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I know, I know, advancing such a policy is not very realistic for the near future. After all, we can barely get moderately liberal policies passed, things that have been a part of the Party's platform for decades now.

Then again, it doesn't hurt to put it out there. After all, in a world where we have politicians who want to legalize rape, how extreme could reforming the inheritance system really be?

And a policy as bold as this one is bound to draw howls of Communism or Socialism or Fascism from the other side of the aisle. And I make no apologies for its extremely redistributionist nature.

Then again, even the most mundane of policies, such as the arguably modest immigration reform, the Affordable Care Act, expading Medicaid and Social Security, and closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, even they draw similar breathless howls of protest. So if they're gonna shout down our Progressive policies anyways, why not introduce one that actually makes no qualms about being Progressive?

But the thing is, that's kind of the point I'm trying to make here. See, the media is trying to push this narrative that the Democrats have a Tea Party problem of their own. They point to the rise of uncharacteristically Liberal candidates like Elizabeth Warren and Bill de Blasio, and try to draw a comparison to the rise of the Tea Party in the GOP.

But the problem I see with that is, representatives like Warren and de Blasio, Sherrod Brown and Barney Frank, sure they are pretty unabashedly Liberal, or at least, more than we're used to seeing; but nothing they propose compares at all to most of the extreme policies for which the Tea Party advocates.

They strongly push for a bill that would ease the student loan crisis plaguing America's youth. I'm pretty sure such a bill would help Democratic and Republican families alike. And of course, we all remember the big stink about expanding Social Security; this is actually something that a majority of Americans support. They want to raise the minimum wage, also a popular move.

In other words, the media is trying to paint these as extreme positions; I guess compared to what Democrats have been pushing in the past, they are. But they're actually pretty well aligned with popular opinion, making them not fringe at all.

So perhaps the media needs a recalibration on just where the Left's fringe element is. Maybe we need to start stocking up our own extreme policies, akin to the Tea Party's endless array of government shutdowns, conspiracy theories and ultimatums. Maybe then the media might start to get the idea that, hey, raising the minimum wage, closing some tax loopholes, that's some reasonable shit compared to what the actual Liberals would push if they had more control. Why the hell don't Moderates and Conservatives make some compromises now, or else they'll have to eat something even nastier than simply raising the minimum wage or expanding social security or raising the debt ceiling?

Well, I think we all know by now how realistic any of that is, either.

Here's my proposal to reform the inheritance system by the way. I got so caught up in the politics that I almost forgot the substance.

Simply put, there is a limit to how much you can leave to your survivors, say, 100 grand per family member. And the definition of family member can be left loose, to avoid all the legal battles. If you want to include some distant cousins, the guy who walks your dog, that's fine. Perhaps the nominal value can go up along with inflation, or perhaps more fittingly, along with the minimum wage. The point is, the offspring will be left enough that they won't reasonably be out on the street and starving, but no longer will they be able to inherit vast accumulated fortunes through no other reason than fortuitous conception.

Everything else you own at the time of your death, gets liquidated and returned to government programs, to go toward the benefit of society. In keeping with the spirit of bequeathing wealth to one's progeny, the majority of funds collected from this can go towards youth enrichment programs, school breakfast and lunch programs, and funding education in general.

Furthermore, this would encourage our country's wealthiest people, as they age and become less able to enjoy the vast riches they have accumulated, to spend it before they are old and on the verge of returning it to the government. After all, they spent so much time and effort paying as little of it in taxes as possible, it only makes sense they would rather spend it on themselves, their family and friends, maybe even a charity or two. But hey, even if it doesn't go back to the government, that's money that they've spent years keeping out of the economy, now going back in. In other words, it's being spent rather than becoming the source of another generation's money horde.

And let's look at how this fits in with the Conservative mindset. At all times, Conservatives want to drill this message into us, that they are these firm believers in working and earning your way to success. Ostensibly, they are all about self-made men and sometimes women.

Well, it seems to me, inheriting vast fortunes from someone else's hard work (and we can sidestep the debate over whether a significant portion of that is even from capitalizing on other people's hard work, or just straight up money laundering and tax evasion schemes) goes against this core Conservative principle.

What arguments do they really have against reforming this incredibly unjust system? That taking away inheritance is Redistributionist, it's Socialist, and not the American Way? Please. I'm not going to get into such a debate with the people who profit from the most lucrative Redistribution of wealth of all.

Of course, there are still some reasonable criticisms of such a plan. Might such a system encourage the wealthy to hide their assets even more than they do now? Might they find similar loopholes as they do in most other American system to avoid the penalties? Of course, we shouldn't have to get into these nitty gritty details unless support for inheritance reform ever grows past, say the handful of people who read this post. So I don't want to deny that this policy is not perfect, what policy ever is, but for the political purposes of this policy, the criticisms are technically irrelevant.

Again, to reiterate what I said earlier, I do not think pushing this into actual legislation, or making it a part of any candidate currently running's platform, is my goal here. The point is to blow up the narrative that what we have going now is all that Liberal. It's not.

Let's not forget that the Affordable Care Act is a Conservative plan, engineered by the Conservative Heritage Foundation. Immigration Reform is not that far off. Our tax system isn't really all that progressive either. And yet still we get maximum resistance against improving all of these.

I would be just as happy seeing any progress at all on any of these fronts being made.

But if we are going to go up to bat, and all we are doing is protecting the plate, and hit some base hits every now and then, but most of the time strike out or pop fly, I have to wonder why we don't just start off swinging for the fences in the first place.

8:27 PM PT: First of all, I am extremely grateful for the Diary Rescue. It has allowed many members of the Dailykos community to weigh in, and I appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my posts, and also all the constructive responses. Posting here remains one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

As has been discussed in the comments, I am willing to concede that the 100k limit I set was far too low. I also ommitted a lot of technical caveats that would have perhaps made more readers a bit more sanguine about this idea. But I am not too wedded to any of the technical aspects of the proposal. The point of all this, for me, was to address a glaring monolith of excess in our continued quest for a more Progressive society.

It goes without saying, I would not want this policy to make much of a difference in the lives of the majority of Americans who work hard to have something to leave to their children, to make sure their children are reasonably well taken care of. Whatever the limit has to be raised to so that the large majority of Americans do not even have to worry about such a cap, I am for that.

What this is meant to really address, is the obscenely large sums of money (or bonds or stock options or whatever) that the wealthiest 1% or 0.1% or 0.01% leave to their children, who then can largely live a life of leisure, and still have something left stashed away to even leave their children. That any single person can inherit so much money that they didn't themselves work to earn, and never have to conceivably contribute anything to society of their own, to me, smacks of the utmost injustice.

And no, I would not frame it as any sort of punishment for the 1% and their family. Rather, it is an acknowledgement that their vast accumulations of wealth did not come from their efforts alone. It also comes in part from the labors, the services, the schooling, the support systems, and the consumers, of our society.

If there is another mechanism by which to address this injustice other than the process I suggested, by all means, I would love to hear about it and champion that one instead.

Perhaps ideas like the one I suggest seem like political suicide, and flirt with the idea of class warfare against the wealthy. Very well. I make no illusions about where I stand on how Democrats should treat class warfare.

But let's not pretend that just because an obviously unjust problem would be technically or politically difficult to address, means that we shouldn't try to figure out how to fix that problem. Otherwise, what point is there at all to anything we Liberals aim to do?


Originally posted to The Progressive Atheist on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  To be clear, (10+ / 0-)

    This is not my first policy proposal that people would consider to the Left of The Left, and it won't be my last.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Sun Jun 22, 2014 at 11:16:52 PM PDT

  •  Asdf (19+ / 0-)

    I have long held that inheritances should be taxed Draconianly, say at 90% or so - and that the passing on of large sums to others should have an upper limit (though my system relies on single-payer health care for all)

    I would set my limit higher, say a million, but overall I think it is the most defensible way there is to cause the least damage to the social fabric and have less impact on limiting what one can earn and amass while alive.

    The work ethic is Nirvana? Then let your kids earn it, just like you.

    The best way to tell a Democrat from a Republican is to present someone requiring food and shelter. The Democrat will want them housed and fed, even if they be faking need. The Republican will gladly see them starve until all doubt is removed.

    by GayIthacan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:07:50 AM PDT

    •  The net result (12+ / 0-)

      would be a massive shift toward charitable giving. I think it's Naomi Watts who showed the direct correlation between tax rates and giving rates.

      It turns out, if you're really wealthy, giving your money to a university, which happens to name a building in your honor, is more attractive than giving it to Uncle Sam. That's fine by me, because once upon a time it netted me a free college education.

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:25:02 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think more likely would be a massive shift to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thanatokephaloides

        expatriation and tax evasion.

        I live abroad and more and more US expats are already talking about expatriation due to FATCA - normal financial activities are expensive and difficult for us due to US tax law and its impact on both us and our financial service providers.  (Many non-US banks are now refusing new US citizen / resident retail customers.  That's a real problem if you have just moved to a foreign country and you need to open a checking account.)

        If you passed a law like this I would probably do the same.  I have access to two different non-US citizenships and, of course, there are many passports you can buy for a price.  In the context of hundreds of thousands or even millions of Americans with net worth above US$500,000 or so expatriating and rampant defiance of any exit tax, I might well also take my chances on any exit tax - just move my money out of the US, never go back to the US, and wait to see if the IRS is really able to extradite me.  Given the resources it takes to extradite just one person and the fact that there would be hundreds of thousands of people in situations similar to mine, I think my odds would be quite good.

        For those not willing to make such a dramatic break, there would be many other alternatives.  For example, buy foreign assets and then transfer them to your children.  Will the IRS be looking through property registry records in India, China, Russia, Japan, Thailand, or South Korea?  Especially for the last five would they have the language resources to do so?  Less developed countries without centralized property registries would also be very attractive - will the IRS send people to look at local land registry offices in every town in such a country?  I doubt it.

        •  Actually that won't matter (5+ / 0-)

          1. You generally can't void US tax liability by renouncing your citizenship.

          2. The person who died does not have the estate tax liability, the people who inherit do.  Unless your heirs all renounce their citizenship ahead of time, this won't work.

          3. It is a pretty drastic solution to a relatively rare tax event.

          Andrews Carnegie was one of the largest proponents of high inheritance taxes. He argued they should be at least 50% with no specific upward bound on large estates.

          1. Encourage the rich toward philanthropy while they are alive.

          2. Discourage dynastic wealth but also and perhaps more importantly dynastic position. The great crime is not necessarily of having wealthy heirs living lives of leisure but rather that concentrated wealth and connections would mean that these children would become a de facto aristocracy, inheriting high positions in government and business that they did not earn through merit, suppressing the opportunities of the talented and hard working people.

