Repeal the Death Tax
By Edwin A. Locke (Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2005)
The "death tax" is a tax on inherited wealth and can amount to more than 50% of one's estate. Even many higher-taxation countries (e.g., Australia, Sweden) do not have any inheritance tax. This is money someone has earned through a lifetime of work and has already paid taxes on. What is the rationale for a second tax at death? Egalitarianism. The death tax advocates claim it is not "just" that some people give their children financial "advantages" in life that others lack.
Egalitarianism--not to be confused with equality before the law--is incompatible with freedom. In a free country, not everyone ends up with the same rewards, because not everyone is equally able, equally rational or equally hard working. With respect to earned wealth, justice means you deserve what you earn and may use it as you see fit. With respect to inheritance, since the producer's wealth belongs to him, he has the right to will it to whomever he pleases. The death tax should be repealed now and forever in the name of freedom and justice.
Reprinted with permission of The Wall Street Journal © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.