Observations on life

I want your wealth dead or alive

I never could understand the fairness of the estate tax, but I have concluded fairness is not the criteria anyway. It’s just a matter of some people believing other people should not have a lot more money than they do and that government is the best decider of who gets what from our collective efforts over our working lives.

I will never have sufficient wealth to pay such a tax and certainly not any proposed wealth tax … I even gave up buying lottery tickets.

That being the case, why should you or I care as I assume no one reading this is in the upper millionaire stratosphere?

Because it’s inherently wrong in my opinion. It sends a message that reward from one’s hard work, risk taking, etc. is an entitlement for others.

Most of the super rich are generous with their wealth. We don’t need government taxing more than income as earned (although I do think taxing passive income like capital gains and dividends should be equal to earned income at the highest income levels).

There are those among us who simply don’t like anyone having more than they do. They ignore the road to wealth and focus on the pot of gold as if it magically and unfairly appeared before a select few.

Senator Sanders is so obsessed with this idea his proposals trip over themselves. He wants confiscatory wealth and estate taxes apparently forgetting if you take the wealth, the estate shrinks. What’s next, banning charity giving above designated wealth levels so the money flows only to government?

Sen Sanders’ proposed estate tax rates depending on the size of the estate:

  • $3.5M – $10M:  45%
  • $10M – $50M:  50%
  • $50M – $1B:  55%
  • >$1B:  77%

77% How’s that for a fair share?

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6 replies »

  1. I have no beef with someone who achieves great wealth in their lifetime. I admire it in most cases because it usually reflects ingenuity, drive, hard work, etc.The latest statistics I find are that the top 1% own 37% of net worth in this country, not like some stories you hear of .01% owning 90% which is cherry picking. Seems reasonable to me, but in that chunk you have a few hundred families that own the vast chunk of the 37%, and the educated guess is most of that is inherited. I have no interest in seeing royalty in this country. I thought we ditched that 200 years ago. I see no reason we should let these select few hang on to so much wealth just because they won the “born to a super rich guy lottery”. Let them go out and earn it. I grew up poor and my wife did too. We worked our butts off to attain a comfortable living. I do not begrudge where we ended and I do not have sympathy for those who did not work hard. But I have zero respect for some chump who has sat around living off daddy’s, or granddaddy’s, or great granddaddy’s fortune. Let him or her go earn it too. I would support a very high estate tax rate with a floor set at say $50 million starting at 20% ending at $250 million at 100%. Yes 100%. That leaves plenty for the chumps, but at least they aren’t owning a quarter of the country.I would encourage these people who have worked hard to earn the kind of money they have to spend it in their lifetime. On whatever they wish. Give it away. Support research of your choice. Whatever. I am not interested where the money goes, as long as it doesn’t stay concentrated. There is no natural law that I am aware of that it should go to their progeny in perpetuity.I have always bought into the idea of this country as a place where the regular person can make it big. Not a place where the chump who never worked a day holds so much capital. Sanders is right to see it as a problem. He is wrong when he wants to give it to others. By the way I just found your blog and I appreciate the perspectives. Very good. Thanks.

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  2. Not only politics and taxes… almost everything else in modern society has gone nuts. From my perspective, it’s a big sign that something earth-shaking is about to happen.

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  3. If passed, it sounds like a good time to become a trust fund lawyer to shield all this money from the government. I can see a lot of estates become non-profit museums giving tours once a month of the grounds. The rest of the month the caretakers will live in their homes, I mean at the estate museum. Of course they will have to run all the machinery (cars, boats, planes) to keep them operational. And the should be paid for their services of maintaining the estate.

    I’ll bet in less than 10 years, that nobody will have more than $3.5 million of wealth directly.

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  4. Dick,

    On the wealth tax – the income tax enacted in 1913 was only 1% and only on the very wealthy! Once the door is opened look out. By the next generation Bernie’s/Warren’s wealth tax would cover many more.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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