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More death tax stuff…

Following a link supplied in a comment on my last mention of it, I found the father of Bill Gates offering some arguments for the death tax here.. I’d like to look at them a little closer…

“In a time of budget deficits, repealing the tax would provide a $1 trillion tax break over 20 years for those best able to pay taxes. That would force less-wealthy people to pay more. The tax falls only on estates of at least $1 million for an individual or $2 million for a couple, and the exemptions will rise through the years.”

Actually, instead of “forcing” other people to pay more, it should “force” congress to spend less. By the way, that 1 trillion dollar break sounds impressive, until you realize that the government will collect over 40 trillion in tax revenues over that same time.That represents a 2.5% discount, surely they can cinch the belt tighter by 2.5%? Any time someone says that it’s better for the government to have money instead of citizens, I am reminded of how little people really think about what they are saying.

“Tax opponents were asked to find a farm that had been lost because of the tax, Collins said, and “they could not find a single example.”

Fair enough, no farms were lost. But it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that people on the margin would be hurt pretty badly if they wanted to keep their parent’s business. Why should they have to suffer at all?

“The tax is a powerful incentive for the wealthy to put their money into foundations and other charities, because contributions are fully deductible. The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, which sponsored Wednesday’s appearance, released research estimating that repeal would cost charities $9.6 billion a year nationally and $196 million in Minnesota, based on 2001 giving and bequests.”

If we are to believe this figure, we have to keep it in perspective. For the sake of argument we’ll assume that all that money would indeed be lost to charities. Does the phrase “The ends do not justify the means” mean anything? Sure. they give the money to charities, but only to avoid giving it to the government. The assumption is that they’d rather give it to their heirs but they are forced to do something else. That isn’t right. The government should never be in a position to dictate to a person what they have to do with what they own.

“Huge wealth — perhaps $41 trillion — will transfer from one generation to another in the next few years, and young heirs would be able to “get up in the morning and do anything they want to do,” said Gates, who is cochairman of a foundation that has given away billions of dollars of his son’s wealth. “Is it a good thing for those kids?”

Here’s a thought, it’s none of your fucking business how somebody decides to provide for their kids. Christ Almighty, it doesn’t get any clearer than this… We know what’s best for your kids, and the government should force you to do what we think is right. Hello? Fascism anyone? Mr. Gates only has to look at his son to get an idea of what a fabulously wealthy person might do, it certainly hasn’t hurt Bill Gates’ charitable streak to have so much money, are his kids such bastards that they’d stop doing that?

“And people who made fortunes through advances in technology, much of it government funded, have an obligation to give back.”

Umm, isn’t the reason that they are fantastically rich because they have provided a product or service that everyone uses or likes? The government and everyone that uses that product has made lots of money with it or otherwise enjoyed it. Seems to me that they have done their job and they have been paid for it. Nobody “owes” anything to anyone.

In short, monetary arguments about the death tax are silly. It represents a tiny fraction of the tax revenue collected, but it represents a decent chunk of any estate that is affected by it. There is no moral justification for this. The forcible taking of money and/or property from your heirs is pretty low. The fact that the people affected are “rich” does not change the morality of the situation, no one has any right to take money from someone without giving something to them in return. Why robbery of the rich is condoned I’ll never know or understand.

Isaac

2 replies on “More death tax stuff…”

More more death tax…

The government should never be in a position to dictate to a person what they have to do with what they own.

I believe that this statement sums up your whole argument and it seems, your philosophy. In short, taxes should be voluntary. Lets just sit back and watch the money roll in… Step Right Up…who is going to donate first?

“And people who made fortunes through advances in technology, much of it government funded, have an obligation to give back.”

Umm, isn’t the reason that they are fantastically rich because they have provided a product or service that everyone uses or likes? The government and everyone that uses that product has made lots of money with it or otherwise enjoyed it. Seems to me that they have done their job and they have been paid for it. Nobody “owes” anything to anyone.

Yes but the point of the statement you are rebutting is that the money to fund the work that produced the goods that made the billionaires didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It was provided by the government from our tax dollars. When they “provided a product or service that everyone uses or likes” they didn’t just pull it outa there asses. They got money from the government to produce something. They produced something. Then they got lots of money selling the somethings. Where and when exactly did the payback happen?

Re: More more death tax…

More more death tax…
(Anonymous)
2006-06-18 08:24 am UTC (link) Select
The government should never be in a position to dictate to a person what they have to do with what they own.

I believe that this statement sums up your whole argument and it seems, your philosophy. In short, taxes should be voluntary. Lets just sit back and watch the money roll in… Step Right Up…who is going to donate first?

OK, I think that in an ideal world that it would be voluntary, can you imagine only paying for a war if you thought it was justified? Or how about only funding the programs that you liked and not having to pay for the ones you disagree with. Doesn’t sound too bad to me but we both know that we don’t live in an ideal world. This is why I mentioned that taxing someone for governmental services can be argued for in my original post. Even the most die hard Libertarian has a hard time disputing that national defense or the judicial system doesn’t benefit him. The point of my posts on this topic is the immorality of the government confiscating what should be your children’s. Not only is the government taking it away from your heirs, they don’t get a damn thing for it. I defy you, Mr. Anonymous, to defend this. Defend theft for some “ideal” that is forced on someone, defend confiscation of assets that have already been taxed. Remember, the ends do not justify the means. The money may be spent very wisely and go towards great projects, but it is still stolen money.

“Yes but the point of the statement you are rebutting is that the money to fund the work that produced the goods that made the billionaires didn’t just appear out of nowhere. It was provided by the government from our tax dollars. When they “provided a product or service that everyone uses or likes” they didn’t just pull it outa there asses. They got money from the government to produce something. They produced something. Then they got lots of money selling the somethings. Where and when exactly did the payback happen?”

The “payback” is the use and exploitation of that product. That is what the money is forked over for. I don’t know of any particular instances of this actually happening, but let’s think about it. The government decides that there needs to be a certain technology made so it pays a company to make it. The company makes the product and the government uses it for whatever they wanted to use it for. That’s what’s called an exchange, they each traded something for something else. The company got money and the government got it’s technology. So we are even-steven at this point. Now consumers decide that they want the product too, so they pay for it. Once again, the company and the other party have made an even exchange, they sold it for what they thought it was worth and the person paid what it was worth to them. From the company’s standpoint, the government is no different than a large business. If you want to keep the bill to the taxpayers low, you’ll allow that company to make money selling it to willing consumers. Of course if the government didn’t do this in the first place it would save taxpayers even more… All of this can (and does) happen without the government’s assistance so the questioning should be about unneeded government interference in markets, not about how people get rich. The point is that nobody “owes” anyone anything because the deal has already been done. Yes, the company or person makes money, but the consumers get to use that product, surely that’s worth something? It turns out that it is, it’s worth, at most, what they paid for it…

Isaac

Isaac

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