In today’s Wall Street Journal, Robert Rubin and Julian Robertson make the morbid argument that bringing back the estate tax makes perfect economic sense because it would have the “least negative impact on the economic activity.” After all, dead people won’t be spending that money.
The two further argue that reinstating a tax retroactively isn’t such a bad thing in this case because “presumably nobody’s demise was affected in timing by the structure of our tax law.” Umm…let’s hope not.
The argument they make is so simplistic, it’s frightening that it’s our former Treasury Secretary making it. The fact of the matter is that small manufacturers who want to pass their businesses onto their heirs pay exorbitant amounts to plan for the tax – and that’s wasted money that could be spent on jobs and capital expenditures. And that’s a negative impact on economic activity.
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