By: John Hayward, 12/11/2012
With much fanfare, a group called Responsible Wealth has launched a campaign to raise estate taxes, with a plan that would essentially begin huge new “progressive” taxes roughly where they end right now. They want the exemption reduced from $10 million to $4 million for a married couple, and everything above this limit taxed at 45 percent or higher. Included on Tuesday’s conference call were former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin; filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney; John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Group; medical doctor Richard Rockefeller; and Responsible Wealth Project director Mike Lapham. Bill Gates Senior, father of Microsoft’s founder, was scheduled to participate but unable to attend, sending a prepared statement instead. The group managed to pack virtually every distraction, mis-representation, and outright delusion surrounding the liberal approach to fiscal policy into a single conference call.
For starters, there’s the claim to moral supremacy inherent in the group’s name and charter. As if “responsibility” can only be achieved by allowing this wildly irresponsible government to seize over half your estate!
A great deal of hay was made about the presumption of moral superiority emanating from the ostensible “argument against interest.” These are rich people with big estates – including Bill Gates’ father and Roy Disney’s granddaughter – who want their taxes raised. How can you argue with that?
Strangely enough, moral credit for argument against interest never works the other way, when people who aren’t very likely to leave $4 million estates raise objections to the latest soak-the-rich tax grab. There are far more people who take that view than millionaires who clamor for tax increases… but of course, they don’t get to call press conferences that attract swarms of reporters.