          Just as an example and I don't want to pick on Chelsea Clinton, but among the high paying jobs she has had: $600k as an infrequent special NBC correspondent. Yes that was $600k for a part time job. How many people who are not the daughter of a President and Senator at NBC are making 50k instead 60k because of that? NBC claims it can't do business without legions of unpaid interns. How many people applied for that special correspondent job for $600k? Can anyone apply or is it only open to Clintons, Kennedys Cheneys and Bushes?

          •  You are incorrect on many fronts (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            thanatokephaloides
            1. You generally can't void US tax liability by renouncing your citizenship.
            You cannot void past liability but you do void future liabilities, including estate tax when you die.

            More importantly, however, if you are willing not to return to the US and live in a country that will not extradite people for tax evasion then you can refuse to pay what you owe with reasonable impunity.

            2. The person who died does not have the estate tax liability, the people who inherit do.  Unless your heirs all renounce their citizenship ahead of time, this won't work.
            Incorrect.  Estate tax is a liability of the estate.  Inheritors often do not know the value of the estate and have no ability to file an estate tax return or know how much should be paid.

            Also, having heir renounce citizenship is quite easy.  I could do it for my children tomorrow since they were born overseas and are dual passport holders already.

            3. It is a pretty drastic solution to a relatively rare tax event.
            Death only happens once in your life, but because it is guaranteed to happen, responsible people plan for it.  Estate tax planning and avoidance is a huge industry already.
            •  I wouldn't count on it working forever (4+ / 0-)

              Basically all of the most powerful countries on earth are not happy about tax evasion/avoidance by the super rich.

              They are already in the process of both threatening major tax shelter nations and building a framework to deny access to the global banking system for those banks and countries that won't help them enforce their tax laws.

          •  Cushy jobs also open to Famous Offspring (3+ / 0-)

            who are only "famous" because one or both parents were famous and/or rich (usually both).

            Ronan Farrow, for instance. One "famous" parent who is mainly at this point "famous for being famous", one or possibly two "notorious" parents, and more than enough money to buy his way through life. So he gets a tailor-made "job" at MSNBC...and at last report was fumbling the opportunity.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 09:15:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Meh (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          thanatokephaloides

          I consider myself left of the left too.  But I just don't have too much urgency or outrage about this topic.  Not that I think that I will ever inherit much or leave much (Ha!).

          I just think a more aggressive tax rate would be sufficient, say 40% or 50% over a million dollars that gets adjusted for inflation.

          Anything more than that and I somewhat agree with BBB above, the super rich will evade.  I think that's a given, since the super rich have much more resources and options on how to evade than John Smith with the white collar job and six figure salary.  Also they don't think like regular people so I wouldn't be surprised if they built a spaceship and started a colony on the moon to escape taxes.

    •  I strongly agree. Allowing the rich to pass on (4+ / 0-)

      10% of their wealth over $1 million would allow them to have an incentive to make more money (in case they actually need one). Before they die rich people would also be free to prove their heirs with homes, trust funds, cars and free educations so the $1 million would really be gravy for the heirs.

  •  Another thing we can do that would benefit (10+ / 0-)

    the majority of Americans is to place time limits on corporate charters. We have monopoly syndicates (AT&T, sprint, etc.), as well as corporations like Koch industries with their fingers in many pies.

    The problem is they have gotten so large they have no completion. If there were a time limit on their ability to accumulate money and power wherein the company is dissolved and if they want to get back into business they have to start from scratch, including facilities;we need to state they can't sell the property to a proxy buyer in order to repurchase it after securing another charter. But basically the corporation pays off the investors and then they have cash to start a new enterprise if they are so willing.

    I know the cries of what about jobs?

    These corporations are killing their own workers. If more companies are available for the workers to apply to then the corporations with the attitude of screw the workers first will leave their positions unfilled.

    But yes inheritance is another abusive way the average American is blocked from advancing.

    I need your support, my paypal is: boothie68@gmail.com

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:15:48 AM PDT

    •  Strange to read the once a Congressional enable... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Horace Boothroyd III

      Strange to read the once a Congressional enabled monopoly, At&t, then broken and splintered by the DOJ into so many (e.g., Sprint, Verizon, Credo) again referred to as a monopoly???

      •  Fact check time (6+ / 0-)

        The original (pre-1984) AT&T broke into eight companies as part of a DoJ-brokered deal to settle a 1949 antitrust case involving the manufacture of telephone and electronic equipment.  The eight companies were AT&T and the seven Bells.  The Bells have consolidated down to three (Bell Atlantic renamed itself Verizon and acquired NYNEX; Southwestern Bell acquired Ameritech, Pacific Telesis and BellSouth, and the dying residuary AT&T, and took the latter's trademark; CenturyLink acquired Qwest who acquired US West).  Those companies are the monopolies; they control the wireline business, with just a bit of competition from cable; AT&T and VZ also have the biggest wireless businesses (a government-regulated oligopoly).

        Sprint began in the 1970s as a unit of Southern Pacific.  They merged with Kansas-based United Telecom in the early 1980s and started a wireless business in the 1990s.  They spun off United's wireline business in the 2000s as Embarq and later CenturyLink bought that.  So Sprint was never a Bell.  Credo is just a reseller of Sprint' services, f/k/a Working Assets, who donates a share of profits to progressive causes.

    •  So GM gets a time limit on its charter (2+ / 0-)

      And at the end of its charter who takes over the warranty obligations and liability obligations on its cars?

    •  Destruction of capital plant is just insane (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53

      Horace, I know you have a visceral hate for all corporations that blinds you to basic economics, but somebody has to point out reality here.

      Corporations only exist, only get funded, only create what jobs they do create and what products they do create, because they promise to make profits for their investors.  This is technically an open-ended proposition, as to close off the corporation's life span would be to limit the potential for growth that attracts the capital in the first place.  So unless all capital comes from The State via Gosplan, you'd have no capital formation and no economy.  And Gosplan's record wasn't so great, to put it mildly; extremely few Americans are the least bit interested in Leninism.

      Even nuttier is destroying a company's capital assets just because it's time.  Assets have value to the economy.  If a company's assets are a few years away from destruction, nobody will invest in improving them, and jobs will be lost.  Corporations go bankrupt all the time but the useful assets live on, purchased in bankruptcy auctions.  Destroying productive assets simply destroys the  economy.

      We do need economic reforms that improve the distribution of wealth and income.  Inheritance taxes today are probably too low -- the Republicans cooked up the term "death tax" to make it sound bad and cover their pillaging of the exchequer -- but destroying viable corporations for no good reason is just nihilist lunacy.

    •  Man o man (0+ / 0-)

      That's a good one. What could go wrong with that?

      You best believe it does

      by HangsLeft on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:28:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Technically, I an Gen X (13+ / 0-)

    Missed last of the boomers by that much, Made a huge difference.

    Graduated into a recession, while my older brother graduated into a hiring binge.

    Adds up over time. Nearing retirement age and I won't be retiring, no pensions, 401k has been through 3 recessions, 5 bubbles and is worth what I paid into it.

    My debts are minimal because my Inheritance from my Mom, (house, pensions, insurance and 401K) split three ways, after taxes, plus what I got for selling high on a suburban home, paid for buying low on a rural farm.

    My inheritance from my Dad, allowed me to start a small business, that now employs 20 people and pays for the farm. Beats being unemployed for 3 years.

    My Brother's kids, are probably only going to grow wealth, through what they inherit, and like me, are probably going to be much poorer, than their parents.

    Given that $1.2 million in a 401k is "advised", for retirement, you probably should bump the "minimum" up a bit. After all, in some places $100k isn't even a down payment on a house or condo.

    •  Still comes down to the same argument. (0+ / 0-)
      After all, in some places $100k isn't even a down payment on a house or condo.
      You can't take it with you, and your kids didn't earn it.

      -7.75 -4.67

      "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

      There are no Christians in foxholes.

      by Odysseus on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:41:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes and No, (4+ / 0-)

        Middle Class wealth in America was accumulated one generation at a time and passed down to the next generation, until the late 70's,

        For example, the "wealth" me and my siblings inherited, got it's start with my paternal Grandfather, who achieved lower Middle Class. My maternal line, had lots of kids, and little money or assets to pass on. My Dad added to that "wealth", mostly in the form of two very good pensions, one Government, one Private, affordable life insurance policies, and by buying a home  in an area where over time, the property values went up  twelvefold.

        Dad, despite only having a high school education, was solid Middle Class.

        None of us "kids" can afford to live in the neighbourhood we grew up in.

        My Brother is the only one of us kids who is solid middle class, despite all of us having multiple degrees.

        Since then the accumulated wealth has been bled out of the Middle Class, through assorted economic schemes and the general malaise of the system. In the Reagan/Clinton era the economic policy was Mining the Poor, Now it's Mining the Middle Class.

        In contrast, a buddy of mine, in High School, didn't inherit a single penny from his parents, who were extremely wealthy. He earned his money the old fashioned way, his parents got him a legacy to a prestigious school, bought him an an MBA and then appointed him COO at $8.6 million dollars a year when he graduated.

        That's actually the most common way to become a COO , CFO, CEO, or member of the Board.

        It's the new Aristocracy, don't you know.

        http://www.nybooks.com/...

        But I understand the appeal of a $100k cap. It endures that the peons and proles who can only pass on their accumulated "wealth" when they die, like real estate, life insurance, pension annuities, can't pass more than $100k, while the Children of the Wealthy can have full advantage,

        Gotta entrench that Aristocracy some how.

      •  Whoever you want to give it to didn't earn it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hayden

        either.

        •  True, inheritances arn't earned, they are gifts (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          greenbell

          And for most of America, an inheritance is the only significant financial gift they can give their children, and that's often only after they are done, using it, ie.dead.

          The Rich can give their children significant financial gifts, from before they are born, every day of their lives, and after they die.

          Then there is power, prestige and influence.

          The Diarist is advocating a form of Viking Funeral, which did not work out well for the Vikings. They very quickly went from a more democratic meritocracy, to unassailable feudal kingdoms, because the Rich and the Powerful very quickly figured out ways to skirt the Funeral Laws and ensure that their Kids got wealth and power, while their parents were still alive, while the poor and the up and comers saw it all burned upon death.

          The Problem in America, is not the passing on of accumulated wealth upon death, it is the inequal accumulation of wealth.

  •  I'm in favor! (4+ / 0-)

    But then, I'd cap income too, because I'm an awful person.

    Similarly to your plan, all the extra would go to government, to fund public works & infrastructure, including such "soft infrastructure" as health insurance, education, day care (for both young & old) and a national basic income.

    No one person needs more than, say, $3 mil in income a year, or $10 mil in reserve. That still leaves plenty of room for one person to have bragging rights over the next guy, if that's really all life is about...

    Reality has a well-known liberal bias -- Stephen Colbert

    by ItsaMathJoke on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:17:31 AM PDT

  •  Such a system is already in place (4+ / 0-)

    The US has a federal estate and gift tax, and about a dozen states also have either estate or inheritance taxes or both as well.  All feature exemptions on amounts below minimum thresholds, and progressive rates based on the value passing at death.

