James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Death Tax Irony

Rose Wilder Lane was born this day in 1886. She was a popular writer in the 1920's and 30's, but is now known primarily for being the daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books. (Also, she's known as a founder of the modern libertarian movement.)

As I understand it, she made good money, very good money, in the 1920's, though might have lost quite a bit in the 1929 stock market crash. In any case, her mother's works, which began in the 1930's, far surpassed her own in popularity. The bulk of Rose's fortune in her later years was inherited from her mother.

So, she didn't "earn" the money. She merely inherited it. Why shouldn't she have been taxed most or all of the inheritance?

That's only fair, right? 

Except... isn't she primarily responsible for the success of the books? Compared to other aspiring authors, Rose's mother had in the daughter a professional writer editing (some say co-writing) the books, who also had enough notoriety and influence in the publishing industry for Little House in the Big Woods and its sequels to go to market.

If Laura earned the money, in what way would Rose not have been entitled to the inheritance?

Would you have taken it away from her, at the point of a gun?

In what way did her inheritance, her property, suddenly become the property of everyone else?

And if you think Rose was "deserving" whereas spoiled rich kids are not deserving to inherit wealth, where do you draw the line?

Here's where I draw the line: No matter how "deserving" or not I view my neighbor's wealth, I don't take what doesn't belong to me.

And if it's wrong for me to take what doesn't belong to me, it's wrong for the State to steal as well.

1 comment:

  1. I'm sure corporate farmers love the death tax. Death of the family farmer tax is more accurate.
    - Tom from Life Ant