Re: Governmental evolution, estate tax and longevity

Abraham Moses Genen (
Sat, 21 Jun 1997 09:48:05 -0400

Hagbard Celine wrote:
> 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.

Dear Geoff, Hagbard, Max and other fellow Extropians:

The estate tax -- as well as all other taxes -- including the, albeit,
badly flawed, "progressive" income tax -- were initially conceived about
the time of the First World War, as a method of providing additional
revenue for increased governmental expenses and operations.

An additional and supplimental motivation was the somewhat Keynsian
theory of promoting social change through the re-distribution of the
wealth of an established oligarchy and the creation of greater
socio-economic equality.

As with many, or possibly most, legislative actions the influence of a
controling oligarchy created (primarily through campaign contributions;
See: Bribes) numerous exemptions to the legislation in order to allow
the oligarchy to maintain and transfer their assets to their heirs while
avoiding taxes.

In a limited democracy, such as the one presently we live in -- but do
not really control to any great extent -- the rule by economic proxy of
an ever changing, but usually self-serving oligarchy, remains a major
determining influence.

Obviously, if an estate tax were to be equitable, it would not include
the exemptions that currently exist, and the revenue generated would be
set aside in a specific account for socio-economic equalization.

The probabilities of this happening under the present campaign financing
scheme are currently slim to none. I suspect however, that they can, and
probably, eventually will be overcome to some extent through a somewhat
Toflerian "Power Shift".

If, in our paradigms, we merge a philosophy of fantasy with one of
reality, and consider the short, as well as the long term, possible
influence of a broad based and somewhat eglectic but still Extropian
philosophy on evolving cultures and society, it might be possible to
slowly alter and expand the extent of the conciousness of humankind.

The effort involved would, obviously, be substantial.

Can we afford, however, to ignore the current state of our developing
society and simply try to ignore our social, moral and ethical
responsabilities to present and future generations by closing our minds
to the realities of our times and engage in escapism by fully focusing
on our attentions and dreams of a distant but better future?

A.M. Genen