    All you are essentially arguing is that rates should be 100% above a certain threshold and that, as you seem to recognize, would go nowhere.

    I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

    by Wayward Wind on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:22:49 AM PDT

    •  No, there isn't and that's the problem. You just (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, Odysseus

      named several systems, none of which do what they are supposed to do, and the gaps and exclusions within and in between these systems is where the billions go.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:28:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The system does indeed exist (0+ / 0-)

        You simply do not like the various deductions, exclusions, etc., which eliminate a portion of the wealth from taxation.

        You want to work on reducing or eliminating those?  Fine.  You want to design a whole new system? Why?

        I am a warrior for peace. And not a gentle man... Steve Mason, 1940-2005

        by Wayward Wind on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:55:26 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As a political policy matter, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, jsfox, Noisy Democrat

    how does this idea avoid the probability you can only do this once per person? After the start-up victims, it's hard to see what incentive or ability surviving heirs or new generations would have to produce wealth above the cap, e.g. private company owners, who would apparently have all their assets liquidated upon their demise.  

    Everything else you own at the time of your death, gets liquidated...
  •  This plan would make the off-shoring of jobs (10+ / 0-)

    Look mild.  The rich move to different states just to save a few points here and there. For millions or billions, you can be sure these folks are going to take their money and families and leave.  En masse.  I guess for those that despise the rich, you'd solve the problem of having them around, lol

    Furthermore, if you think our legislators are in the pockets of the wealthy now, think of the incentives they'll have for not passing this legislation.  Heck, even those in congress are wealthy enough to oppose this.

    Our party has enough trouble keeping up with the money the repukes throw around.  We'd be finished after our wealthy deserted us.  They'll choose family over us, EVERYTIME.  Even the most progressive, really wealthy, strategically plan on how to leave their fortunes to loved ones.

    •  Is that true, though? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, ozsea1, Odysseus

      Would we be worse off without our current crop of wealthy persons? Personally, I would consider it no great loss. They contribute nothing of value to America and are in fact constantly working to diminish America.

      Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

      by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:46:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. It'd pretty much be the end of the country. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Beelzebubs Brass Bs

        The wealthy basically pay for the federal government.   The top 20% pays over 90% of the income taxes, the top 1% a whopping 40%.

        As payroll taxes are pass-through to entitlement programs, income tax forms almost all of the basis for paying for the rest of government services.

        •  And that, dear boys and girls, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          is why the 1% deserve to keep running the country the way they see fit.

          So embrace the suck and get back to work, you lowly peons.

        •  No. It would not be the end of the country. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tardis10

          If the top 1% left, tax collections would fall a bit but financial plundering would fall by even more. They are extracting far more out of the nation than their piddly 40% tax contribution. They are sucking us dry.

          Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

          by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:29:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Who do you think starts and runs big companies (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell

        If you want a country that is run on village enterprises prepare for a die off of a good percentage of our population - you can't run a modern economy on small businesses.

        •  Bull twaddle. (0+ / 0-)

          I'll pay you 10,000 quatloos if you can create a list of even two or three companies started and run by a member of the 1% in the past decade.

          That's the root of our current problem. Your rich friends are extracting wealth from the United States and putting it into the Cayman Islands instead of creating and running countries.

          They are investing in China instead of in the United States. They are sitting on $40 trillion in wealth stashed in tax-friendly locations around the world. It is not being invested in the United States.

          To answer your question about who starts and runs big companies: Not the wealthy. They didn't start and run Microsoft. Or Oracle. Or Facebook. Or Google.

          The wealthy have not had an original idea in 30 years. If they ever did have any. The Walton heirs have not created anything new; they live off the fruits of their daddy's ingenuity 50 years ago. The only new things the Koch Brothers can come up with is new ways to eviscerate the middle class.

          Your heroes are duds. Sorry.

          Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

          by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:36:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Paragraph 2: companies, not countries. (0+ / 0-)

            Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

            by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:37:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg were both (0+ / 0-)

            1%ers before they started their companies.  Bezos, given his prior history at DE Shaw was also almost certainly a 1%er when he started Amazon.

            Most new companies in the Internet space are not started and run by 1%ers because they do not have any natural advantage in that space.  Instead, 1%ers fund these companies.  Where do you think Google, Facebook, Uber, etc. got all of their initial funding from?

            1%ers tend to start companies that require more initial investment.  Three examples I happen to be personally familiar with are Tory Burch, C Wonder, and Monica Chiang.  All are fashion labels, all started in the last 10 years, all by Chris Burch who is most definitely a 1%er.

            •  Chris Burch (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              War4Sale

              Burch was raised in Wayne, Pennsylvania, in a middle-class family. ... In 1976, while an undergraduate at Ithaca College, Burch and his brother Robert started Eagle's Eye apparel with a $2,000 investment.

              Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

              by edg on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 10:31:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  All men are created equal (7+ / 0-)

    The right-wing argument against various social-welfare programs is that it is not the responsibility of government to ensure equal outcomes (wealth, happiness, etc.), rather that the constitution enshrines equal opportunity for people to pursue those goals), with results depending on their energy, talent, drive.  

    While there are lots of problems with a strict adherence to this principle, which many here can articulate, I have often felt that the right-wing should be taken to task for ignoring their guiding principle when it comes to inheritance.

    Equal opportunity means that each child, upon reaching maturity, must start off financially the same - no big inheritance! The diarist's proposal works in that direction nicely. I approve.

    Of course adhering to that principle also means ensuring that kids before maturity get equal opportunity - no private schools, special tutoring, foreign vacations, equal access to health care...

    If the right-wing is unwilling to accept the elimination of significant inheritances, then they logically are admitting they don't believe in equality of opportunity to each individual (not each family unit), and their arguments against "redistributive" government programs are shown to be a complete canard.  

    •  basic dispute that led to civil war, and TR used (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, ozsea1

      equality to suggest square deal of broad middle class. The crash and New Deal had largely resolved the problem until Buckley got the Dems on the same page with the Coolidge reaganauts. Gvt now protects the big fortunes of the plutocrats. The right wing has never believed in equality, why it seceded.

  •  One compromise (3+ / 0-)

    If the limit is set as low as $100-250 K. Trust funds for life (but not beyond) can be set up for relatives who are severely physically, mentally, or psychologically disabled. But the supposedly disabled individual cannot collect in any period during which he/she is fully functional.

  •  Impossible to enforce. (0+ / 0-)

    Completely. Say (just one example) a person gives a handful of fine diamonds to an heir. How could such a gift be caught by the government? And even if the giver were to report the gift, it would only be subjected to gift taxes, which are about 50% (not 100%). Your idea is simply impossible to implement.

    •  That's done already. (6+ / 0-)

      Sometimes they get away with it, sometimes the IRS gets wise and fines them or worse...and it would be a lot harder to hide selling 100 diamonds in this new environment.

      You know any move over $10k in someone's bank account has to be reported by the banks, right?

      While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 09:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Diamonds are worthless. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      207wickedgood

      Unless they're converted to cash, which is a traceable transaction.

      Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

      by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:51:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's always leakage, but forgetting the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045, BusyinCA, Odysseus

      difficulties in converting said jewels into cash, there's quite a difference between what you've described and transferring hundreds of millions of dollars to anybody without being discovered.

      The idea isn't to break the rich, it is to keep the product of the nation working instead of becoming vast sinkholes of unproductive accumulation.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:29:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I quit (19+ / 0-)

    A large part of why I work so hard IS FOR MY KIDS.   I know I can't take it with me.  If you're passing a law that says I can't leave money to get my kids through school, and help my disabled child who will never be able to work full-time, then screw it.   There's nothing left for me to work for.   The government has already had their share and more.   And, I sure as heck am not giving them more to start another unnecessary war in Iraq, or to lock up Justina Pelletier for a  year.  

    I'm off to the beach.

    But, I'm not terribly worried.   The loopholes will be large enough to drive a universe through.

    •  Under current law, the cap on tax free (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      207wickedgood

      gifts & bequests is $5.34MM, so the wealthy use a lot of lending transactions to shift wealth. It could be tricky to put a stop to that sort of thing.

    •  A poster above discussed exceptions (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      penguins4peace

      for children with exceptional financial need, for instance for medical reasons. Additionally, there can be exceptions for money set aside for a college fund.

      Again, these are getting into the specifics of a proposal that is more to break the cycle of the same old policies, being pushed as extreme, when they couldn't be further from the truth. If it ever got to the legislation stage, which I highly doubt, then we can get into the nitty gritty.

      I understand the sentiment though. You want to make sure you leave something to your children so you know they are taken care of. Does that mean they shouldn't have to work toward their own fortunes?

      My parents came to this country with nothing. Everything they have, they earned through their hard work, and they sacrificed so much so that my brother and I would be able to have better lives, to be able to go to school and get the educations they couldn't. They didn't want us to have to work to the bone the way they have to.

      But because of that, if I found out they left me this vast fortune after they passed...I'd rather they spend it on themselves after working so hard their whole lives. I know it's hard to tell a parent to stop worrying about their kids, but I could see my parents doing that, and I hate the thought of that. As a result, I don't live my life wondering if I will inherit anything, and I am determined to work just as hard as my parents did so that my own family will not be overly burdened by my passing.

      The point of all this is that, while I agree parents should be able to pass on enough so that their children will be comfortable, as a society, we should not allow this to be overly excessive.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:54:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your Parents won't be leaving you a vast (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ladybug53

        Fortune when they die, not unless that already have a vast fortune or you figure that a couple hundred thousand is a vast fortune.

        Financial Service Planners suggest that you have over $1million in retirement assets,  ( income, not insurance, house and cars) if you retire at age 55.

        The reason is, given median life expectancy and a "comfortable " storybook middle class lifestyle, ($60k a year income, no debt), and previous economic performance models, that $60k income will consume all the interest earned, and a significant amount of the accrued capital,  and pay all the service fees and taxes.

        When you die on paper at 75, your bank accounts will be empty,

        And on paper, what you will pass on to your kids will be the house, the cars, some life insurance policy and pension death benefits,( if they have them) and a bunch of assorted "stuff", much of which will go to goodwill.

        In my neck of the woods, the median retirement age is 78, and that's not really retirement, people are just too old and broken to keep working.

        A $100k cap on an inheritance will quickly gut the Middle Class, and won't have much impact on the Wealthy, who have many ways of passing on money, wealth and power to their kids while they are still alive.

    •  No problem (0+ / 0-)

      Just move your money to a Cayman Islands bank account.

      Some banks and accounting firms would open up a "Wal-Conch" version, with low-cost offshoring services for middle-class Americans.

      "states like VT and ID are not 'real america'" -icemilkcoffee

      by Utahrd on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:28:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are you planning to die soon? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, Odysseus

      If not, just put your kids through college and set up a special needs trust for your disabled child.

      Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

      by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:54:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plan? (0+ / 0-)


        You mean I get to plan when I am going to die?    When did we conquer death?   I must have missed the headlines!

        We get to plan WHAT will happen when we die.  

        But, we don't get to plan WHEN we will die.    

    •  please proceed (0+ / 0-)
       I quit (17+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Angryallen, sideboth, Shifty18, pierre9045, nextstep, Utahrd, Lorikeet, greenbell, nickrud, ColoTim, roundhead, BriarRose, Noisy Democrat, Joe Bob, shmuelman, dfsly, Pi Li
      All of y'alls. Quit and leave.

      I'm actually tipping wurster's comments here as I'm finding them very useful and informative.

      More than I can say for your WATB comment and its tippers.

      "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

      by ozsea1 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:15:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Heh... it's not as hard as you might think (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sideboth

        I've spent the last 20 years living and working in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the ex-Soviet Union.  Once you bite the bullet and make the leap you would be amazed how good life can be.  

        Making $100,000 a year in one of these countries means living like a US millionaire while being able to save.  (ie. my family now has two live in helpers, one who takes care of the children, tutors them, and teaches them Spanish - my three year old is already trilingual - and one for taking care of the house).  I have not cleaned my own toilet in 20 years.  

        If the US makes things too hard for the rich and middle class they will jump ship.   The results would not be pleasant.  For example, who do you think gives companies like Sun, Google, and Facebook their first $100,000?  Would you like to see all those companies starting up in places like Singapore, or worse, China, rather than in the US?

      •  Former expat here (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell, ladybug53

        I have spent a lot of time in European and Scandinavian countries.  None of them have what is being proposed above and NONE of them would be able to pass that type of system.  We can have a fair tax system without handing all our money over to the government.

      •  Thank you, I will. (0+ / 0-)

        In the unlikely event that this nation is overtaken by a fit of Communism (I'm not holding my breath), and decides to confiscate the estates of every deceased person who leaves more than $100,000 (still not holding my breath), and doesn't leave any loopholes for pretty much everyone who does have more than $100,000 in their estates which is a pretty large part of our population (still not holding my breath), then yes.   I will leave.   Because, at that point, there will have been a radical change in our nation, with a very much more powerful national government.  It's unlikely that we will have popular sovereignty, because I'm pretty sure if you put it to a vote, you will NEVER get that passed.   Communism to that degree has not, traditionally, been very popular around here.   Therefore, if that goes into effect, it means we've lost popular sovereignty, and I will probably have to get in line behind all the refugees who are streaming across the borders -- unless they are closed.  Canada's going to get pretty crowded, I'm guessing, and the Swiss Bank Accounts will be overlowing.

        But, as I said, I'm not particularly worried, because voters won't let it happen, and we do still have popular sovereignty, for now.

  •  I don't care what other people do with their money (6+ / 0-)

    I care about a fair tax system.  Maybe instead of creating another complicated system where we tell people how they should spend their money, we fix the tax code.

    All income is taxed in a progressive ladder.  Get rid of ALL deductions, loopholes, preferences etc.  Tax the individual and the corporation.   The problem with taxes is that everybody thinks they are paying too much and somebody else isn't.  

    There are very valid reasons to leave money to your kids.

  •  I disagree with your plan... (15+ / 0-)

    ...but I applaud you for actually making a genuine progressive policy proposal on these pages.  It's a refreshing change from the endless stream of diaries with titles like "Lindsey Graham says Obama responsible for Iraq because lady parts" and "Rachel Maddow DESTROYS Phil Robertson."

    We actually talk very little policy here, it's mostly just mockery and snark towards the other side.  So I hope this diary gets some attention.

    Dammit Jim, I'm a lawyer, not a grammarian. So sue me.

    by Pi Li on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:46:28 AM PDT

  •  Most That's Called "Left" is Solidly Conservative (6+ / 0-)

    so just picking issues at random, if you consider yourself left of left in America, and you're too young for gray hair, you're probably a conservative.

    That said, this proposed cap at 100k on inheritance is I think much more severe than we ever had, even in the peak New Deal through Great Society days that seem nearly Communistic to today's Democrats.

    As with all taxation it should probably be steeply progressive, and I"m among the many who agree that it should be possible to leave small and mid sized family businesses and farms in the family without refinancing for taxes or having to sell them off. We don't seem to have ever had a problem with people leaving such modest assets to their heirs; the problem becomes serious higher up.

    There's a far, far more urgent problem however with individual income. Inheritance only happens every half century or so; income happens every week, which causes us to make extremely short-term-oriented decisions that threaten society in many ways when individual income can be arbitrarily high.

    THat's where we need to restore the progressive brakes of the past, to the point that extra much above a million or few a year is almost entirely taxed away. The purpose of that is to reorient the economy so that the economy itself prevents dangerous wealth concentration.

    With the inability to make executives or investors rich for life based on a few months' marketing and stock manipulation, businesses were formerly run with longer term more modest growth in mind, and were able to support comfortable lifestyles for owners, managers, laborers and consumers alike.

    --And that largely solves your problem with giant estates. Our biggest economic problems are not caused by bad behavior of hundred billionaires, they're caused by the very existence of hundred billionaires.

    We need progressive brakes on all the extremes of excess of the economy, as well as boosts for the weak end, to foster a healthy diverse society.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:09:56 AM PDT

  •  Proposal would also result in lower employment (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    johnny wurster, SMWalt

    lower wages and lower economic growth, if not long term economic decline.

    The older wealthy would shift their assets to very low risk investments, which means investments that tend to employ people would drop significantly and investments with low rates of return.  They would also spend their money much more heavily on consumption.

    Would also cause many of the wealthy, and those hoping or expecting to be wealthy to leave the country and change citizenship while they move investments out of the US that employ people in the US.  It is not just the poor who change countries for economic reasons.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:51:46 AM PDT

    •  Wrong on all counts (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      codairem, 207wickedgood, BusyinCA

      The phenomena you describe would lead to huge employment increases.

      If the wealthy spend much more heavily on consumption, employment will go up to meet the newly created demand.

      There is a huge capital surplus in the world right now, interest rates are near zero.  A whole lot of capital is parked, doing nothing, at very low rates because there is simply nothing better to do with it.

      If the wealthy choose to depart, fine.  We've got more of them in this country today than ever; if they are actually doing anything useful it's pretty hard to discern.  And if they think they are departing with the cash, well, as part of this new law we can fix that, too.

      You are free to go.  Your cash...not so much.  Buh-bye.

      •  They won't. (0+ / 0-)
        If the wealthy spend much more heavily on consumption
        That's the last thing they'll do.

        -7.75 -4.67

        "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

        There are no Christians in foxholes.

        by Odysseus on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:47:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The wealthy will also produce far less wealth as (0+ / 0-)

        their is no motivation to do so, as well as resistance to what they see as confiscation of their wealth.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:02:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Would you explain why? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BusyinCA

      You state that the older wealthy would shift their assets to very low risk investments. That is counterintuitive. Why do you believe that would be the case?

      Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

      by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:58:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The wealthy lose the ability to transfer wealth (0+ / 0-)

        above a small limit to their children - which is a big motivator.

        So they can kick back having a bit more than what they expect to spend in their lifetime plus the max they can pass on to their children.  Putting the money into ultra-conservative investments is the preferred way to go as it takes far less effort, no worries and the max money will be there for their heirs.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 10:00:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have more money than the transfer limit (0+ / 0-)

        many people here advocate.

        Right now my money is in a variety of investments ranging in risk from S&P 500 indexes to angel investments because I want higher return than I can get with just the S&P 500 for my future and than of my children and I am willing to risk losses to get those benefits.

        If the US caps inheritance and I do not think I can evade the rules then why should I risk what I have in order to make more money for the government when I die?  I would be better off putting my money into TIPS, which eliminate all investment risk including inflation.  (With the exception of the failure of the entire US government).

        So everyone with money rushes to put their money into TIPS, interest rates for all other investments go way up, and you pretty much eliminate all new investment in the US.

    •  Oh, noze.... (0+ / 0-)

      It might hurt the jerb kreaterz.

      Woooo, now I'm really scared.

      Moving uber-weatlhy out of the country would be great. As soon as we limit political contributions to come excluseivly from US citizens, not expatriates. Or their foriegn international corporations.

      And your point in you second graph is opposite of reality. Having them spend on consumption would boost the economy by creating demand which is what we don't have enough of right now.

  •  I agree to an extent. I would think beyond (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, 207wickedgood

    money some items would have to be allowed to remain within the family.  Examples: a family estate that has been passed down for generations and a trust fund to maintain it, a family ranch or farm and equipment used to run it, family heirlooms that might include paintings, jewelry, antique furniture, pianos etc.  These kinds of things in a well to do family are precious to them, as much as my family quilts and wedding band are to me,  and shouldn't be liquidated to society if they are indeed a part of a family's history.

    I do agree that simple large sums of money might have a cap but even then hard to enforce.  It would likely been transferred before death and the deceased suddenly penniless once the grim reaper comes calling.  

    •  Good points (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bailey2001

      And why it's hard--maybe impossible--to write a good law that (1) enforces a reasonable policy, (2) allows almost all reasonable exceptions, and (2) catches any generally applicable scheme to avoid the impacts of the policy.

    •  So the Kennedy's get to keep Hyannisport but I (0+ / 0-)

      never get to accumulate something like that for my heirs?

      Get real.

      •  Wouldn't you like to pass on your home to your (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        stevemb, greenbell

        children?  I want to give my home to mine.  

        My grandfather passed on his farm to my father and later he gave it to my brother (although he didn't die first).  Homes of all shapes and sizes are part of a family's history and I have no problem with that.  I would like to give my home to my kids and so I won't deny the Kennedy's the same right so I can do likewise.

        •  The suggested exemption is only for family estates (0+ / 0-)

          that have been passed down for generations.

          If you make it for any home then everyone with money would just put most of it into a really expensive home.  For example, buy the entire top two floors of an NYC sky scraper on 5th AVenue.

          •  A family home is a family home, regardless (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            stevemb

            of size.   Some family farms might be worth a million in land even if they haven't seen black on the books in decades.  Still they can be a part of a family's history, and I would definitely exempt them, even for the rich.  You might not see the Kennedy's home as anything but lavish extravagance, but they can and probably do see it as a place of family weddings, times when they were together before funerals, a place were some courted their future spouses, a place of family get togethers....just as we see our homes.  I don't fault people for that.  

            •  But then your limit is meaningless (0+ / 0-)

              Your estate just buys a house with all of your money before going through probate.

              If you only allow this for purchases before debt then you only tax people who die suddenly while young since the old or sick will put all of their money into a house.

              •  The old and sick will also transfer money or (0+ / 0-)

                give it away prior to death, hence the reason a lot of us said that this type of idea would be unenforceable , in a lot of ways. I know that if I knew everything I had would be liquidated and given away at my death, I would be damned sure my kids got it one way or another prior to me leaving. I'm sure the very rich would do likewise, but have an army of attorneys making sure it happened in a way I could never dream of.

