As Jacobson, Raub, and Johnson have pointed out, supporters of these taxes have seen their moral purpose as “preventing the concentration of wealth in the hands of a relatively few powerful families.” It’s fair that very large estates should pay these taxes because they have benefited from the government’s work more than others. A few examples include government regulation of securities, police protection (having more property and wealth to protect than others), and low tax rates on capital gains income.
I don’t want America to be a country in which dynasties hand vast wealth down to their children while the rest of us tread water or fall into poverty.
The taxes should be called what they are: estate and inheritance taxes. If we want to make clear that only a few pay them, we could call them “taxes on very large estates and inheritances.”
What do you think?