A Moral Case Against Death Taxes
Posted by Brian Garst on December 16, 2010
…I won’t pretend my dislike for the estate tax is because it hurts capital formation, say, which it certainly might. But that’s not the main reason the estate tax bothers me.
I don’t like the estate tax on moral grounds. It’s wrong for the government to tax people twice, once when they earn the money and once when they give it away, if the giving away is done after death, an arbitrary and unpredictable deadline. It’s wrong for the government to create a tax that benefits tax lawyers and insurance companies for their creativity in structuring tax havens rather than helping to make the world a better place. And it’s wrong to tell the richest Americans that they will be punished for sharing the fruits of their labor or good fortune as they see fit, even if you or I might imagine in moments of hubris and envy that we could spend it so much more wisely.
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