                I like the idea of having millions that are just sitting in a bank going to charitable causes instead of trust funds floating around everywhere, but I don't like the idea of liquidating the whole of a family's history just because I also see that even the rich have memories and fond attachments just as anyone would.  A family home doesn't mean every home or piece of land a rich person might own, but rather the homesteaded residence....regardless of size or if that doesn't apply due to size, then the main home the dead person spent their time.

                  •  I'm aware of it. Like I said "one way or (0+ / 0-)

                    another"  would be my way, and others like me, and they (the rich) would use the attorneys I spoke about....finding all kinds of ways to get around it. It is already done all the time, but if a law like this became a reality, then it would just be 100 times more intense.

                    It's a good thought though.

                    •  They key term in your proposal is trusts, (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ladybug53

                      Many of the Wealthy already do this, but In order to differentiate between Trust, and income, or benefit, the trust has to be self sustaining.

                      So, in order for the "system", not to be gamed, the trust has to be independent of the beneficiaries, you would have to be able to pass the home off in a trust, along with enough tied assets, to maintain the home, (costs, repairs, taxes, etc) to operate the home and keep it livable, for the duration of the trust.

                      A Kennedy Trust owns and run's Hyannisport, not the Kennedy's.

                      That is why the Kennedy's Estate is Hyannisport and your Grandpa's house was sold along time ago.

                      It is one of the Catch 22's of inheritance. The only way of ensuring that the system cannot be gamed, creates a series of rules that only the Very Wealthy can use.

  •  read "Capitalism" by Piketty for more (7+ / 0-)

    really interesting tome. Has a discussion of the effects of wealth and its accumulation as well as estate taxes. Plus, he discusses high tax rates for high incomes. Really excellent data. Lots of charts and graphs with circles and arrows (OK, no circles and arrows but had to make a gratuitous "Alice's Restaurant" reference).

  •  $100,000 is nothing. Can't even buy a house (9+ / 0-)

    in many places.
    Make it $2 or $3 million and I'd agree with you, and you'd have a better chance of getting something done.

     I'd certainly prefer ending the tax subsidies for the oil, coal and gas industries, corporate mega farms, sports businesses - the NFL and several other big businesses are tax exempt - and all religious/church property and income. I'd sooner see corporations become citizens than have government picking on individuals, even relatively rich individuals.

    •  After reading the majority of the comments (6+ / 0-)

      I am willing to concede that the 100k cap is set too low. I do not know anyone who has inherited even that much, so perhaps my perspective of what is reasonable is flawed.

      Of course, I am also largely encouraged by all the comments people have for this proposal. My fear was that nobody would take it at all seriously; your comments have proven otherwise.

      And most importantly, I don't mind if we are going to debate the specifics of this proposal, as long as we all start out from the same proposition: that the current inheritance system of leaving vast sums of wealth largely in tact and passed on to the next generation, is worth taking a good hard look at.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:10:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I did. My dad died in 2012 at age 95. He left (7+ / 0-)

        well over 2 1/2 million to myself and my 3 sibs. After taxes and fees, we each got a little over $200, 000. I used $45,000 to pay off my student loan...and since I have been retired and getting social security for several years, that was a great benefit...I can afford to stay in my house now, and have a few bucks left to invest so I can live a bit better after retiring early - and getting a very reduced pension - to care for my late wife who was dying of liver disease.

        Do not make the mistake of the right  - and some leftist extremists - of putting everyone with a little money in the same box. I find myself trying every day to find some way to make that money last for the rest of my life...I'm not buying any fucking mercedes...

        •  Taxes and fees ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shmuelman, 207wickedgood

          What were those fees? I know the estate taxes were zero, as the exemption in 2012 was $5,120,000, more than twice your father's estate. But it sounds like you got hit with massive fees for some reason.

          Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

          by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:02:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  There is no inheritance tax on $2.5M at the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shmuelman

          federal level. There's much more to this than you've implied.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

          by Greyhound on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:40:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You got cheated by someone. (0+ / 0-)
          I did. My dad died in 2012 at age 95. He left
          well over 2 1/2 million to myself and my 3 sibs. After taxes and fees, we each got a little over $200, 000.
          There should have been no tax on 2.5 million in 2012.

          I cannot think of any investment available to someone with just 2.5MM that would cost even $500K to liquidate.

          If you only got a bit over 200K each then over $1.2MM is missing somewhere.

          •  If you die, with your 401k intact, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53

            Rather than having moved it into a IRA, it is considered income.

            There are also a lot of insurance policies, that are considered to be income, if there the named benificiary winds up being the estate.

            Lots of people have a variety of 401k's that they roll over into IRA's as needed, leaving the untouched 401k's intact to continue earning, and naming either The Estate or a Spouse,(who passes first) as the benificiary.

            When my Mom died, she had one hefty income tax bill, despite not having worked in 50 years.

            It sounds to me like there was poor succession planning and poor management of the estate prior to death, and that a majority of the estate wound up taxed as income.

            At a little over $200k per beneficiary, that's between $800k to $900+k after all is said and done.

            That includes other possible assets, (vehicles, antiques, collectables, real estate) who's appraised value to the estate for financial and tax purposes, would not or did not liquidate for their even close to their appraised value.

            My Mom had a small collection of "stuff", appraised at $25k, but was finally sold after a year, for $250. In many States the appraised value is what the State taxes, not the realized value.

            •  That is apparently incorrect (0+ / 0-)
              If you die, with your 401k intact, (1+ / 0-)
              Rather than having moved it into a IRA, it is considered income.
              See http://wills.about.com/....  No mention of this.  Can you provide a cite?
              When my Mom died, she had one hefty income tax bill, despite not having worked in 50 years.
              Unlikely.  However, if she died back when estate tax exemptions where very low you might have had to liquidate part of her IRA or 401K to pay estate tax bills, which would have had devastating tax consequences.  Last year, however, that would not have been an issue for an estate of only 2.5MM.
      •  One real problem (0+ / 0-)

        As a couple of my conservative friends agree is inter-generational trusts for healthy descendants who are not involved in continuation of a family farm, business, etc.

    •  The whole diary is a joke. You can't pay for law (4+ / 0-)

      school with $100,000. Forget medical school at $300,000. A decent private grade school is $12k - $16K / year. Imagine retiring with $100,000 net worth. The total you get in income is like $3500 / year before taxes. That and social security and you better be ready to hunker down in some one bedroom apartment and pray that if you get sick, you die fast.
      Unbelievably, the diarist says "I do not know anyone who has inherited even that much." You work and save your entire life, invest your money, a million is definitely not out of reach and I don't think it's that uncommon. To think I will take risks, work my ass off for decades, save my money, generate $100s of millions in economic activity so I can give the money to the fucking US government to redistribute for public works? This government already burns a trillion a year on the military and prisons.  You think they need to appropriate my assets too? I will have paid nearly $2 million in taxes in my lifetime. What do I get for it? Shitty education for my kids, expensive state schools, $650 / month for healthcare insurance plus $1,000s in deductibles? What did the diarist kick into the kitty? Really, the diarist should get a life, some skills, some awareness about how the vast majority of people with a few million in net worth have made their money, instead of thinking about how to appropriate by force because it is so unfair because they are broke. It is not from oppressing minimum wage workers who do all the work while they sit back and think of new ways to milk money from them. Really shocking how much buy in there is in this bullshit diary - it is not "socialism" it's rank stupidity.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:59:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Do you know what % of (0+ / 0-)

        people go to med school and private schools?

        Do you know what % of people don't go to med school and private schools?

        The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

        by dfarrah on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:03:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  What can I say, I am not a Communist. (4+ / 0-)

          Maybe you feel it is OK to take what others have earned, but I don't. And the reality is that there is plenty to go around except for the breakdown of regulation and tax structure and infinite warfare over the last 30 years leading to an incredible imbalance of wealth.

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:16:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  playing the "C" card is: (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Odysseus

            a) quaint sounding and obsolete

            b) a sure indication that you're on the defensive and are afraid of some level of loss

            c) "....the last refuge of a scoundrel."

            "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

            by ozsea1 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:21:03 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  What do you call seizing peoples lifetime (3+ / 0-)

              of work? That is not quaint. So what's the new term? Fairness? Progressivism? The reason that the old one is obsolete is because no one wants to live in the Soviet Union, especially the people who lived through that hell.

              And Fuck yeah I am not in favor of giving up everything I worked my ass for my entire life because you're a broke ass idiot who feels entitled to what I have.

              "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

              by shmuelman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:32:30 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You argue against your position very well. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1
                What do you call seizing peoples lifetime of work?
                Nobody is doing anything at all to your work.  Your reputation and all that you have achieved is perfectly intact.

                -7.75 -4.67

                "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

                There are no Christians in foxholes.

                by Odysseus on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:50:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Keeping loopholes out is the chief obstacle. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, SMWalt

    If you keep it very simple and restrict it to "spend or lose it", it would work and work far better than I'd bet even you imagine.

    Raise the cap into seven figures so that Gandma can shuffle off secure in the knowledge that her grandbabaies are never going to want, and it can be sold.

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

    by Greyhound on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 12:26:31 PM PDT

  •  I think this makes the mistake that Piketty makes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nickrud, BusyinCA

    it focuses on taxing the wealthier percentages of society to develop equality.  That the tax levels ought to be restored to pre-Reagan levels would help, including on inheritance, should be a no-brainer.   But, rather than going beyond that, as you suggest, I would argue for a long-held goal (going back to at least FDR) to establish aguaranteed annual income--you could reduce poverty and redistribute wealth in a way that would have a profound impact on society.  

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 01:56:45 PM PDT

  •  $100,000 is 10-20 acres of cropland in Iowa (4+ / 0-)

    So I guess you'd like to get rid of all the remaining family farmers since only corporations will be able to own enough land to farm?

  •  You allow just above that the cap is too low. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    I'd also recommend some exclusions be able to be set in so that there be some bequests so that a person has the opportunity to direct their assets upon death so that they drop below the threshhold.  

    For example, a person has a five million dollar estate and two children.  If there's a two million dollar thresh hold set (in this example, it would be a million per child, but in larger families it might divide out to be less) the balance of the estate subject to tax/confiscation is 3 million.  Your suggestion would have it go to the nebulous government.  

    Perhaps the person was dedicated to their church, alma mater or an environmental cause or other charity.  Allow them to direct the balance of their estate to that charity (or multiple ones).  Have strict limits so that the charity wouldn't be the kind of PAC that people donate to to influence elections, but I'd suggest allow them to direct their funds where they want them to go rather than just the general government, where the funds would be used (by current uses) for large scale military adventures.  Sure, the government won't get the money but the money would still return to circulation and perhaps the government could focus on non-charity support.

