Greed: A selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed. A continual lust for more.
Envy: A feeling of resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions or qualities or wealth.
Someone might want to tell Hillary Clinton that greed and envy are two of the seven deadly sins. She’s guilty of both.
Her new revised tax planwould raise the estate tax to as high as 65 percent — up from 40 percent today. She would also apply the hated death tax to as many as twice as many estates.
It’s one of her dumbest ideas yet — which is saying a lot. It won’t raise any revenue to speak of. It’s a bow-tied gift to estate tax lawyers and accountants. Many studies have found that the cost to the economy of taxing a lifetime of savings more than outweighs any benefits. It actually could end up costing the Treasury money by reducing investment in family businesses that are a major engine of growth for our economy.
But Hillary wants to take us back to the 1970s. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the plan would “impose a 50 percent rate that would apply to estates over $10 million a person, a 55 percent rate that starts at $50 million a person, and the top rate of 65 percent, which would affect only those with assets exceeding $500 million for a single person and $1 billion for married couple.”
What Hillary doesn’t get is this: anyone who’s smart enough to make half a billion dollars is smart enough to find a way to dodge this confiscatory tax. That’s the whole history of the death tax — the very rich never pay it.
So why this act of desperation from Hillary? The answer is fairly obvious. She’s sinking in the polls. She’s terrified of losing the Bernard Sanders voters by not being tough enough on taking from the super rich. So she’s adopted the Bernie tax policy and that starts with a 65 percent tax rate. Sen. Sanders says that there’s nothing wrong with taking more and more money from the people in the top 0.3 percent of income.
Hillary: is a 70 or 80 percent income tax next? This might win over even more Bernard Sanders.
I’m not going to explain again the economic argument against the death tax. I’m going to make an ethical and moral argument. Who in their right mind thinks that it’s appropriate in America for the government to take two-thirds of someone’s lifetime earnings? A billionaire has already paid millions and millions of dollars in taxes over his lifetime. Why is the government the rightful owner of one’s legacy — the sweat and equity and 60 hour work weeks in building a business — and not the family members?
The origins of the death tax come from the Communist Manifesto. This tax was touted by Marx as one of the strategies to secure government ownership of assets. Think about it. With a 50 percent death tax, over time the government will own 50 percent of the nation’s assets. With a 100 percent estate tax — and Hillary isn’t far from that — the government eventually owns … everything.
This is a big issue because over the next 25 years or so, tens of trillions of dollars of assets will be transferred from aging baby boomers to their kids and grandkids. The left wants to get its greedy hands on that treasure chest of money. Every American should resist this power grab by the avaricious political class. They are the real robber barons who worship money above all else.
If Hillary were to win and adopt this death tax policy, the small business model in America would largely disappear. Why build a legacy if you cannot pass it on? Donald Trump should say that it is a human right in America that you are allowed to leave your worldly possessions to your children.
Mr. Trump would eliminate the death tax. He understands that the proper role of government is to facilitate wealth creation, not to destroy it.
Hillary’s campaign justified this new confiscation tax by saying that only a few hundred people every year would pay it. That misses the point. An unjust law is unjust whether it applies to 200 people, or 2 million people. Americans understand this principal of basic fairness better than Yale-educated Hillary does. They don’t buy into the politics of greed and envy. That’s why two-thirds of voters favor eliminating the tax not doubling down on it.
• Stephen Moore is an economist with Freedom Works and a senior economic consultant with the Trump campaign.