Tuesday, April 19, 2005

They Write Letters

Some letters to the editor printed today in the NYT are illuminating in the matter of the estate tax. This, for example, is interesting:

Your April 15 editorial espouses the virtue of government confiscation with the specious argument that the government needs the money.

Why is the government's need for money any more valid than the need of the individual who earns it?

Of course those affected by the estate tax do not include "the individual who earn(ed) it." That person is dead and presumably trying to jam their way through the proverbial needle's eye; the people affected are purely and simply parasites receiving money they did not earn. The world owes no one a living - including the children of the wealthy, they less than anyone, in fact, since presumably they have generally benefited from the best of everything including education and, most importantly, connections. We have a republic, not a nation of lords and serfs. This writer put it well:

Who should be taxed more: a hard-working wage earner, or a trust-fund baby reeling in the third million of his inheritance?

We have heard that high income taxes discourage work. Conversely, many well-educated scions of wealthy families might use estate tax repeal as their ticket to the beach. In that case, estate tax repeal would do little for our global competitiveness.

Very few heirs to great wealth are worth the powder it would take to blow them up. Paris Hiltons are a lot more common than people of virtue. When you think of the estate tax, Hilton is a very good example. When you think of her, think of the thousands of minimum-wage maids who made Conrad Hilton rich and who uniformly died poor. Think of them.


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