Those libertarian economists who argue against the estate tax will say it’s discouraging value creation. But the way I see it, anyone who is rich enough to have an estate big enough to be subject to the tax became that rich through value transference rather than value creation. Taxes on value transference are good taxes, because they tax a zero-sum or negative-sum activity and allow lower taxes on value creation activities. Taxes on value transference have the effect of encouraging value creation rather than discouraging it.
It’s not even clear if the estate tax is a tax on the decedent or a tax on the heirs. As a tax on the heirs, receiving money from a rich decedent is a classic example of value transference, and therefore merits a high tax. It's easy to see how inheritence results in less value creation: a lucky heir might quit his value-creating job because he got rich through inheritence. Taxing the value transference (the inheritance) encourages value creation activities (the heir keeps his job).
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I’d also like to point out that in the last presidential election, Obama carried the majority of the value transference class. I don't understand why Republicans are so much in favor of lowering the taxes of a group which no longer votes Republican.