The Instigator
dirkson
Pro (for)
Winning
3 Points
The Contender
Deathbeforedishonour
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

A near-total estate tax is morally preferrable to no estate tax.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
dirkson
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/3/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,673 times Debate No: 24035
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (5)
Votes (1)

 

dirkson

Pro

I hold that the most moral rate of estate taxation is a near 100% takings as is feasible to have. My opponent and I both agree that taxation is a form of theft, and will likely be arguing from that as a starting point.

First round is acceptance and definitions, no semantics please.

Definitions:

Moral - http://dictionary.reference.com... - I find 1, 3, 4, and 5 here acceptable.

Estate Tax - The tax levied on a person upon their death.

Near-total - As close to 100% as can reasonably be achieved.

Cheers,
-Dirk
Deathbeforedishonour

Con

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
dirkson

Pro

First off, I'd like to thank my opponent for suggesting this debate earlier today on my profile page - I think we should both get a kick out of it! : )

1. Taking money away from someone who has died has minimal moral issues.

While both my opponent and I agree that taxation is theft, in this particular instance it's theft from a dead person. It is most likely that death signifies the end of everything about that person, including their interests, thoughts, and any objections they may have to taxation (or theft). If death is not the end of a person, then at least it signified the end of all interaction between the diseased and the world we inhabit.

Since the dead cannot, almost by definition, object to the loss of their resources, taxation of dead people is one of the least morally problematic ways to fund a government!


2. Inheritance unfairly compensates children for the loss of their parents.

It is moral principle for people to receive equal compensation for equal effort. This principle of fairness is so basic that even non-human primates innately understand it. [1] (It's a video. Go watch it - It's absolutely hilarious!)

The inheritance the child of a rich parent receives is vastly superior to the inheritance that the child of a poor parent receives, even though the rich child has not expended any additional effort compared to the poor child.

Removing these massive windfalls would help reduce the advantages children of richer parents receive compared to the children of poorer parents, helping towards an equal start in life.


3. A sane government can use funds from estate taxes for the public good

Assuming that one lives under a government with a proven track record for spending public money on programs that benefit the public, (A big assumption, but a few such governments do exist) the money taken from taxes may be spent on programs such as education, road maintenance, or medical benefits. [2]

While his may or may not offset the evil provided by the initial theft of the money from an average person, it almost certainly offsets the vastly reduced level of evil I've established for taking money from someone already dead.

4. An unchecked estate tax can lead to consolidation of power, which can be exploited for evil.

While consolidation of power is, in itself, neither a tool for good or evil, those wielding it have, historically, trended "evil" with their power. One need look no farther than Nike's sweatshops, Apple's contract with Foxconn [3] , the US government's military record, or history's record of the petty wars of medieval European Kings to see the disastrous things that can be brought about via the use of consolidated power. (However the power got consolidated in the first place.)

Since the prime beneficiary in many inheritances are family members, this allows power to consolidate over generations to one or a handful of very closely related individuals, with potentially horrific results. Thus is morally preferable to prevent this consolidation from happening, and estate taxes are among the least morally problematic methods of doing this.

Conclusion

I believe I've made several decent points for a near-total estate tax being preferable. I look forward to my opponent's rebuttals!

Cheers,
-Dirk

[1] http://goo.gl...
[2] http://www.sweden.gov.se...
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org... - This wikipedia article cites numerous sources, basically all of which I feel are valid. Please reference the links cited in this section.
Deathbeforedishonour

Con

Deathbeforedishonour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
dirkson

Pro

dirkson forfeited this round.
Deathbeforedishonour

Con

Deathbeforedishonour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
dirkson

Pro

dirkson forfeited this round.
Deathbeforedishonour

Con

Deathbeforedishonour forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by dirkson 5 years ago
dirkson
16k - There are extenuating circumstances here, and the debate is called off between us. I don't have any buttons to make the debate go away, though, so I figure just forfeiting it a bunch gets the message across.

Cheers,
-Dirk
Posted by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
msmith79, stop arguing the arguments in the comments section while the debate is still going on.
Posted by 16kadams 5 years ago
16kadams
PRO, when someone Forfeits do not forfeit too, write "extend arguments".
Posted by msmith79 5 years ago
msmith79
"An unchecked estate tax can lead to consolidation of power, which can be exploited for evil." While this may be true that wealth builds up over generations, your rationale that it would be better for the money to go to the state is flawed. In a country with a King, like your example, the wealth would be consolidated in his hands, and he would be free to exploit as he wishes. Likewise, if more money is taken from individuals and given to the government, even more wealth is consolidated in the hands of the government for exploitation, to the detriment of successful families. Taking the power from the people to give to the government is more harmful to all the people, even the poor ones. What about all the people who have inherited vast sums of money and used it to provide for the public good where the government has either failed to do so or would not even consider doing so?
Posted by msmith79 5 years ago
msmith79
"Inheritance unfairly compensates children for the loss of their parents." Besides the fact that by the time most parents die, their children have already grown, why do children need to start off life equal? Wouldn't it be better for any child to have every possible advantage? Punishing children for their parents successes by forcing them to be equal to children with less successful parents does not compute.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by socialpinko 5 years ago
socialpinko
dirksonDeathbeforedishonourTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro brought an argument which Pro was unfortunately never able to respond to due to forfeits. Therefore the arguments are conceded. Conduct tied for forfeits on both sides.