U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., speaking to The Denver Forum on Aug. 27, suggested that untaxed inherited wealth - beyond about $5 million - is not the American way.
"On the inheritance tax, my guess is that we'll end up somewhere between a $3 [million] and $5 million floor, for that," said Perlmutter. "If we don't do something, it goes back to $600,000. Right now, I think it's zero; but it goes back to $600,000. We'll set a...For small businesses, whether it's farms or small businesses - a person can pass up to $3 [million] to $5 million without an inheritance tax. After that, my guess is there will be a tax. Because I firmly believe that, you know, we're not England. We're not into landed gentry. You know, just because my grandfather did well doesn't mean I'm entitled to a yacht. You know, and so that's just a firmly-held value that I have, that we all make it in this country on our own, as best we can. And, you know, if you've got help from people, that's great. But this is about doing it yourself."
So, if your grandfather did well, then the government - instead of you - is entitled to the proverbial yacht?
Perlmutter is yet another politician who thinks that the government should redistribute wealth. (Remember the 2008 encounter of then-presidential candidate Barack Obama with Joe the Plumber? "...I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody," said Obama.)
Now that Obama, Perlmutter and their Democratic majorities control government policy-making in Washington, we see what comes of their economic ideas and regulatory meddling: confusion in the markets, stubborn unemployment, and hundreds of billions of potential investment dollars parked on the sidelines.
By reinstating the death tax, as suggested by Perlmutter (and by others, like former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin), at least three things would happen. It would reduce the freedom of citizens to pass on and dedicate their money as they see fit (a freedom which strikes me as truly the American way). The government would have even more power and assets to spend as it sees fit. Meanwhile, estate planners would find creative ways to shelter and protect the private property anyway.