I got the following reply from a reader over my F@$% Fairness blog post. I will post a link to my original blog at the bottom. I actually encourage any of you that have intelligent arguments to make about what I have written to make them. One of the models for this blog is Andrew Sullivan’s. I like that he doesn’t have comments on his blog, which usually just lead to partisan bickering and name calling. But what he does do is post the most intelligent reader comments that are in disagreement with him as the “dissent of the day.” I do allow comments here
, but I must approve them before I post them, not to stifle debate, but to prevent the kind of ignorance that I believe actually is counterproductive to real debate. Anyway here is the readers comment:
Jeff, There’s something overlooked in your comments, at least what’s expressed here. Trust funds, stocks/bonds, bank accounts, etc, are different than ranches. The death tax has destroyed more natural resources than all the bulldozers ever built. Those who inherit farms and ranches are forced to sell because, unless they’ve won the lottery, the only way they can pay the death tax is to sell their farm/ranch to a developer. So open space, and all its benefits provided to society … aquifer infiltration, riparian areas, wetlands, wildlife habitat, carbon sinks, oxygen production, aesthetics, rainfall runoff reduction and its cleaning, food, fiber, shelter, recreation, etc, etc, etc … are soon eliminated by becoming covered by asphalt and rooftops. And those who say that “proper planning” can escape this tax are, under certain market timings, swings and changes, full of shit. So if you want to help the environment, help keep open spaces open. There are ways to accomplish this, via carefully constructed and regulated conservation easements, etc, etc, but our “leadership” in BOTH parties won’t listen and/or are too dumb to understand, or has not so far. Finally, always remember there are two kinds of landowners: those who take from the land, and those who give to the land. Penalize the former. But, the latter should be encouraged via more appropriate policies than exist today. There’s much more to this discussion that is too complicated for my email skills, but happy to discuss any time.
I think this is a completely valid point, and one that I overlooked. However, the only thing that I would like to add is that my original blog was more about the hypocrisy of people that are against the Estate Tax so that their children benefit from wealth, and also against social welfare of any kind for other children, and not necessarily a response to the Estate Tax itself. If this was not made clear, I apologize. One always realizes when one writes that, unless one would write till the end of time, given all the nuances and shades of gray of each subject, there are going to be small holes in every argument. Here is a link to my original blog: