Rollotomasi on the Estate Tax

Hoisted from comments, just like Brad DeLong does. Reader rollotomasi writes:

Let’s see – by virtue of having the right parents, I get to inherit a business that is reasonably expected to generate $10 million a year for me indefinitely to almost guarantee me a lifetime of wealth and privilege, plus provide me a ready-made management position if I’m so inclined, and for this I would have to pay the government $20 million total plus interest? The travesty!

I consider this among the right’s greatest propaganda achievements – to convince a significant segment of the population to feel sorry for those with 10 to 10 million times greater wealth – by using rhetorical devices similar to the terrorist with a ticking bomb argument for torture. It would seem there are about as many farmers and small business owners that have had to sell inherited assets to pay the estate taxes thereon as there are illegal voters for which Rove was using U.S. Attorneys and our tax dollars to prosecute.

At least Warren Buffet has his head screwed on straight about this. Here’s what he said about giving most of his fortune to charity and opposition to repealing the estate tax:

I love it when I’m around the country club, and I hear people talking about the debilitating effects of a welfare society,” he said. “At the same time, they leave their kids a lifetime and beyond of food stamps. Instead of having a welfare officer, they have a trust officer. And instead of food stamps, they have stocks and bonds.


We have come closer to a true meritocracy than anywhere else around the world,” he said. “You have mobility so people with talents can be put to the best use. Without the estate tax, you in effect will have an aristocracy of wealth, which means you pass down the ability to command the resources of the nation based on heredity rather than merit.

No better example of good money chasing bad or argument that financial resources would be better used by the government can be found than the right-wing, “old money” families and foundations from which the right-wing propaganda machine sprang. They have used their wealth to fund propaganda distribution outfits posing as think tanks and media outlets and to tilt academic study in order to foist their selfish, destructive agenda on the American public with eventually much higher costs to the taxpayer; the gift that keeps on giving, as it were. As far as any jobs being created, only the like-minded need apply.