Monday, January 24, 2011

The Tyrants Have You Either Way: The Death Tax

Most recently there was the “Breath Tax”: a governmental punishment of the living, a health care bill to make you ill, a taxation on your inhalation. First, though, was the “Death Tax”: a governmental punishment of the dead, a terminal take before the wake, a last confiscation before the final destination. For now, let's look at the latter also called the inheritance tax.

If a person works hard enough to “shuffle off this mortal coil” with a certain amount of assets, some believe it is that person’s duty to leave a portion to those not of his choosing. How natural that a man leave behind something for those things he loves: his family, his church, his civic organization, or his favorite charity. How unnatural that he should leave something behind to his government which, through taxation and regulation, made the accumulation of his wealth so difficult.

A cynical man, such as myself, is not beyond pointing out that the liberals’ concept of the death tax takes power from individuals and gives it to the favorite tool of the left, the federal government. It is no surprise that the idea rests – actually, it lounges arrogantly – upon the thoughts of communist hero Karl Marx. “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Does that sound familiar? It should; Marx made it popular after stealing the phrase from Louis Blanc.

Blanc’s statement is based on the class-warfare concept that there can be no win-win agreements. One side must always take advantage of the other and individuals can never mutually profit from a business deal. Based on this, if you die wealthy then you have cheated others significantly and so the taking of your assets should be legal and is even just.

As he has stated on talk shows repeatedly, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) thinks that because a person is dead his wishes while alive no longer have merit, and neither do the current wishes of his heirs. However; if that’s true, then why doesn’t Schumer encourage the government simply take all of the money from all estates of all sizes? His logic dictates this should be the case. And if the government has use for half of your money, then surely it has a use for the other half.

Why don’t liberals advocate that Washington take it all? Why not take 100% of even the smallest inheritance? They don’t yet dare commandeer an entire estate, because they are afraid voters will look at their rationale and reject every bit of it. It is our willingness to concede the incorrect Marxist principles that emboldens them to pilfer at all from the dead.

Senator Schumer, and his other liberal allies, attempt to make the point that the dead person made the money, not his family and therefore the family has no right to that money. Yet, the family was deprived of the use of that money during the deceased’s lifetime, because they could not consume what he was investing. In real life, unlike the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of Obama’s health care package, money cannot simultaneously be “invested” by a government program while being spent elsewhere.

Schumer’s thoughts beg another question: Why should the government get the money? I have yet to see anyone in the media ask Schumer this simple question. If the individual, not the family, earned the money, then the government certainly did not earn the money, so why should it get a penny? And if the government does get it, why not the local government? Why should the federal government be able to confiscate the result of a man’s life work? Perhaps someone will ask Schumer this question, because the family is the smallest and oldest political unit.

It was the sacrifice of the family, as well as the individual, that made the accumulation of wealth possible. The government in no way suffered because the investment of the deceased created jobs, funded research, developed technology and created additional wealth. This is apart from the taxes and fees the man and his family paid. The government benefitted from the family’s sacrifices and Senator Schumer wants them to be deprived again.

Schumer might further argue that if it were not for the government the deceased would not have had the opportunity to make money. This may be true, but the individual paid taxes during his lifetime for that opportunity and was not rewarded by the government for creating jobs that created additional taxpayers. In fact, the successful person is offered no more government services than anyone else, but pays more money for them while alive, because of the “progressive” federal income tax also based on Marxist class warfare.

If Schumer’s arguments are the best arguments the liberals have, then they have none. Audacity alone is not reason enough to allow the continued theft of the hard-earned wealth of individuals. The left have become so hungry for money that they have turned our federal government into licensed grave robbers.

It appears that the inheritance tax is a device to prevent capital accumulation. In fact, it destroys capital which lessens investment, which harms the economy. The wanton destruction of capital is an attack on our society and our ideals, not the wealthy.

The truly wealthy will always find legal ways to avoid high taxation, but those attempting to become wealthy, especially small farmers and small businessmen, will receive the punishment of the government’s mistaken actions. The American ideal of leaving each generation of a family more financially able than the last through hard work and judicious living is being trampled in the rush to redistribute the wealth of the middle class. It is past time to end the inheritance tax.


  1. Excellent post Ken, and the site looks great.

  2. Tie politicians pay to America's economic performance, with substantial bonuses for exceeding targets.


Blog Directory