(urth) Gene Wolfe's Politics

Chris P rasputin_ at hotmail.com
Tue Mar 31 03:41:56 PDT 2009

> > brunians at brunians.org wrote:
> >> This is why 'raising taxes on the rich' doesn't work, for those of you
> >> who have been paying attention.
> >>>> I'm talking about the gummint going bankrupt, silly boy.
> >>> Gummints don't go bankrupt, having produced nothing in the first
> >>> place.  They may print money, which will devalue all the goods and
> >>> services of the society and bring about its ruination, of course.
> >>> They have that power, but they don't have the power to create money
> >>> in the original sense of the word, as a store of value.  You may or
> >>> may not be aware that businesses don't pay taxes either, individuals
> >>> do.  Businesses pass them along to their customers to pay.
> > Who do estate taxes get passed on to?
> As far as I know, estates are only left by natural persons, that is, they
> are not paid by businesses.
> Estate taxes are basically a means of limiting social mobility: the idea
> is to prevent middle-class families from becoming upper-class. The way a
> middle-class family becomes upper-class, of course, is by increasing
> wealth from generation to generation. This can be useful in limiting the
> influence of undesireable ethnic groups with a demonstrated ability of
> making money.

Putting aside contentious interpretations about what the estate tax is "intended" to do, this does not seem to me to be a good model for social mobility (that is, having it done by building from generation to generation rather than for the individual). Telling someone who starts out poor that, if he plays along well and works hard, perhaps his children or grandchildren or great grandchildren might not be poor smacks a bit of telling the untouchable that perhaps if he accepts his lot in life, he'll come back as a higher class in a future life.

Before I make any judgment on the last part of what you said, please clarify what you mean about undesirable ethnic types. Are you claiming that some ethnicities are taxed different amounts for the same size estate? Or that some ethnicities have more money than others (and thus get taxed more)? Or that some ethnic groups are inherently more capable than others (thus deserve to get more money, and thus will be taxed more)? Also, which ethnic groups are you referring to - I thought perhaps you might be referring to anti-Semitism but this may not be the case.

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