    •  Yeah, I don't see that as being much of deviation (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      from the intention of my proposal. You make a good point.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:46:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Once you open the door, you've lost. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      If said person wants his money to go to the church or school without being subject to the tax, they had better take care of that before they die.

      It's simply inevitable that any exceptions or exclusions will be manipulated to avoid the tax. This is at the very heart of the ruling class. It always has been.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 04:46:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not in favor of this plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    I think what you'd see is the wealthy finding the loopholes and the bulk of the burden of this policy falling onto the middle class.  Yes, some middle class people do retire and then pass away with more than $100,000 per immediate family surviving.

    What will the wealthy do?  They will set up all sorts of schemes to transfer the wealth, perhaps while they are still alive.  So maybe Mitt's sons will hired by a consulting firm he sets up and pays them an outrageous salary.  Yes, that gets taxed on income, but will effectivelty avoid the inheritance limits you are putting in place.

    The wealthy are also likely to leave or else to park their money outside of the US where it is difficult to get at one way or another.

    Instead, I'd rather see policy that helps income equality BEFORE it reaches people's hands, not taking it away afterwards.  This means higher tax rates, strengthening labor union protection, and so on.

    •  Absurd! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shmuelman, stevemb

      The problem here of course is that humans are NOT created equal, never have been and never will be.     There is no way to legislate away this reality.   Trying just indicates a break with reality or maybe a serious immaturity.   The very idea of absolute equality is against the laws of nature.
      We may all have rights and equal protection under the law but we are not equal.    I have no idea where people get the idea that the Declaration of Independence is a law of some sort.    

      I am reminded of once in a class the professor asking if we agreed with the statement, " I can do anything if I try hard enough."  Absurd also but I was the only person in the class who did not agree.  Americans are very silly creatures.

      •  Why you hatin' on roundhead? n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

        by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:06:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  And, of course, some bequests cannot be taxed (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      roundhead

      I can take my money and pay for my children to get an awesome education, including putting them through HBS.

      Then I go to Bain Capital and tell them I have $20 million to invest... in the PE firm that hires my son.

      •  Exactly. Rich have more access to loopholes (0+ / 0-)

        So it's the middle class that would get hosed.

        And what do you think will happen with all that money confiscated?  Spent to help the vulnerable and the middle class?  LOL.  Not a chance.

  •  excellent intent - poor execution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    Great intent but there will need to be some compromise in the numbers or it will never have a chance.  Not sure having everyone go back to zero is going to get the results you want.  Smarter people than us will find many ways around this as several have noted above.  

    •  To be sure, my execution (0+ / 0-)

      rarely lives up to the intent.

      But then again, who doesn't that apply to.

      Thank you for the sentiments.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:57:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  inheritance is not the problem - its capital (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    I am always open to a radical idea - but i think tinkering with inheritance is just nibbling at the edges of the problem.

    The bigger issue is how capital is favored under our laws.

    I would like to see a society that favored work and earnings.

    For example, legally require that the highest paid executive in any company could earn no more than 25 times the lowest paid worker - with a $15 minimum wage, that would put a cap at $780,000 per year for the highest paid exec.

    Any company that violated would pay a tax penalty sufficient to come into compliance.

    Second, tax all capital transactions, i.e. stock trades.   When you buy or sell a house you often pay fees and taxes of 5% or 6%.  Why not require a 1% tax on sale of capital stock.  Overnight that would put most stock speculators and traders out of business.

    Third, tax dividends and interest at a rate higher than wages.   If you do own capital that produces dividends - what economists call 'rent', tax that rent higher than wage income.

    If we have a progressive tax system where the highest wage tax is 38%; than put in place a progressive tax on capital income - i.e. dividends, interest, capital gains - of up to 50%.

    Of course the wealthy would flee, and would accuse the US of becoming Venezuela... but the strength this would give the rest of the economy - through high wages, attractive social safety programs, and public infrastucture investment - think education, health care, and roads and internet. would be tremendous.

    To me this is a reachable goal -

    All radicals are optimists. If we did not believe things could get better, we would not try.

    by tsackton on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 02:43:11 PM PDT

    •  Gah... do you think the world ends at our borders? (0+ / 0-)
      For example, legally require that the highest paid executive in any company could earn no more than 25 times the lowest paid worker - with a $15 minimum wage, that would put a cap at $780,000 per year for the highest paid exec.
      And then every company that is worth anything in the US gets sold to an offshore entity that can pay its CEO has much as it wants with no adverse tax consequences.

      Or are you going to try to limit how much money foreign companies pay their executives if they have US subsidiaries?

  •  Accumulation of wealth is essential for a (4+ / 0-)

    sustainable middle class.  What is middle class?  I'd define it as a family unit capable of withstanding misfortune whether that be flood or drought or accident or illness or job loss or whatever.  

    Government assistance should be the LAST resort not the FIRST resort.  

    The effort to accumulate and save establishes good habits of living.  You work hard.  You plan.  You set priorities.  You invest.  You might start a business.  You practice productive endeavors rather than frittering away every cent you make assuming that Daddy Government is going to bail you out of every mess you get into.  

    I guess that sounds conservative but a middle class is a pretty small "c" conservative concept.  

    I am a strong believer in a safety net for the vulnerable but I don't believe the government is smarter than every person who worked hard, raised a family, saved their money and wants to pass on a sustainable middle class life to their children.

    Sure an inheritance tax may be one component of a fair and equitable tax system but its purpose should not be to CONFISCATE.  

    •  A lofty goal. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045, Ballerina

      As many have suggested, the cap needs to be higher. This plan is unlikely to pass, though. Too many entrenched interests. What I'd like to see, and what may actually be attainable, is that inheritance be taxed to the beneficiary instead of the estate. Why should money received from your dead relatives be treated differently than money received from your employer or your investments?

      Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

      by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:10:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry about that, greenbell. (0+ / 0-)

      My comment was meant for the diary, not as a response to your comment.

      Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters. -- President Grover Cleveland, 1888

      by edg on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:11:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  OP has to be a right-wing troll (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Beelzebubs Brass Bs, BriarRose

    He/she knew exactly how to titillate you all with insane nonsense.

    Keep pushing! Confiscating nearly the entirety of an individual's wealth is a sure way to electoral success!

    LO-effing-L. Well done, OP. Well done.

    •  You are free to peruse (0+ / 0-)

      some of my previous work, to discern if I am indeed a troll.

      I do not shy away from writing controversial posts here. Part of why I love the Dailykos community. They are welcoming enough that I hardly ever feel any need to self-censor.

      I am incredible grateful to be able to write my posts here, and get so much constructive feedback.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:42:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You forgot about "reeducation of the Kulaks" (3+ / 0-)

    Work camps for anyone with any assets whatsoever ala Pol Pot? Cultural Revolution China style? Marching liberals down the street with The New York Times hanging around their necks (wait, that's a Tea Party position). It's hard to keep it straight out at the fringes.
    Why don't we start with a single payer healthcare system just to get our proverbial socialist toe in the water.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:22:42 PM PDT

    •   what was the new deal but a merging (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045

      of socialist ideas with capitalist ideas?  Milwaukee had socialist mayors for 50 years during the 20th century, they were big on public works.i personally would restore estate taxes to what they were in the 70s
       for every extra million, the rate goes up. at 10 million, the rate is 77%. But since folks dont actually pay the rate on the books, figure its half that, about 40%. in the case of the Waltons that comes to 56 billion, in the Koch brothers case 40 billion. most people dont pay estate taxes, because they dont have enough in assets. they fall in the range where they are exempted.  most people want to leave something for their kids,and thats fine but i do not believe a family should be able to leave 100 of  millions, billions or hundreds of billions to their heirs. make it impossible to move money out of the country, unless you are leaving the country.

  •  Good job. People who say everyone can get ahead (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, Greyhound, armd

    if they work hard should put their money where their mouth is.  Let everyone be given a modest lump when a parent dies and then work hard. The rest (if any) goes to the government.  

    Children of millionaires already have all the advantages while mommy and daddy are alive.

  •  Real estate and businesess.. (0+ / 0-)

    this would be very difficult to pass given that most family wealth is in real estate and kids like to move into the parent's house or split it upon death. Also, a family business should not be liquidated just because one member died. I am for punitive inheritance taxes but you do have to protect small fortunes. The key is to limit big inheritances. My number would be in excess of 1 million per heir.

    Do facts matter anymore?

    by Sinan on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 03:52:03 PM PDT

    •  That's why it has to start much higher. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell

      I think the current $5.3M is about right and it might progress to confiscatory at about $20M.

      Even at a 99.9% tax, a billionaire leaves over $26M. None of his inheritors is ever going to go hungry.

      If real estate and business holdings exceed that threshold, then the means to pay tax on the rest of it does as well.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:06:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good proposal, but (4+ / 0-)

    possibly many would seek to end their US citizenship, and emigrate elsewhere.  First you would need to make a law making it illegal to exit the country without paying a fine greater than what would be owed in taxes upon death.  
    An amusing aspect of your proposal that would make me really run with it is that as RWers now complain about all the people swarming across our borders to come here, as soon as your law was about to be implemented, the flow would be to the other side!  

    •  If they are leaving the country (0+ / 0-)

      to protect vast sums of wealth that are continuing to accumulate, without cycling back into the economy, without supporting any investment, and just sitting in computerized accounts

      I wonder what we would really be losing out on by their leaving.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 08:47:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How do you accumulate money without investing it? (0+ / 0-)

        If it's all in a Scrooge McDuck Money Vault it just loses value to inflation.

        •  Are we talking about investing like the type (0+ / 0-)

          Bain Capital is known for?

          and what about offshore tax shelters?

          How about whatever mechanisms are responsible for allowing some really big corporations to have effectively 0% tax rates?

          I'm not saying reforming the inheritance system is a top priority. At the very least, fixing some of these things should come first.

          "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

          by pierre9045 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 07:14:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bain Capital invests (0+ / 0-)

            You may not like the slash and burn style of private equity, but there is no question that it is investment.

            As for tax shelters and 0% tax rates, they are not any use unless you are getting a return first - we do not have asset taxes so you have to invest and get a return before you have a tax liability.

  •  I don't think lefties (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, ozsea1

    should apologize for the ideas they advance or for being, as the nattering nabobs of negativism say, unreasonable [as defined by the NNNs].

    The reasonable, accommodating dems, who have been selling out the dems since Reagan, are the reason we are where we are today.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 05:49:56 PM PDT

  •  Long before I'd endorse any such plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    I'd simply ask that our whole tax system be overhauled and that non-wartime government spending be capped at some figure that allows for balancing our budget in the reasonably near future.  

    I read today that the construction costs on 'our" new embassy in Mexico has now exceeded $740,000,000.  WTF?  How many families paid tax so this POS could be built?

