(urth) Gene Wolfe's Politics

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Tue Mar 31 05:24:17 PDT 2009

>> 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).

That is how it is done, mostly. Exceptional individuals might do it in one
generation. It does happen. Not very often.

It sure didn't happen with Barack Obama (upper-middle class American white
people on one side, African aristocrats on the other).

> 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.

Yes, estate taxes were used in an attempt to Keep The Jews Out of the
American upper-class. It didn't quite work.


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