Monday, June 05, 2006


One of the best attributes of America is that America doesn’t have a permanent upper class like Europe. Ordinary Americans can still work their way into the upper class by hard work, disciplined saving, and wise investment. Without an inheritance tax, wealthy Americans will be able to use government to protect the “already wealthy” and make it harder for ordinary Americans to work, save, and invest their way into the upper class. Ever wonder why America doesn’t have a wealth tax?

Of all forms of taxation, the inheritance tax hurts the least number of people and has the least affect on the economy. It is much better to tax the dead who no longer need their wealth than it is to tax the living who are still climbing the ladder of success. Ted Kennedy hasn’t had to work a [honest] day in his life, but he is constantly advocating new taxes on those who work.

Of all forms of taxation, income taxes, including Social Security are the least fair. If we have to have taxes, and we do, although not at current levels, then it would be better to eliminate Social Security and increase inheritance taxes.

Children of the wealthy should not have a lifetime pass even if they are only inheriting a small business. If a business is big enough to owe the inheritance tax at the death of its principle owner, then it is large enough to be incorporated.

In addition to keeping the inheritance tax, I would prefer a wealth tax to an income or consumption tax.

Both income and consumption taxes hurt those generating economic activity by penalizing the industrious. If a person spends every dime they earn, they should pay no taxes. They have done their part for America by working and supporting the work of others. Reducing income taxes would also immediately make American workers more competitive in the world economy.

Furthermore, a wealth tax would prevent anyone from just sitting on a pile of money. It would also be the easiest for government to administer and the hardest for cheaters to avoid. Income and spending can be hidden from government; it is much harder, impossible even, to hide property and investments. A wealth tax would still be passed on to those earning income and those consuming goods and services, but earners and consumers would not have to worry about the burden of paperwork.


Rick and Gary said...

I agree on keeping the estate tax, aka death tax, for exaclt the reason you cite.

On a wealth tax, please remember the when wealthy people sit on a pile of money, that money is actually invested in stocks and bonds, providng capital for businesses to create new products, markets, and jobs.

While a consumption tax falls harder on the poor and middle class, it would be great if such a tax could be worked out in some fair way, like a rebate or elimination of income taxes on the first $35,000/year, or something. The government should reward work and tax consumption, not vice versa.

David M. Smith said...

Hi Rick,

I completely agree that without capital investment, there could be no large and robust economy. This is why I used the term “sitting on a pile of money”. The income from investments should not be taxed which would be a good incentive to invest in profitable enterprises, but the total wealth would be taxed at a small rate. This also increases the incentive to keep the money invested and working where it will produce the most results.

I do not believe that anyone should be exempt from taxes. America has an ever growing problem where those who pay little or no tax are voting themselves shares of those who pay large amounts of taxes. I believe that if everyone had to pay taxes, there would be less use of government to steal from the successful.

Rick and Gary said...

Hi David -- Yeah, that's an excellent point. When people don't get taxed, they care a lot less about the size of government, despite the growing debt and threat to liberty.

David M. Smith said...

OK Rick, your starting to worry me. I’m not accustomed to commenter’s who agree with me more than once. Are you sure you have thought this through?