PoliBlog: A Rough Draft of my Thoughts

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  1. I’ve come to realize that my opposition to abolishing the estate tax is contained completely in the issue of capital gains. If a person has untaxed capital gains at the time of their death, then those gains are never taxed if there is no estate tax, I assume. The person inheriting the stock, or property, would incur capital gains based on the value at the time of their inheritance, if I understand this correctly. And I don’t think that’s fair. Any untaxed capital gains should be taxed at the death of the owner. But any other type of wealth, I’ve come to conclude, should not be taxed at death. I hope this makes sense, I may not be explaining myself well.

    Comment by Harry — Wednesday, June 30, 2004 @ 5:01 pm

  2. I’ll comment here, although I may write a bit on this and trackback later.
    Here is one reason why the estate tax is a very good idea: to avoid excessive concentrations of wealth across generations. It was passed in 1916 as a direct response to the massive estates and excesses of the “Guilded Age.”

    I might agree with adjustments to the estate tax (e.g., raising the trigger to, say, $3-5 million), but the abolition of the tax is ultimately un-democratic. A democracy will eventually begin to falter as weath–and power–become concentrated in the hands of a minority.

    On a final note, the term “Death Tax” is just a rhetorical device to cause people to dismiss the idea without ever thinking about the the issues and policy.

    Comment by OJ — Thursday, July 1, 2004 @ 1:43 pm

  3. Steven, you might like this essay I wrote in November….
    http://www.cuzwesaidso.com/archives/000029.html

    Comment by Rip Rowan — Friday, July 2, 2004 @ 10:55 am

  4. OJ,

    I disagre For one thing, the issue of wealth concentration is not a serious problem in the US (in my opinion). For another, the issue isn’t democracy, per se, but one of wealth distribution.

    And while I concur that the term “Death Tax” is used for rhetorical puposes, I would not concur that is it used by people who never think about the issues and policy.

    Comment by Steven — Friday, July 2, 2004 @ 11:14 am

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