Re: POLI: estate tax and longevity

Hagbard Celine (
Fri, 20 Jun 1997 16:43:04 -0400

Geoff Smith wrote:
> Is anyone else completely disgusted with the estate tax?

It's quite unsavory indeed.

An estate tax is levied on a person's right to transmit property. The
rationale seems to be that government protects this right with its laws,
and maintains also the infrastructure which facilitates it (probate
court, public records, etc.) This would perhaps warrant (according to
TINSTAAFL) a surcharge on the transaction itself regardless of the
amount being transmitted. Certainly not a percentage tax on the property
itself (unless it varied in accordance with the complexity of the
transaction.) Regardless, most probate courts do charge a small fee and
the other transactional costs are borne entirely by the decedent's
estate or the inheritor's wallet. It's usury plain and simple.

Hagbard Celine

Not a clerk of the nostalgia of the declining ruling class.