Wall Street Journal article proffered several points in support of the estate
tax. In response, a Forbes.com blog provided several counterpoints. Below is a
brief overview of the points and counterpoints.
For the Estate Tax:
1. Exemptions and deferred payment rules protect small
businesses and family farms.
2. An estate tax provides revenue with little adverse supply-side economic
impact. The net effect increases demand because the funds are spent, as opposed
to saving/paying debt with inheritance.
3. The estate tax promotes meritocracy and a land of opportunity by avoiding
the accumulation of inherited wealth.
4. Billions in federal revenue have been lost because of Congress' failure to
restore the estate tax for this year (a time of stressed financial conditions).
Rubin And Julian Robertson, Bring Back
the Estate Tax Now; Allowing it to lapse has cost us billions of dollars in
revenue this year, The Wall Street Journal (September 1, 2010)
Against the Estate Tax:
1. A new
tax should not be enacted when the government needs more money because of lean
times. This supports multiplying taxes without
2. It is a
mistake to assume that spending levels are independent of taxation levels.
estate tax is a horrible tax in that it is an erratic tax on savings.
estate tax's effects reach beyond death.
5. At its
current levels, the estate tax cannot be seen as a design to break up great concentrations
6. There is
a low probability that the government will spend the money and thus improve
welfare over the private alternative.
estate tax disrupts small businesses.
Sources: Richard Epstein, Let the Estate Tax Die a Merciful Death, Forbes (September 2, 2010),
Beyer, Pointing Out Fallacies in
Pro-Estate Tax Arguments, Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (September
7, 2010), at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2010/09/pointing-out-fallacies-in-pro-estate-tax-arguments.html