    Yeah, I understand how we can all get upset that the Romney spawn and others will inherit huge sums they never worked for...and like the Kochroach brothers spend it to screw others...but damn, what's the use of working and being smart, or inventing new products if you ultimately have to give it to schmucks like Darryl Issa who will piss it away on hearings, or others who will build teapot museums...or fund NIH studies on the effects of seal blubber on sex lives of eskimoes...etc.  

    Proposing shit like this makes progressives look crazy.  

    The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis. - Dante Alighieri

    by Persiflage on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 06:55:07 PM PDT

  •  Estate tax and the founding fathers (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, Greyhound, Odysseus, armd

    " You Can't Take It With You" 10/14/2010 The Economist Magazine

    If there was one thing the Revolutionary generation agreed on — and those guys who dress up like them at Tea Party conventions most definitely do not — it was the incompatibility of democracy and inherited wealth.

    With Thomas Jefferson taking the lead in the Virginia legislature in 1777, every Revolutionary state government abolished the laws of primogeniture and entail that had served to perpetuate the concentration of inherited property. Jefferson cited Adam Smith, the hero of free market capitalists everywhere, as the source of his conviction that (as Smith wrote, and Jefferson closely echoed in his own words), "A power to dispose of estates for ever is manifestly absurd. The earth and the fulness of it belongs to every generation, and the preceding one can have no right to bind it up from posterity. Such extension of property is quite unnatural." Smith said: "There is no point more difficult to account for than the right we conceive men to have to dispose of their goods after death."

    The states left no doubt that in taking this step they were giving expression to a basic and widely shared philosophical belief that equality of citizenship was impossible in a nation where inequality of wealth remained the rule. North Carolina's 1784 statute explained that by keeping large estates together for succeeding generations, the old system had served "only to raise the wealth and importance of particular families and individuals, giving them an unequal and undue influence in a republic" and promoting "contention and injustice." Abolishing aristocratic forms of inheritance would by contrast "tend to promote that equality of property which is of the spirit and principle of a genuine republic."

    You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

    by jeffrey789 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:03:51 PM PDT

    •  Continued, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045, Greyhound, armd

      Others wanted to go much further; Thomas Paine, like Smith and Jefferson, made much of the idea that landed property itself was an affront to the natural right of each generation to the usufruct of the earth, and proposed a "ground rent" — in fact an inheritance tax — on property at the time it is conveyed at death, with the money so collected to be distributed to all citizens at age 21, "as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property."

      Even stalwart members of the latter-day Republican Party, the representatives of business and inherited wealth, often emphatically embraced these tenets of economic equality in a democracy. I've mentioned Herbert Hoover's disdain for the "idle rich" and his strong support for breaking up large fortunes. Theodore Roosevelt, who was the first president to propose a steeply graduated tax on inheritances, was another: he declared that the transmission of large wealth to young men "does not do them any real service and is of great and genuine detriment to the community at large.''

      In her debate in Delaware yesterday, the Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell asserted that the estate tax is a "tenet of Marxism." I'm not sure how much Marx she has read, but she might want to read the works of his fellow travelers Adam Smith, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, Herbert Hoover, and Theodore Roosevelt before her next debate.

      http://www.economist.com/...

      You Don't Happen To Make It. You Make It Happen !

      by jeffrey789 on Mon Jun 23, 2014 at 07:05:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I Think We Should Take It All (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    Every last dime. We should take it all and divide it up so that every living citizen gets a fraction of it every year.

    The only restriction is that I'd look for ways to make sure the money handed out stayed as capital for the people who received it. I think there are ways we could make that happen. Unless the recipient was destitute, of course.

    And, if someone wanted to take over a working business from their parents, and actually spent the time learning it from them, they could continue that business if the value wasn't enormous. They could inherit it. It would have to be small enough that their individual contribution actually made a difference in how the business was operated. Stock in a major corporation wouldn't qualify. A family farm or a local store would.

    I would be willing to consider your plan as a compromise with the other side. I think it has a lot of merit.

    It's just that I wouldn't start the bargaining there.

    :-)

  •  I like the idea but some potential pitfalls (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, Ballerina

    The big challenge would be limiting the use of alternative mechanisms to pass down inheritances, other than the traditional probate (will) or intestacy processes.  Basically, if you put a cap on inheritances, wealthy people might still be able to avoid the cap in a variety of ways, i.e. moving money offshore during their lifetime, where the US government can't touch it, or putting the money into a trust during the course of their lifetime, for the benefit of their heirs --- as this is a trust, not an inheritance per se, different rules apply.

    Essentially, there would need to be a way to close these loopholes.

  •  Thomas Paine, Jefferson and others of that time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    armd, ozsea1, pierre9045

    were probably much more familiar with the effects of different systems of inheritance on national fortunes than we are today, and therefore much more willing to think about ideas centered around inheritance that would be good for promoting the common welfare.

    Rather than the estate tax monies going into general revenue, or even into an infrastructure pork barrel, why not resurrect Paine's idea of a national patrimony paid to all citizens upon their 21st birthday? Or, given that our expensive version of higher education begins around age 18 or 19, and auto insurance rates don't drop to 'adult' levels until age 25 for males, some sort of partial distribution to cover educational expenses, with the bulk of the 'national inheritance' held in trust until a person's 25th birthday.

    Many of the objections seem to be on mechanical grounds, what new loopholes would be created, how to police the new system and so on, which do not really address the policy. To explore the policy, let's assume that it can be made to work, then look at the economic implications, the political implications, the social welfare implications, rather than argue that it's a bad idea because we don't have the staff or the time to write actual legislation and implementing regulations here in a diary with its attendant comments.

    So the proposal is to eliminate huge inheritances to individual children of particular families, and to distribute those funds to all children of all families. How large would those individual 'trust funds' be? And what are the economic implications of every person in the country having control of that much capital at the beginning of his or her productive life, instead of at or near the end of it? What happens to corporations when there is no small set of family members holding a controlling number of shares, because the shares have been distributed rather than the corporation being broken up and sold for cash?

    Should those corporations be broken up and sold for cash? Is there an advantage to having a Bank of America corporation continue in existance after its founders have passed on, rather than having it dissolve and make room for newer, smaller competitors to thrive?

    Are there corporations whose existance should be eternal because of the functions they perform, and if so, what is the arguement for having those functions in private rather than public hands?

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 03:57:35 AM PDT

  •  YES! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    Jefferson got rid of entail (the passing on of debt from father to son)  Now it's time to eliminate or severely curtail wealth inheritance. 50% of the 1% is that rich only because of inheritance.

  •  thanks for updating (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    I think the threshold was too low.

    Otherwise, I'm in.

    Those who aren't can, in the words of  St. Ronnie, vote with their feet.

    "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

    by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:39:20 AM PDT

    •  Perhaps I let some of my naivete show in this post (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1

      but what I think the majority of the contructive posts have shown is that, regardless of the mechanism, there are ways to make such reform possible. Insofar as our current political climate allows, of course.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 07:00:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The most important aspect of this post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, Edward Song

    to me is that it advances the notion that the most extreme liberals and progressives in government aren't at all extreme in the grand scheme of things.  

    The Overton window has been pushed so far to the right these days that egregiously fascist totatitarian concepts and direct transfers of public money to corporations and rich individuals are considered mainstream and acceptable, but even mildly socialist and even many centrist concepts bring howls of outrage from those on the right, which are duly repeated and magnified by the conservatively owned media.

    We need to start dragging that window back to the left, so that we can once again have rational conversations about what the vast majority of this people need and want and what it will take to get there once more.

    Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

    by sleipner on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 09:58:34 AM PDT

    •  "howls of outrage from those on the right" ?? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045

      Good grief; read the DK Comfortable Class trolls' wailing and shrieking "Communism" right here in this diary!

      "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

      by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 10:03:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Umm, think you misread... (0+ / 0-)

        Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

        by sleipner on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 11:24:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ummm, think I did not "misread" (0+ / 0-)

          from upthread:

          What can I say, I am not a Communist. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Beelzebubs Brass Bs, JoeLibertarian, stevemb, greenbell
          Maybe you feel it is OK to take what others have earned, but I don't. And the reality is that there is plenty to go around except for the breakdown of regulation and tax structure and infinite warfare over the last 30 years leading to an incredible imbalance of wealth.

          "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

          by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 12:27:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  While you accurately observe (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1

          that the "howls of outrage" come from those on the Right most often,

          I think ozsea1 is merely pointing out that we face similar howls from our own side of the aisle; one need only look at previous comments.

          "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

          by pierre9045 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 12:43:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps, but (0+ / 0-)

            the howls of outrage from the right are blasted throughout the media constantly while hardly ever does the outrage from the left go beyond websites such as DailyKOS.  

            Also the most important part of that point is that the right wing howls about what once would have been considered centrist, reasonable ideas (and still are in many countries), whereas the left is howling about the absolute betrayal of civilization which has reduced this country to a hollow shell of its former self and handed over most assets and control to a tiny fraction of the population which owns much of the government...

            Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

            by sleipner on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 01:43:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I don't understand why we continue to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    cater to the rich.

    I get $320 a week on unemployment right now.  I lost my job in March (actually lost my boss to illness - but he may come back - yeah!).  Out of that I clear $269 because I owe tax on that money, so if I don't have it taken out now I'll have to pay next year.  

    But if I were left a million dollars, does that mean I don't have to pay taxes on it?  I don't know what the amount limit is, just pulled out a cool million.  Somehow this seems obscene.  It's money you didn't have before, right?  Isn't that income?  Anyway, what do I know.

    I do know this - the day Warren and de Blasio start spreading the word that we need to hate and/or fear each other, or inciting us to take up arms against each other, is the day I worry we are becoming like the tea party.  The media in their attempt to keep all things equal have blown it stupendously.  They're not even worthy of our time anymore.  Corporate owned media only tells us what they want us to hear.  Very sad.  I think of all the greats I saw come and go in my lifetime.  Wonder what they would think.

    The GOP will destroy anything they can't own.

    by AnnieR on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 10:37:28 AM PDT

  •  Hate to be a downer, but I don't see this working. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, pierre9045

    "Why the hell don't Moderates and Conservatives make some compromises now, or else they'll have to eat something even nastier than simply raising the minimum wage or expanding social security or raising the debt ceiling?"

    First of all, we can't possibly hope to compete with the Tea Party in terms of extremism and I don't think that would be a winning strategy even if we could.  I think we'll win more support if we can convince voters that our policies are the sensible alternative that will improve their lives.  Also, in order for a policy proposal to be a credible "threat" to the other side, it has to have at least a chance of passing.  We can't even reliably pass center-left legislation, so how would we convince people we would be able to pass left-of-left legislation?

    The MSM has a corporate bias and I don't think we will ever overcome that unless we get so much grassroots support that it's not profitable for them to broadcast views that are way out of touch with the voters.  So the key, it seems to me, is to bypass the punditocracy completely and appeal directly to the people.

    As far as the actual policy proposal, if we cap inheritance at a certain dollar amount, what prevents wealthy people from sending their capital offshore where it can be kept in a trust account for their heirs out of the hands of the US government?  They can afford the best tax lawyers and accountants to find ways around our laws.

