Quick, name one of the major motivations for the founding fathers leaving
Did I hear 'entrenched aristocracy'? If so, give yourself 2 points and continue.
This week the Senate is once again about to take up the "issue" of the estate tax. They were set to debate this last year, but Katrina came along -- talking about giving a huge tax break to the richest Americans just didn't seem right after thousands of poor and middle class families where washed out into the streets.
Back to the founders: Jefferson and Franklin both realized that people aspire to the aggregation of wealth, but both remained adamantly opposed to its aggregation... After all, they came out of a system where the landed aristocracy remained in power simply by virtue of birth-right. Jefferson, in particular, had no problem with what he called "natural aristocracy" -- the accumulation of wealth/power/influence by merit, but he argued that "Provisions ... to prevent its [birth-right aristocracy] ascendancy should be taken in
In short, we're supposed to be a society where rewards [economic] are based on individual merit... not on who your daddy was. Sure, you should be able to leave a tidy nest egg for your children when you pass on; and there's a legitimate debate as to how big that nest egg should be before Uncle Sam steps in with taxes. But to even consider a complete repeal of the estate tax undercuts our founding principles.
Besides, no matter how you tax Bill Gates' estate, I'm sure his lawyers and accounts will make sure their kids have a huge head-start in life.