Re: The new death penalty

Gregory Alan Bolcer (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 07:09:20 -0700

My view is that estate taxes are simply recognized as the government
as a pot of money that the heir doesn't have 100% claim to. It's a completely
opportunistic money grab of funds that property that's already been
taxed many times over. It's the one true evil tax in the tax code.
$650k is nothing in California if you add up the average house and
retirement fund. $1M even pushes the barrier. Why shouldn't a parent
be able to provide for better opportunities for their children? The goal
of society and the country is to always leave it a little bit better
for the next generation, why not increase the opportunities instead of
making every generation start from a fixed amount? Heck, the 16th
amendment was a mistake that should be repealed. [1] Estate taxes are just



Dave Long wrote:
> One theory of taxation says that you should attempt to tax things
> which don't show much elasticity; otherwise the tax is "inefficient"
> in the sense that the value lost to the taxed (including lowered
> production due to the tax) is greater than the revenues gained.
> According to that theory*, then, estate taxes should be run to the
> hilt, because life is invariably fatal. (extropians? anyone?
> Bueller?)
> Unfortunately, instead of affecting the production of (im)mortality,
> levying taxes on estates simply affects the production of estate
> planning (and, in the longer term, production of lawyers), so there
> probably is a good deal of elastic inefficiency to contend with.
> If there are any dynasts on FoRK, it looks like there's a unified
> tax credit such that you can give or bequeath up to $650K before
> hitting gift or estate taxes, and that amount is scheduled to
> increase to $1M (potentially per spouse) by 2006. Not exactly chump
> change; certainly enough to give a kid or two a modest competence.
> If you're still worried about your estate, it may be worth retaining
> counsel. Can anyone here confirm the rumor that Hunt (the Texan
> billionaire) managed to arrange his affairs such that he kicked the
> bucket owning only his pickup truck? If you take this route, be
> sure your offspring are advised against attempting to corner the
> silver market with their inheritance.
> -Dave
> * Taxing authorities didn't wait for the invention of the theory:
> transfer of a fief was one of the feudal events for which payment
> could be requested (relief). The Code of Hammurabi spends a good
> deal of text on dealing with the property of the dead.
> Reading the Magna Charta shows that in the 13th century, taxation
> was governed by much the same rules as those we follow when
> baby-showering or circulating cards around the office:
> 12. No scutage or aid shall be imposed in our Kingdom, unless by
> the General Council of our Kingdom; except for ransoming our person,
> making our eldest son a knight and once for marrying our eldest
> daughter; and for these there shall be paid no more than a reasonable
> aid. In like manner it shall be concerning the aids of the City of London.
> 15. We will not for the future grant to any one that he may take aid
> of his own free tenants, unless to ransom his body, and to make his
> eldest son a knight, and once to marry his eldest daughter; and for
> this there shall be only paid a reasonable aid.