The Guardian: Why not fund the welfare state with a 100% inheritance tax?

“The idea that we should be able to pass on our life’s accumulated wealth to descendants is deeply embedded. It appeals to the fundamental biological urge to protect your offspring and propagate your genes. Though only a small minority of estates are subject to inheritance tax in Britain as it currently stands, opinion polls consistently find that the majority of people oppose it. Instinct seems to override common sense. VAT falls disproportionately on people with low incomes, but it’s far less hated.

Understandable sensitivity around issues relating to death make it difficult to discuss, but it’s time this conventional wisdom was held up to proper scrutiny. Yes, the desire to pass on property to your descendants may be natural – but why should we be slaves to our biology? Social progress has frequently depended on our ability to transcend individualistic urges and work together for the common good.

In contemporary times, most people agree that tax should facilitate transfer of wealth from those who “have” to those who “need”.

…In the UK, official statistics suggest around £77bn is passed on in inheritance each year (tax avoidance means the real amount could be even higher). That’s money that no living being has a moral claim to, according to standard justifications of wealth inequality and private property… It could provide the kind of comprehensive welfare state that meant nobody had to worry about their family after they passed away – because there would always be a safety net.

…A 100% estate tax (perhaps with a small allowance for objects of sentimental value)…”

  • SDMatt

    In the UK, official statistics suggest around £77bn is passed on in inheritance each year (tax avoidance means the real amount could be even higher). That’s money that no living being has a moral claim to, according to standard justifications of wealth inequality and private property

    According to whom, the Moral Marxists at the Grauniad in their never-ending quest to steal the proceeds of other men’s and sweat, whether alive or dead?

  • Martin B

    “…but why should we be slaves to our biology?” Beats being slaves to some lunatic’s ideology.

    “In contemporary times, most people agree…” Speak for yourselves, Stalinist scum.

  • The Butterfly

    Socialists hate families.

    • Son of Durin

      And private property.

    • tom_billesley

      I’d say the next idea the left will come up with will be that if you have more than two children, they will be taken from you and given to a childless couple (of any gender combination) but you’ll have to continue to pay for their upkeep and education without visitation rights.

  • Alain

    Communism in all its glory; the communist rag has spoken.

    • Millie_Woods

      Why wait until they’re dead to take their stuff?

    • Watchman

      They must be looking for the UK equivalent of Pol Pot to bring in a British Year Zero, the original Pol Pot being dead since 1998.

  • tom_billesley

    The left’s magic money tree. Of course, the UK state has already decided to dip into any capital you have, to pay for care home costs, so there won’t be much in the way of an inheritance to tax unless you hurry up and die. The tax will of course enable the state to gather in money quickly when it offers voluntary euthanasia.

  • Blacksmith

    “In contemporary times, most people agree that tax should facilitate
    transfer of wealth from those who “have” to those who “need”.”
    Wrong dumbass, leftist believe this but normal people do not.

    • Watchman

      All of this The Guardian’s writer’s friends and associates believe this – it’s just those hateful Capitalists who believe in ‘private property’. “Come the Revoution, these people will be detained and re-educated or eliminated. Unlike every other time, this time Communism will be done right!”

  • Ed

    This is not a trivial problem. Compound interest is wonderful, and inevitably means wealth will increasingly migrate to smaller sums of people. A world with 5 Bezos like titans isn’t a particularly stable state of affairs…

    • Justin St.Denis

      Nor is a world with only one or two governments.

  • Hard Little Machine

    Why not gas one third of the population?

  • Tsquare

    I guess when the Queen dies the family fortune will be passed to those on the Dole…

  • Minicapt

    From Wiki:
    “… The Guardian is part of the Guardian Media Group, owned by The Scott Trust Limited. The Trust was created in 1936 “to secure the financial and editorial independence of The Guardian in perpetuity and to safeguard the journalistic freedom and liberal values of The Guardian free from commercial or political interference.” The Scott Trust became a limited company in 2008, with a constitution to maintain the same protections for The Guardian. Profits are reinvested in journalism rather than to the benefit of an owner or shareholders.”
    The Scott Trust was created after the death of CP Scott, the long-time owner of the Guardian.


    • Tooth&Claw

      So, they can do it, but they don’t want anyone else to. Hmmm. Interesting.

  • Justin St.Denis

    This is genuinely stupid. I mean, Grade 7 stupid! Not surprised to see this published in the contemporary MSM. The shoe fits………

  • Watchman

    And in one generation’s time, how are they going to fund their ongoing welfare bill once there are no inheritances left to seize? Seizing assets is a one time thing, welfare is a forever thing.

  • kkruger71

    “VAT falls disproportionately on people with low incomes”
    I know it looks like pretty much any random sentence can be pulled from this article and eviscerated, but this is one I see all the time (or similar). It’s just mathematically wrong. You make less, you spend less. You spend less, you pay less VAT. Their actual argument is that it adversely effects poor people disproportionately, but why let the actual facts stand on their own?

    • Watchman

      It’s all about “How To Lie With Statistics”†. Of course in actual money, the poor pay less VAT but they pay a greater proportionate of their income as VAT than the rich who are able to save more money that isn’t subjected to VAT. The rich, having paid less proportionately less of their income, are consequently considered freeloaders even though they have paid much more tax in absolute terms. The richest 1% in Britain pay more than 25% of the total British income tax.

      † A great introductory book on statistics, BTW.

  • Tooth&Claw

    Then why bust your hump to succeed if the government gets it all in the end? People are not stupid.

  • simus1

    Why doesn’t the guardian demand a surcharge on the BBC extortion tax to keep its own scrofulous self treading water while waiting for the marxist revolution that will permanently cure its ills ?

  • Shebel

    I am just doing my ‘will’.
    The last question is if you and your whole family die — ? ————————
    I still can’t answer that one.

  • felis gracilis

    Do these fools even understand how quickly that source would dry up if government were ever to try to implement this loony scheme? Between blowing their wealth while alive, gifting it and offshoring it, there would, in very short order, be nothing left for the Marxist vultures to carry off. And with very dire effects on the economy, and therefore other sources of government revenue too. Most folks who accumulate some wealth don’t do so by being stupid or acquiescing too readily to government cupidity in the name of “redistribution” or “human rights” or some other horse patooties conceived by loony Marxist journos.

  • Felix_Culpa

    It’s the parents’ responsibility to pass on wealth to their children! This proposed tax grab is yet another attempt at de-stabilizing the normal family, because the family is pretty much the only intermediate group still standing between the individual and the Allmighty State. (They’ve pretty much destroyed the Church, friendly societies, guilds, and other voluntary bodies).

  • J. C.

    This proves it’s now time for the mass slaughter of leftists worldwide…

    I have no kids, but I’ll f*cking burn everything I own before the government can take it and give it to a bunch of goddamn ragheaded welfare bums!