Revision: Estate Taxes Considered Okay

Jeff Bone (
Tue, 03 Aug 1999 18:59:22 -0500

Okay, I've changed my mind. No problem at all with estate taxes...
even 100% estate taxes... as long as you eliminate all gift taxes and
restrictions on gifting. ;-)

There's at least one unpleasant side effect of taxes (indeed, laws in
general) that tends to get ignored. The Hunt anecdote mentioned earlier
underscores this; even if fictional, it has the ring of truth. The
problem is that most laws, taxes, and so forth are ideologically
motivated by a notion of "the common good." However, the popular /
powerful / wealthy are far more capable of both shaping the rules and
circumventing them than the less fortunate. (If that's not a good
argument against law in general I don't know what is. ;-) The people
who tend to be most adversely effected by taxes / the law are those who
it is most intended to serve; the billionaire passes on a large part or
even most of his estate, while the hard-working upper middle class guy
who worked all his life is able to leave little for his family, perhaps
even leaves debt. I fail to see how the common good --- if you even
believe that there is such a thing --- is served by this.