Sunday, May 01, 2005

After posting earlier about an article by Eugene Volokh, I thought it might be interesting to see what Judge Posner is up to.

Turns out he's been thinking about estate taxation:
I believe taxes on estates should be permanently abolished since they do little to reduce income or wealth inequality, benefit a vast army of lawyers and accountants whose role is to find ways to cut taxes on the estates of the wealthy, create problems for some families with smaller businesses, and do not raise a lot of tax revenue.
Note that the arguments Posner makes here pertain solely to praxis and never to principle. For him, I suppose, this is a typically pragmatic approach; but after hearing Bush and his libertarian supporters crow on and on about the estate tax being unjust and unconstitutional, it's almost shocking to see someone support a repeal for solely empirical reasons.

That said, I still disagree with him -- justice, I think, requires an estate tax regardless of its efficacy.* But it's nice to see someone at least give up the libertarian pretense.
*This would take a book to explain properly, but the short answer is that for cooperative labor to be entered into at all -- and for wealth to be generated -- then there needs to be a common awareness of redistributive measures designed to correct inequitable accretions of wealth.


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