The case for eliminating the estate tax
To Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), the money, property and wealth a man or woman accumulates over their lifetime is the property of the federal government, and it is the federal government that will determine what the family will receive after they have taken their tribute. The children that are usually left the most will have to settle for 65% to 45% of what is left after the government takes what they will take. I guess that Wills are a thing of the past, and God forbid you have a shoebox of cash or jewelry that doesn’t get added to the estate value. I wonder what would be the penalty for that?
When pressed and told that the money earned was previously taxed. Mr. Weiner said, “They won’t be paying taxes,” and then he said, “They’ll be dead.” I was taken aback by the sharp and unapologetic tone in his voice. As if the death of an American millionaire takes a back seat to the money that can be confiscated from them. …
To Mr. Weiner the millionaire’s children have no right to their parent’s inheritance and the parents have no right to give it to them. Estates are never just a lump of cash, Estate’s are most often land, property and running businesses including farms. It is also anything that the Estate appraiser deems to be valuable. Family heirlooms that have been passed from generation to generation will be subject to taxation.
The question is, does a man or woman have the right to determine what happens to their money while still alive? Is a will a soon to be forgotten legally binding document? Does the government have the right to confiscate wealth from its dead citizens? Do the children of those that have estates have fewer rights than those that do not?
Let me say two things up front: I have not been affected by the estate tax in the past; I do not foresee being affected by the estate tax in the foreseeable future. The estate tax, simply, is theft. It’s the theft of a person’s wealth from which the government has already extracted its pound of flesh (already been taxed). Those assets should be that person’s to dispose of as they see fit, unencumbered by gift or estate taxes. That the estate tax is on the “value” of the asset, ignoring debts on the asset, that the estate tax is a significant killer of small businesses and farms are, IMO, secondary (though potent arguments) to the fact that the estate tax is theft.