Changing ideas on estate taxes. On the surface they seem to be about redistributing wealth by taking from the rich and giving back to the poor. This look at the history of estate taxes suggests otherwise.
Income and wealth inequality is a consequence when NobodyisFlyingthePlane. Redistributing wealth isn’t the answer. Eliminating rules, policies, practices and procedures which keep the wealthy wealthy and the poor poor is.
Our current economic environment is beset by policies which make it easier for the wealthy to become more so and prevent the hard working from getting ahead and moving up. This country has been stuck having the same conversation over and over about handouts and entitlements. The problem is that reality is obscured by the belief that all or even most government handouts go to the poor. More handouts with far greater economic impact benefit the wealthy. The deck is stacked so that the wealthy will stay wealthy and the poor and middle class will stay poor.
Still, redistributing wealth isn’t the answer. Eliminating rules, policies, practices, and procedures which keep the wealthy wealthy and the poor poor is.
However I don’t believe that massive estate taxes are the answer. A 10% tax on large estates is probably reasonable. But beyond that I don’t see what business the government has grabbing half of something that was already taxed when it was income. As this article points out estate taxes didn’t arise to redistribute wealth. They arose because historically they were much easier to calculate and collect than income taxes.
Reducing inequality isn’t about punitively taxing the wealthy. It should start with equality of advantage. Eliminate all the tax breaks that wealthy individuals and and large businesses use to their advantage to avoid taxes and then there won’t be any need to tax the wealthy at exorbitant rates.
Level the playing field. Not all income is equal. The working stiff who worked hard in school, earned a masters, contributes to the profitability of a respected corporation, but doesn’t bring home enough to afford a nice house and a good education for his children does not have the same advantage as someone whose primary source of income is from stocks of companies such as GE which does everything it can to avoid paying taxes to the government.
This is the inequality which needs to he addressed.
NYTimes: Is the Estate Tax Doomed? http://nyti.ms/X6n2Xz