raise the estate tax to 100%

The estate tax – or the ‘death tax’ as it’s so cleverly nicknamed – has been a cause celebre for anti-tax proponents since it was enacted. What is it?  Read more here.  I’m not a tax expert, but as someone frustrated by taxes I feel free to opine on such things.  I would hope anyone who accumulated that much wealth in their lifetime would have the good sense to do one of a few things:

  1. Plow that money back into their business in the form of capital expenditures, hiring good managers, etc. in order to leave a good income source to their children;
  2. Donate to a local charity to leave their community better; or
  3. Find a top-notch tax lawyer to protect as much of that money as possible in trusts…and failing all that,
  4. Blow it all on electronics and cars.

And so on.  Failing to dispose of that money should result in a 100% “greedy” tax. Spend it on your kids before you die.  Buy them a house.  Buy them a college education.  Give away the money.  Hell, spend it on yourself. Don’t expect to pass it off in a lump sum to your offspring.  Whether or not that should be allowed is not the point – a democratic, egalitarian society generally doesn’t look favorably on the intragenerational transfer of wealth.

I know everyone hates taxes. I do.  I hate being called rich, when I live a middle class lifestyle.  I hated taxes even more when I lived in New Jersey and paid 10% of my income in property taxes and got horrendous failing public schools, horrible roads and shoddy public services in return.  Thankfully that changed when I moved to Florida.  But I also hate the horrendous imbalances of the progressive tax system (which fails to tax 50% of the citizenry who use the same publicly financed schools, roads and libraries as I do) and the horrendous unfairness of the (hidden) regressive taxes we all pay (think license plate fees, for example – Donald Trump pays the same for his Rolls as I pay for my 10-year old beater).  I don’t think poor people should be taxed at the same rate as the rich, but anyone who doesn’t pay income taxes won’t have a sense of ownership of their public institutions, so I think poor people should be taxed.  I don’t think Trump should have to pay more for his license plate than I should, but at the same time I don’t see why that tax isn’t treated the same as income tax.  Imbalances are rife thoughout the system.  Almost any tax will be greeted with the howls of those taxed, so…

…let’s make the estate tax 100%.  Let’s force everyone to utilize their money while they are still alive.  And let me know if you think I’m serious or not.

photo by Alejandra Mavroski