This excerpt from a Wall Street Journal article peaked my senses. It seems the rich, who we give massive tax breaks, are aware that their kids will probably blow through their inherited wealth after they are gone. What a bind to be in! I bet they take all this planning and trustees as tax deductions. It seems very ironic that while most of us are just trying to stay out of the poor house, and in any other house at all, there are those who worry about the other end of the spectrum.
Instead of “cleverly written trusts” and “carefully chosen trustees” how about just letting them make their own way in life like the other 98% of us do? Who knows, maybe Paris Hilton would even be a productive member of our society if she had not inherited so much of granddaddy’s wealth. 🙂 Up until recently (the 1980s that is) the government taxed wealthy estates so that a significant part of the accumulated money could go back for the common good. Our country was even established around the ideas that aristocracies are a drain on society. They thoroughly renounced the European version when we formed our country. In fact it was not long after our revolution that the French also rebelled against their aristocracy in a very bloody fashion. So how is it now that we do so much to retain our version of aristocracy that makes up the top 1% of our population but controls almost 50% of the country’s wealth?
OK, here I go again with the “Walters plan” for accumulated wealth. I know we can’t force the super rich to allow their children to make their own way in the world. But let’s treat the money they pass on to their children as “income” and therefore subject to the usual income taxes. To me income is income no matter where it comes from. If you get money that you didn’t work for and you haven’t paid any taxes on it is considered income to you. Another part of the “Walters Plan” is where we establish a more equitable income tax structure. Don’t tax the billionaires at a lower rate than the people who empty their trash. Let’s set a level of tax free income so that a person can get the basic necessities and then tax everything else at a certain rate and with no tax deductions. These big tax loop holes that congress seems to endlessly write for the rich, and for many others for that matter, are one of the reasons we are in the deficit hole we are in.
But what do I know.