Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Millionaires Speak On Raising the Estate Tax

Unknown-1More than 30 of the wealthiest Americans wrote a letter to Congress and the Obama administration arguing that the estate tax should be raised.  Several of those millionaires, members of the Responsible Wealth Coalition, were featured at a news conference yesterday. They propose setting the estate tax threshold at $2 million for individuals and $4 million for couples.  The millionaires spoke about how they believe that there should be a significant tax on large estates when they are passed onto the next generation. They echoed Abigail Disney’s sentiment of not wanting to compound their already significant advantages on the backs of the middle class.  A high estate tax like this ensures that the wealth is not perpetually concentrated in the hands of a small aristocracy and also encourages charitable contributions.

See Isaiah J. Poole, Millionaires Defend the Estate Tax, Truthout, Dec. 12, 2012. 


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Ms. Disney, who has a net worth of 500 million dollars, and has a listed occupation of "philanthropist" has likely never had to toil a day in her life and apparently does not appreciate the plight of a family business owner or farmer who has to face scuttling or selling the business because the Treasury considers death a taxable event. Finally, this is economic policy espoused by Jimmy Carter...if that does not provide a visceral reaction, I fear nothing can.

Posted by: brian j. cohan | Dec 13, 2012 6:42:50 PM

And this "philanthropist" has done more good than any number of her personal detractors. Inherited wealth has never benefited anyone. Go earn your own.

Posted by: George | Dec 18, 2012 12:26:28 PM

George, you will get no argument from me that Ms. Disney has done more good than many of her personal detractors, including myself. As I view it,whether inherited wealth does anyone any good is not the issue. The issue is whether it is sound governmental policy to attempt to espouse and encourage fervent capitalism, through the tax code and other governmental policy, only to have the government take a minimum 45 points off the top upon death. In my remedial thinking, there is something incongruous, and crass, to such a policy. Moreover, it is policy which creates random unfairness in it's implementation. If one has the means to "paper over" massive sums with vehicles such as CRUTS, GRATS, and all of their permutations, much of the otherwise miniscule revenue this tax is supposed to garner is otherwise avoided and is further misdirected into foundations and other questionable vehicles. Good for me as a lawyer, I guess. Not great for my client.

Posted by: brian j. cohan | Dec 25, 2012 8:21:25 AM

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