The Instigator
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3 Points
The Contender
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0 Points

In the United States, the Estate Tax should be abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,750 times Debate No: 32978
Debate Rounds (4)
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The Estate Tax is a tax imposed on the estate of a deceased person before being passed on to their heirs.

No semantics, first round for acceptance, and no new arguments in the last round.


This is my first debate, so I'll try my best but bear with me. I accept.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to my opponent for accepting. I'll make my case, arguing primarily that the state has no right to tax estates and the negative effects that occur when this kind of tax takes place.

I. Immoral

Death and what happens to assets following the event is a matter that needs to be left up to the deceased and their heirs. An individual can will their private property to whoever they wish--when an individual makes a will, they are making a contract to give their property to the heir upon their death, hence a legitimate transfer of property. By what possible authority does the state tax property that has already been taxed through income, property, and a vast array of other taxes? Even if we concede that some small measure of taxation and redistribution is justified (a dubious prospect at best), the value of estates has *already* been taxed and redistributed. To redistribute another 40% of very large estates is immoral and a blatant violation of property rights. What right does the state have to intervene in private, personal, and contractual agreements between an owner and their heirs, and what gives the state the right to further tax income which has *already* been taxed?

II. Destruction of the natural elites and practical effects of the Estate Tax

Part of the argument in favor of this tax is that it prevents the growth of a hereditary aristocracy, thus encouraging a meritocracy. The problem with this argument is that law, order, and justice have been so perverted by the growth of the state that the United States does not exist in a state of meritocracy, but rather who can better serve and control the state and its innumerable. A hereditary aristocracy would be far preferable to the situation which exists today. A simple glance at the extremely wealthy today can confirm what everyone already knew, with rare exceptions (ex. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, ect.) the wealthy today gain their station via corrupt practices such as corporate welfare and prevention of competition via a corrupt and ever expanding bureaucracy issuing so many regulations that the complete collection in 1994 (the year I was born, so it's certainly far larger today) consisted of[1]: "a total of 201 books, occupying about 26 feet of library shelf space. The [] index alone is 754 pages." On average 68 new regulations come into existence every single day[2]. Is anyone foolish enough to believe these are all moderate, acceptable regulations designed to protect the people? Nonsense. The government and it's army of bureaucrats is bought and paid for by the elites and bourgeoisie in an attempt to enrich their own firms and stifle competition. Every year nearly 100 billion of tax payer money is literally handed to big business who lobby[3]. This is the era of crony capitalism.

Hoppe explains the effects that the status quo has had on the "Natural Elites"[4]: "The fortunes of great families have dissipated, and their tradition of culture and economic independence, intellectual farsightedness, and moral and spiritual leadership has been forgotten. Rich men still exist today, but more frequently than not they owe their fortune now directly or indirectly to the state. Hence, they are often more dependent on the state's continued favors than people of far lesser wealth. They are typically no longer the heads of long established leading families but nouveaux riches. Their conduct is not marked by special virtue, dignity, or taste but is a reflection of the same proletarian mass-culture of present-orientedness, opportunism, and hedonism that the rich now share with everyone else; consequently, their opinions carry no more weight in public opinion than anyone else's."

The argument is two-fold: First the estate tax has contributed and is contributing currently to the destruction and prevention of a hereditary aristocracy. Make no mistake, I'm not arguing that the abolition of the estate tax alone will restore sanity but it brings us closer to that goal, and as such the resolution is affirmed. A hereditary aristocracy can be a good thing as these long established families in previous eras had very very long cultures of far-sightedness and moral/spiritual leadership. Secondly, the government is controlled by corrupt businessmen who gain their station by playing politics with the livelihoods and even lives of the common people (the Iraq war is a clear example of a war brought about by corporate interests) and thus reducing the tax revenue the thieves and loafers in the government have to play with and allowing the natural elite to once again emerge is a good thing.
The Estate Tax discourages far sightedness and economic growth. This is self evident as the more an individual earns, the more the government takes. This tax is just another example of government favoritism/crony capitalism. Heritage explains[5] that the people who benefit from the estate tax are as follows:

"Estate tax lawyers and planners. ...Wealthy families hire expensive estate lawyers to arrange their affairs in a legal manner to minimize the impact of the death tax on their estates... Estate tax lawyers and planners have an obvious vested interest in seeing the death tax remain in place.

Life insurance companies. As long as the death tax remains in place, life insurance companies will continue to collect premiums from family businesses that cannot afford estate lawyers and planners but want to protect their businesses. In order to protect their assets from being liquidated when they die, these families purchase life insurance policies that will pay the living members of the family enough to cover the death tax liability when a family member passes away.

Large businesses. The death tax is an impediment for family-owned businesses that could expand to compete with larger businesses because it creates a large disincentive for the family businesses to expand."

The results are clear and incontrovertible. Affirm the resolution.


1. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2001. USA. 64. Print.



4. Hoppe, Hans-Hermann. Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2001. USA. 74. Print.



Duckserto forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Duckserto forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Duckserto forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by GeekiTheGreat 3 years ago
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Well that was a terrible debate..