    In my heart, I certainly support a push back against the 1%, but the elephant in the room is our campaign finance system.  As long as the rich can give unlimited money to either party, neither party will have the courage to seriously infringe on their interests.  At least, this is my opinion.

    Feel trickled on yet?

    by War4Sale on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 11:37:46 AM PDT

  •  The Estate Tax System Is Way Too Favorable To The (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045, War4Sale

    wealthy. I do like the idea of increasing taxes on wealth (i.e. estates and capital gains) rather than on income, which hurts working people (except for CEO's and hedge fund managers).  However, rather than placing a limit on how much can be left to heirs, an easier way to accomplish increased taxation of wealth should start with reform of the tax code that directly affects the inheritance system. An example of this would be eliminating the "stepped up" basis of inherited assets, such as stocks. By portraying it as "eliminating tax loopholes" that favor the wealthy, it is an easier sell to politicians, has a more populist appeal to the American public, and has a better chance of getting enacted.

  •  I agree with your idea (0+ / 0-)

    Inherited wealth should run counter to a conservative economic philosophy.
    I kind of think the founders had something like this in mind when they banned titles of nobility and such.  
    But realistically, today, everyone is spun up on the "death tax", this will never fly.
    As as some one above said, this will just create more work for lawyers.

    I was a liberal when liberal was cool, I was a liberal when liberal wasn't cool, but I always was and always will be a liberal.

    by LemmyCaution on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 02:07:05 PM PDT

  •  I notice you don't say what will happen to the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shmuelman

    bulk of the individual's assets over the miserly $100K number you've chosen to allow them to direct to "family members".

    In a nation which allows, nay, encourages corporate formation and which rests upon it's creation in an era of limited-meritocracy (limited by gender and race, primarily) as the touchstone of "What makes America american?"

    Your proposition renders me speechless.

    It's basically an end-run to turn Capitalism into straight Socialism in one generation.

    Now, I'm very much (in the same vein as the boisterous Senator Bernie Sanders) a Democratic Socialist. Which means I support Democratic governance combined with social benefits to ensure a high standard of living via taxation of the populace and Business alike.

    But I cannot say that your idea would ever be taken seriously here in America.

    Now you can promote and achieve high tax rates on currently produced income of any stripe, which FDR showed the nation was possible and Presidents up until the JFK era continued to do.

    With the advent of Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century amidst conversations already taking place on the Left on Income Inequality for a number of years, the timing may be right to take a look at what has worked to alleviate Income Inequality in our not-so-distant past.

    Higher marginal tax rates on extraordinary classes of income. Personal level could be $5 million a year. Anything over that slap a big old high-as-hell rate on it. We built the American middle class of the 20th century on rates mostly between 84 and 94 percent. Wealthy people flourished in the US from the 1930s to the 1960s on these high MARGINAL tax rates. They could still buy airplanes and yachts. They just couldn't buy fleets of them.

    This is not an unAmerican or unproven idea, obviously. I'm saying it worked, and it worked very well for over a generation. It could again.

    There is something to be said for encouraging a level playing field, because it in return encourages more people to participate because they see that everyone has equitable chance to enjoy the game.


    "I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization"

    by Angie in WA State on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 03:52:16 PM PDT

    •  The fact that people think this is good diary (1+ / 3-)
      Recommended by:
      pierre9045
      Hidden by:
      Rob in CT, cville townie, Old Sailor

      shows extreme ignorance over what wealth and money mean. The US can squander a trillion $ / year in military, homeland security and the CIA and NSA, and can have the worst regressive taxation and a government run by lobbyists, but none of that is addressed here. Until the most egregious monetary policies are addressed, the idea of socializing wealth is utterly absurd. The idea originally posited that $100,000 is "a lot of money" shows the immaturity and ignorance of the diarist. I know a blue collar worker who have $3 million dollars by buying and converting real estate over a 30 year period. The idea that someone should take the wealth they have generated from their seven day a week work schedules because because is offensive and sick.
      There is plenty of wealth to around if we just return to  Clinton taxation that yielded huge budget surpluses.

       

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:03:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  hr for repetitive personal attack (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cville townie

        I tried to hide the earlier comments about stalinism and dripping with nasty sarcasm and for broke ass idiot who feels entitled to take what I earned, and for no wonder people want guns, but the time expired, but I see the commenter has not stopped the ugly pattern.

        So I will hide this one.

        If you disagree give scientific arguments or moral arguments or something other than ad hominem smears, nasty slurs and sarcasm and then try not to do it for one post after another with the same.

        •  It is not an "ad hominum" attack (0+ / 0-)

          And there is supposed to be science in wealth redistribution?
          It's failed over and over and it is sheer fantasy that the scenario described here will happen without a revolution and civil war.

          "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

          by shmuelman on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 08:10:53 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  but it is an ad hominem attack (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cville townie

            Your latin is as bad as your manners, and I don't care how strongly you oppose all forms of wealth redistribution, if you don't give reasons against this particular proposal but instead call your opponent a broke ass idiot, I will hr you every time.

            •  Thank you for your support, Rob in CT (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              cville townie

              Of course, the comments by shmuelman are exactly the kind of reaction I meant to draw with this post.

              The whole point of my proposal is to draw protests to its extreme Redistributionist nature; discussion on the technicalities of the proposal are useful if constructive, but ultimately not the intent of the post.

              The overall point of my post is to highlight the disingenuous nature of current media coverage and narratives of Progressive policies.

              People like Elizabeth Warren, and the policies they actually are pushing, such as expanding Social Security, or say, the Robin Hood tax, are being portrayed as extreme Leftist agendas, which allows the media to push a false equivalence with the GOP and the extreme agendas of the Tea Party.

              The distinction is that, the things Warren and others are trying to do, aren't all that extreme at all. And I was making this point by introducing what an actual extreme Leftist agenda might actually look like.

              So again, thank you for the support Rob, but I feel shmuelman's comments reflect more on his own nature than anything he might think he is exposing in mine.

              "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

              by pierre9045 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 08:38:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  If you actually meant the sentence below, (0+ / 0-)
                Of course, the comments by shmuelman are exactly the kind of reaction I meant to draw with this post.
                then may I suggest that you request the HRs be lifted?

                Otherwise, you are saying that the diary is flame-bait - something I don't actually think you meant to imply.

                mouseover the bar (I'm practicing for DK5)

                by serendipityisabitch on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 11:14:04 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Of course. I didn't realize that it got hidden (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  serendipityisabitch

                  And no, I did not mean that my intention was to flame-bait, but in the sense of a visceral reaction, similar to Swift's Modest Proposal.

                  "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

                  by pierre9045 on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 12:33:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  I did mention what would happen to the assets (0+ / 0-)
      In keeping with the spirit of bequeathing wealth to one's progeny, the majority of funds collected from this can go towards youth enrichment programs, school breakfast and lunch programs, and funding education in general.
      I would also like to point out that in my update I did frankly admit that the 100k threshold I set was too low. On the other hand, I don't consider it much of a character flaw to think the idea of possessing 100k worth of assets is a lot.

      Also, I am not against trying the things that have been proven to work in the past. Of course, it's not going to stop me from seeking out unproven ideas that might work as well, or better, or neither.

      And I may in the future write something about the whole encouraging corporatization thing, too.

      Thank you for your input.

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 07:00:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shmuelman

    Comrade. To each based on their need, from each based on their ability.

    You best believe it does

    by HangsLeft on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 05:34:13 PM PDT

  •  Just jack the taxes up to 50%... (0+ / 0-)

    ...after the first $2 million total.

    I'm not in favor any particular cap per person, for at least one simple reason:

    The estimated cost of raising a child born in 2012 to age 18 is $241,000 (or $301,970, taking inflation into account).
    Of course, that doesn't bring the costs of college/university education into the picture, so add another, oh, $125K to that total. Now we're pushing $500,000 per kid...and that's assuming a relatively middle-class upbringing.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue Jun 24, 2014 at 06:55:27 PM PDT

  •  Well, in general I think limiting inheritance (0+ / 0-)

    is a good idea, but consider this example and how to deal with it: House virtually entirely hand made by the father with help from the son, designated to go to the son eventually. Problem - the house has gone up massively in value. In Berkeley, trust me, you can't buy a dog house for $100k. The small plot of dirt under the house is valued at more than $100k. How to deal with personally relevant things like "My dad carved this stair railing and each of those steps, made those glass cabinet doors, the window frames, laid the flooring - every single feature in the house - not to speak of putting up all the framing, siding, wallboard, paint, and other less personalized features." Or how do you deal with "My Mom wore this jewelry at her wedding and wanted me to have it"?  This is not a criticism of the general plan, just a puzzle that needs to be dealt with.

  •  As an Estate Planner (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pierre9045

    I would like to first clear up some confusion.

    (1) The estate tax is a tax on the estate of the decedant. Thus, the estate is taxed first, then the remaining assets are distributed to the beneficiaries. Legally, it's not a tax on the beneficiaries, but from an economic point of view, the higher the tax the less the beneficiaries receive.

    (2) The inheritence tax is a tax on the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries receive the inheritence, and then it is taxed. There is no federal inheritence tax, only a certain number of states have an inheritence tax.

    (3) The gift tax is a tax on gifts that the decedent gave to his beneficiaries during his/her lifetime. Before George W. Bush was president, the gift and estate tax worked together and were taxed at the same rates and same exemptions. However, REBPULICANS LOVE THE GIFT TAX and HATE the ESTATE TAX. Thus, Bush decoupled the gift tax from the estate tax, and the exemption amount for the estate tax was increased and was suppose to be phased out.

    I believe in the original intent of the estate tax. It's suppose to prevent dynastical families, but not be a major source of revenue for the government. I generally agree with Piketty's proposal of a universal wealth tax that would partially replace property taxes.

    Make no mistake, Republicans love some types of taxes, such as consumption, head and gift taxes. Republicans frown on living parents helping their troubled children out, yet at the same time believe that these same parents should be allowed to keep their wealth within the family. I have somewhat an opposite view. Nevertheless, a 100K exemption amount with a 100% tax above that amount is really is a radical proposal. Much more radical than any of Pikkety's proposals.

  •  Gifts (0+ / 0-)

    So would you also limit the amount of gifts that can be given before death?  Would you prevent someone from buying their kid a house?

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 06:48:06 AM PDT

    •  If they are purchasing their gifts through (0+ / 0-)

      the US economy, then that money they are using to purchase those gifts is contributing to overall spending, and cycling through the economy, is it not?

      If you earn 10 million dollars in your lifetime, why not be able to spend that 10 million however you choose (within the law, of course) within your lifetime? On the other hand, why should your children get to inherit it after your death, when they are not the ones who actually earned it?

      "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

      by pierre9045 on Wed Jun 25, 2014 at 07:47:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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