Friday, August 17, 2007

Abolish Inheritance Tax?

Today the front pages of the UK press splash age-old conservative proposals as though they were news.

People say that a tax of 40% on the dead is unfair. Yes, surely a tax rate of 100% would be more fair.

If you want to give money away when you are alive, fine, you should not be penalised for doing it. But if you are dead then you don't need money.

It's a line that's been used before in a different context, but how can you say that every child should have equal opportunity if you also say that some children should have privileged opportunity.

If someone's ancestors gathered a large amount of capital illegally, for example by leading a norman invasion of a largely anglo-saxon area or by conducting other illegal wars, then does that mean that the descendants of the invaders should forever have a better start in life compared to those who were here first?

There are countering arguments. No-one should have to move out of their home just because a loved one has died. But remember that what one generation thinks is perfectly moral wealth acquisition is not always considered the same way a hundred years later. So if you should not be punished for the sins of your forefathers, then the converse must also be true.

And I know you disagree with this. Everyone seems to. But these pages are for thinking about alternatives, not for parroting predictable political policies.


Ann said...

Funny. I have no problem wıth ınherıtıng nothıng from eıther my father. I don't need hıs money.

I do have a problem now wıth not beıng able to leave somethıng for my chıldren, but I guess that's just parental worry.

Faisal said...

If we all got the same start in life with respect to intelligence, talent, athletic abilities, looks, country we were born in, social services we were able to take advantage of, fantastic school teachers, parents' spending power and parenting skills, etc., etc. then yes, we should all be expected to make it on our own.

Till that happens, we should not begrudge parents trying to ensure their children's future.

Capitalism never promised even distribution of wealth. And it's never an expected outcome when there is an abuse of governmental authority.

RNB said...

We will never get the same start in life with respect to intelligence, talent ... parenting skills etc. I know that.

But what I've said is because wealth may be immorally acquired in one generation, is it fair to exacerbate those differences for the next generation?

If all the land in any area you choose was bought/acquired/stolen a hundred years ago, does that mean unless you inherited that land then you would forever be expected to pay rent to those who did?

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