Why Bernie Sanders' new estate tax plan is inherently immoral

(Washington Examiner) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. is introducing an immoral bill that would impose vast marginal inheritance tax rates on wealthier Americans.

The socialist elder statesman says that his bill, titled "For the 99.8 percent Act," would ensure that the "very wealthiest families in this country start paying their fair share of taxes."

But the data proves Sanders a liar. The top 10 percent of income earners account for 46.5 percent of national income, but contribute more than 69 percent of total federal income tax revenue. Basic analysis of this data shows that the rich pay at least their fair share and that the income tax code is one of the world's most progressive.

Nor is it true that the middle class has suffered greatly over the past 30 years. While U.S. healthcare and higher education costs are extortionate compared to other nations (and suck up far too much household income), the data also proves that real median household incomes have risen on a sustainable track. Moreover, the current economy also reflects historic rises in wealth, and access to work for those who need it most: lower skilled, lower income workers.

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(St. Louis Federal Reserve, U.S. Government)

But let's dig into Sanders' plan. It would impose a 45 percent tax on estates valued $3.5 million to $10 million, a 50 percent tax on estates valued $10 million to $50 million, a 55 percent tax on estates valued over $50 million, and a 77 percent tax on estates valued over $1 billion. Is this fair in the context of already highly progressive income tax rates? Is it fair considering that estates are taxed 40 percent on every additional dollar after $11 million?

I would say no.

Yet Sanders' plan is also idiotic. America's economic model (you know, the one that makes us the wealthiest nation on Earth — with far better living standards than socialist nations) is built on granting individual reward commensurate to at-large social benefit. We incentivize innovation and hard work with the promise of profit. That's why America generates the newest and best medicines, smart phones, cloud computing, high-technology machinery, etc.

What do you expect will happen if we penalize innovators to the degree Sanders wants to? While some wealthy individuals will allocate their capital inefficiently before death to avoid Sanders' socialist theft, many others will simply move abroad. And they'll take their investments, innovation, and yes, their wealth with them. Sanders' only countermeasure would be to imprison individuals in his socialist paradise. This is how socialism inevitably leads to dark places.

Sanders doesn't get that. Instead, like all good socialists, he believes he knows best how to spend the wealth that others created, better than those who knew how to earn it.

Conservatives must not sit idle in front of such false moral prophets, whose false and hateful ideas require intellectual annihilation.


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