Monday, December 04, 2006

Why not today?

I'll admit that I have something of a love/hate relationship with the estate tax. Hate is obvious--it's the government's unconstitutional claim on wealth, a direct tax not levied in any clear way on income. It keeps a good friend of mine at church busy writing A/B trusts and other estate plans designed to minimize its impact and keep businesses intact.

But love? Yes, love, in a way. The estate tax can serve as a reminder that one needs to determine what to do with wealth before one dies, or else risk its confiscation and use for purposes one rejects.

I would even argue that we might do well to even go a step further; apart from resources needed to support one's self in one's old age, shouldn't we be a bit like Carnegie and allocate the surplus while we're still living? If a business should be run by one's child after one dies, why not while you're still alive to guide them? If a ministry or charity is worth remembering in one's will, why not give while we're still around to keep them accountable? Sometimes it seems that we think that those around us will function better without us...

Don't get me wrong; I think that the estate tax is a repugnant implementation of the Communist Manifesto. However, there is yet a small silver lining in this dark cloud.

1 comment:

hammerswing75 said...

That sure is looking on the bright side. I appreciate the argument you make and should I ever make some money I'll be sure to implement your advice.