A quote from the abstract for a law review article titled Unseating Privilege: Rawls, Equality of Opportunity, and Wealth Transfer Taxation, by Jennifer Bird-Pollan of the University of Kentucky College of Law, to be published in the Wayne Law Review, Vol. 59 (I’m adding emphasis):
"Equality of opportunity requires not only ensuring that sufficient opportunities are available to the least well-off members of society but also that opportunities are not available to other members merely because of their wealth or other arbitrary advantages. Therefore, an income tax alone, even one with high rates on the wealthy, would be insufficient to achieve these goals."
Translation: opportunities available “merely because of…arbitrary advantages” must be eliminated. You mean, like the arbitrary advantages Randy Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and William “Refrigerator” Perry were born with? Aren’t their extraordinary physical gifts “arbitrary advantages?” Those physical gifts gave them opportunities not available to other members of society, and they became very wealthy as a result.
Continuing to quote from the same article (again with emphasis added):
"While revenue raised via the income tax should be used to provide additional opportunities to low-income members of society, wealth transfer taxes provide the additional safeguard of preventing the heirs of wealthy individuals from inheriting wealth that would provide them with additional, unwarranted and unjust, opportunities."
Translation: forget about saving money to make the lives of your grandchildren better by, say, making sure that they can go to college. You’re only providing them with “additional, unwarranted and unjust, opportunities.”
The purpose of taxes is not to provide “equality of opportunity.” The purpose of taxes is to fund necessary government services.
I found the quoted abstract through, once again, the indispensable TaxProf Blog.
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