The death tax is a job killer. Heritage Foundation economists found that the federal levy leads to the loss of between 170,000 and 250,000 potential jobs each year. (It’s impossible to be more specific, simply because those jobs were never created in the first place. We certainly could use them now).
How does it kill jobs? Partly because it encourages wealthy Americans to spend their money today rather than invest it in growing a business. After all, we’re all going to die. What’s the point of building a bigger nest egg if Washington is just going to take a third of it, a half of it, or even more?
Because the estate tax discourages investment, it also holds down wage growth. Since businesses have less funding, they’re less able to purchase new tools and equipment. So workers are less productive and suffer slower wage and salary growth.
The death tax also hammers some Americans more than others, since it especially targets landowners. Millions of farmers, ranchers and homeowners have, like the Hancock family, improved their land. Yet when they die, the federal government punishes their heirs.
Death and taxes, they say, are both inevitable. But it’s not inevitable that one must lead to the other.
Americans are set to get a glimpse of life without the death tax next year. After that, Lawmakers should act to make sure this levy goes away. Completely and forever.