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Proponents of the death tax would be less likely to insist the state raid a dead man’s wealth if they were required to attend the funeral, crowbar open the coffin, and pull the rings off the corpse. Some would. Sorry about that cracking sound, but it’s all for the greater good. But most are content to have unseen agents of the state perform the task.
I’m glad these people want the death tax, because it shows them for who they are: statists who believe the government has a right to your purse the second you lack the strength to hold it. But now and then someone really gives the game away, and that brings us to James Kwak. Writing in Medium today about the mythical family farm threatened by estate taxes, he says:
The mainstream argument for repealing the estate tax is that a “small” family-owned business — say, one worth “only” $20 million —would have to be sold or liquidated to pay the estate tax. At a 40% rate, the tax on such a business would be about $4.5 million. It’s theoretically possible, though not particularly plausible, that an estate including such a business might not have $4.5 million in additional assets to pay the tax, and not be able to borrow $4.5 million against the value of the business, and not be able to sell a $4.5 million stake to other family members.