Smithers has an interesting thread going on, inspired by Roosh, asking about the nature and use of the estate tax, and one question that comes to mind is "what does it accomplish?" Proponents suggest that it prevents creating a hereditary aristocracy and generates necessary revenue. Opponents suggest it breaks up family businesses.
Of course, what really happens is obscured by the work of estate lawyers, whose magic (A-B trusts, etc..) tends to (obviously) minimize the impact of the estate tax, thankfully. However, even this gives us more of a picture of who is affected by the tax.
Let's start with a simple economic analysis. Wealthy people come in a few basic categories; those who obtain their wealth in capital intensive industries (farming/factories), and those who obtain their wealth in intellectual or political capital. They are divided into those who hold their property as a sole proprietorship or partnership, and those who hold primarily publicly traded (easily liquifiable) securities.
Logic suggests that those who have a capital intensive business are going to be hit harder than those with intellectual or political capital, and that those with a sole proprietorship or partnership are going to be hit harder than those whose assets are traded publicly.
To this effect, check out the Farm Bureau in this regard, and consider that the Kennedys, Fords, Rockefellers, DuPonts, Waltons, Bushes, and others still wield great authority despite being a generation or more from their initial great wealth creation. What can we conclude?
The Estate tax, beyond being a poor revenue source (only 2% of federal revenue), favors corporations over partnerships and sole proprietorships, and favors intellectual and political capital over physical capital. In other words, it does a pretty good job of creating an aristocracy while putting those who work for a living (e.g. in factory jobs) at a severe disadvantage, just the opposite of what was promised.
End the Estate tax. Do it for the poor.
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