FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Inheriting Money is Awful and You Should Feel Awful
In the span of three days, I count two pieces on just how awful inheriting wealth is and that we should totally tax the heck out of those who inherit money from their parents. There are probably more, but I’m too exhausted from reading these two to go looking.
The first dates back to March 26 with a piece in the Guardian’s Comment is Free section. James Bulter calls for the end of inherited wealth.
Why do we permit this? The transfer of wealth between generations is an injustice: it is a reward for no work, and a form of access to privileges that are otherwise beyond reach. Professor Thomas Piketty, in his new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, makes the argument that, after a social-democratic blip in the middle of the last century, inheritance is once again becoming the key route to wealth. Piketty argues that if wealth is concentrated and the return on capital is higher than the economy’s growth rate, inherited wealth will grow more rapidly than that stemming from work. This returns us to the terrain of Balzac and Austen, where the road to financial security is to target those who already possess wealth and, where possible, marry them. The data Piketty analyses – a huge and comprehensive set – suggests that the proportion of people receiving a sum in inheritance larger than the lifetime earnings of the bottom 50% is set to return to 19th-century levels in the next couple of decades. Pleasant news for our neo-Victorian government; less pleasant for the rest of us, and a disaster for anyone who cares about inequality.
On March 28, the Washington Post ran this piece, calling for higher taxes among those who inherit their money.
We need a tax policy that accounts for how economic benefits and disparities are passed down from generation to generation. To do that, we could calculate tax rates based not just on what people earn now — as traditional progressive taxation does — but also on the income their families brought in during their critical childhood years. We shouldn’t tax the first-generation college graduate who makes a half-million dollars at the same 39.6 percent marginal tax rate as we do the heir who had his job handed to him.
God forbid people accumulate wealth for their family to survive in this screwed-up world. No, we need not only punish the people who earn money through their hard work, but also their children and grandchildren and their great-grandchildren. After all, we’ve got to make them pair their fair share. This idea isn’t new, by any stretch, but, much like Jesus, where two or more are gathered in its name, class warfare is among them.
The demonization (hilarious note – the Chrome spell check wants me to replace “demonization” with “demonetization”) of wealth is, of course, a central tenant in the Religion of the Left. If you have money, you’re a terrible human being. If you have money through inheritance, that’s worse.
By the way, do you know who else was punished for the “sins” of his father? Bane. And he went on to break Batman’s back and seize control of Gotham.
Makes you think…