, 2006
Estate Tax
The latest wedgie is estate taxes. It failed in the Senate yesterday.

I've been thinking about the repeal of the estate tax. Frankly, I don't have a problem repealing it. The argument by rich conservatives is that folks work hard all their lives to earn their estate, why should they be taxed on it when they die? Liberals have generally rooted the estate tax in less aristocratic thought of each generation earning their own.

The conservative argument, standing alone, is really nonsense. Estate accumulation is a result of many factors. Risk and hard work are key factors. But societal success and tax policies are also a big part. When the economy at-large is successful, asset accumulation is easier. When tax policies are favorable to the rich, asset accumulation is easier. So those with large estates have benefited all their lives from the common good. And for someone who is, say 80 years old and dies, they've had a more favorable tax status all their lives because of the estate taxes that have been paid by those who pre-deceased them.

Government cost money. Taxes have to be levied to pay for government services. So I don't have a problem with the estate tax being repealed IF the missing revenue is collected in taxes from those who accumulate assets throughout their lives. This levels the playing field for all and prevents the rich from "having their cake and eating it too".
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