I just finished reading a really interesting and informative article by Michael Tomasky, one of my favorite writer/thinkers. The subject? Is the inheritance tax moral or immoral? Wealthy conservatives claim the latter while Tomasky proves that the former is true. I recommend reading the whole thing, but if you don't have time at least consider the following excerpt:
The conservative position here is not only immoral. It’s un-American, and explicitly so. Our Founding Fathers, as a group, loved inheritance taxes. Loved them. And it stands to reason—they were founding a nation that would throw off the old weights and chains of Europe. Those weight and chains very much included laws of primogeniture and inheritance that resulted in all those layabout royals and their massive estates. America, they vowed, would not be like that. Social position would be earned, not inherited.And so no less a figure than TJ himself led the fight in the Virginia legislature in 1777 to abolish primogeniture laws. Jefferson even went so far as to wonder whether all rights of inheritance should be abolished and most property basically reshuffled every 50 years. We didn’t do that of course, but every revolutionary state government followed Virginia’s lead.So the conservative position is immoral and un-American. It’s also un-conservative. I say this because well, on matters economic, who is the conservatives’ great hero? Maybe Hayek. But he’s like the Lebron. The Jordan is still Adam Smith. And Adam Smith believed in taxing huge wealth. He wrote this: “A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fullness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural. There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death.”
Verrrrrrry interesting, no?