You can't take it with you, or leave it
Republicans are pushing for the repeal of the federal estate tax, as they should. The responses from the Democrat/Progressives is revealing, to the point that it distills the nature of the inherent differences between conservatives and progressives.
Democrat/Progressives believe that “repealing the tax is a giveaway to the rich,” that repealing the Estate Tax would be giving the rich “a tax break.”
First we must attack the notion that allowing a person to be able to leave that for which he has toiled to his family is somehow “giving” him something. The absurdity of this notion connects nicely with the “you didn’t build that” rant from Liz Warren. But this is a peek into the thought process of the left. Everything is everybody’s, and we must break up any concentrations.
The mindset of the left in this regard is in line with the idea that it is the federal government that issues rights, like the right to whether you may pass on your wealth or forfeit it to the federal government. Peculiar is the notion that the federal experiment from 1787, originally empowered by sovereign states delegating only certain powers, could have evolved to a condition that it is now considered, by some, itself the issuer of rights.
If the matter be that concentrations of wealth are bad, perhaps we should look at other instances of wealth concentration. Harvard has an endowment of roughly $35 billion. If the life expectancy of a human is 80 years, and if the event of death is a taxable event, then perhaps the Harvard endowment, to be fair, should be taxed every 80 years. You know, to prohibit the creation of “wealth pockets.” Perhaps the Clinton Foundation could be taxed at that interval as well.
For if the Johnson family has been farming in Iowa for 100 years, and has accumulated structures and property, why should it be taxed by the estate tax while the Harvard endowment and the Clinton Foundation escape? Concentrations each, so why the penalty of being taxed upon a death event?
The left might say that Harvard does good work. But the Johnsons grow good food – corn for feed and ethanol, and soybeans for tofu in Cambridge. Is that not good work, too?
When someone holds your head under water, then lets you up, that isn’t giving you anything. It is stopping a harmful activity, and correcting a wrong. No breaks, no giveaways, just a return to fairness. Repeal the estate tax. To tax the death of an individual yet allow endowments and foundations to amass wealth ad infinitum is unfair.