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Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 4:20amSanction this postReply
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Hello Objectivists All!
 
I follow Luke Setzer's Hydrino Study Group discussions, with limited scientific knowledge, because I do not like Standard Quantum Mechanics, the standard model of the electron or the Big Bang singularity - amongst other things.  I do like Lee Smolin's "The Life of the Cosmos" - amongst other things.  In the course of an email exchange, I mentioned to him Universal Inheritance.  He has since mentioned it on the Ayn Rand versus TAS RoR thread. 
 
I have only briefly looked into Objectivism, which I had not heard of previously.  It seems to have something in common with my own humanism, rationalism, secularism and atheism.     However, Luke suggested that I post this first thread on the Dissent Forum..  I am sorry to learn from him that there is not amongst you Universal Assent to Universal Inheritance, but rather the opposite - the dissent that he promises.  I wonder why?  Rational self interest, perhaps?
 
I accept the comment (in the Ayn Rand versus TAS thread) of Barney Maggru about the amateur nature of the website www.universal-inheritance.org.  Moreover I have not changed it since I changed computers about a year ago, so it is somewhat out of date.
 
I have been banging on about the subject of "Inheritance for All" since the 1970's, ever since I twice very nearly became Liberal Member of Parliament for Newbury in 1974 (Conservative 24,000, Liberal 23,000, Labour 10,000) either side of my finals as a mature student at New College (founded 1379) Oxford reading Politics, Philosophy and Economics (having previously been in the Royal Navy and in banking).  Dennis Hardin's alarm and astonishment will no doubt be increased by my telling him that my reason for obtaining the degree was my youthful ambition  to be Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer.  Fortunately for his peace of mind, that has not occurred.
 
The Liberal Party has not formed a government at Westminster since the 1920s - under Lloyd George - but it has been a source of political ideas over the years, including the Income Welfare State.  It subsequently joined with the breakaway Social Democratic Party (splitting from the old Labour Party over the issue of nationalisation versus privatisation) to form the nowadays EU-fanatic Liberal Democrat Party which has quite a few seats in Parliament.   I left the EU-fanatic Liberal Democrats over the issue of the European Union, once the Iron Curtain had fallen and the European Economic Community had changed into the bureaucratic, corrupt and overweening European Union, with its Common Agricultural Policy and Common Fisheries Policy so unsuitable for the UK. 
 
 I then rejoined the original and continuing Liberal Party, which is nowadays EU-sceptic, opposed to the Euro, the EU Reform Treaty and the Common Agricultural Policy, but with at present no seats in Parliament.  Personally I would like the UK to leave full membership of the EU and join the European Economic Area, with Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein and, in due course, Turkey ( to solve a problem or two) together with any other European countries who would wish to do so. 
 
 I persuaded the original and continuing Liberal Party to adopt the Asset Welfare State proposal of British Universal Inheritance at its 120th Annual Liberal Party Assembly in 2005.
 
I realise that the USA is very different from the UK, but I am following your primaries with great very interest - torn between supporting Clinton or Obama, while greatly appreciating McCain.   I spent a few years working for an American bank in London and some time with them in Detroit.  I am half-Scottish Canadian (including a bit of Native North American Cree) and rather more pro America than many in the UK these days.  I was in favour of the Iraq invasion.  Had we had a Saddam Hussein tyrant ruling us in the UK, I would have begged the USA to come and bomb us - and necessarily undoubtedly kill some of us in the process - in order to bring back democracy and freedom of speech and thought.  Just as you helped us to defeat Hitler, thank you very much, although I often wonder how things would have turned out if the Japanese had not bombed Pearl Harbour when they did. 
 
 My own father, Commander J. Campbell Clouston, Royal Navy, was killed in 1940 after nine days in charge of the Dunkirk Mole for the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force.  The Campaign for Universal Inheritance is in some sense a memorial to him.  I have been lucky in that there was some capital in my family, but my thoughts on the redistribution of inheritance have been influenced by the thought of  those who are orphans and others with no inherited capital at all, through no fault of their own. 
 
I yesterday sent a letter out to newspapers in the UK, following comments from a prosperous UK celebrity, Nigella Lawson, that she would leave no inheritance to her children.  I have not heard whether or not she has already given them an expensive private education (I imagine she has) or lifetime gifts of capital to start them off in any way, which would make a bit of a difference to the import of her remarks. 
 
Anyway, after a lengthy and self-indulgent introduction, here is the letter, saying that the idea of Universal Inheritance - whether USA Universal Inheritance or British Universal Inheritane - is that
 
 
 
"Too much or too little inheritance is bad for anyone
 
 In a capitalist democracy, whether liberal or conservative, too much or too little in the way of lifetime capital gifts or inheritance is bad for anyone.  Everyone, not just the few, should have some capital that they themselves have done nothing whatsoever to create, earn, save or make.  If anyone deserves an inheritance, everyone deserves an inheritance.
 
Average wealth of every adult and child in the UK was £85,000 at the end of 2002, according to the Office for National Statistics It may be about £90,000 now.  All British-born UK citizens should receive at 25 the same basic minimum after-tax inheritance of ten per cent of average wealth - a British Universal Inheritance payment of, say, £10,000 less 10 per cent tax - to be broadly financed by reforming the British exemption-ridden 40 per cent 'Inheritance' Tax into a 10 per cent flat tax on the luxury expenditure of giving and bequeathing and introducing a progressive lifetime Capital Receipts Tax on receiving, starting at 10 per cent.  Tax paid on giving would be deductible from tax due on receiving.  (Unlike the recently introduced and serially flawed Baby Bonds, the amount would be payable to young adults from now on, not in 18 years' time, be independent of parental means or generosity and means-tested by lifetime receipts of capital rather than parental income at the time of birth.)
 
Who, when asked whether anyone they know should receive an after-tax £9,000 coming to them at 25, would say that they should be denied it?  British Universal Inheritance would represent a transfer from rich areas of the country to poor areas in each new generation.  It would enable and encourage bank accounts, enterprise, higher education, home ownership and opportunity for all.  Such an Asset Welfare State measure would help reduce alienation, crime and policing costs, financial and social exclusion, poverty and Income Welfare State needism.   At this dangerous time of increasing inequality and terrorism, it would encourage a stronger sense of national community and identity.  It became the policy of the nowadays EU-sceptic original and continuing Liberal Party (not the EU-fanatic LibDems) in 2005.  It is a meritocratic, popular capitalist, progressive nationalist proposal, comparable with the Thatcherite sale of council houses, which deserves wider discussion in other political parties."
 
 
 
Contrary to Luke Setzer's suggestion, I do not "frown on 'unearned wealth' through normal inheritance yet advocate 'unearned wealth' through state redistribution".  As you can see from the above, I am in favour of all having some of such "unearned wealth".  I would, incidentally, be interested to know an up to date figure for the average wealth of every adult and child in the USA - and am having difficulty in obtaining the latest figure for the UK.
 
In response to Dennis Hardin, I see Universal Inheritance as meritocratic in the sense that in each new generation it helps to bring about greater equality of opportunity than would otherwise be the case.  Ayn Rand, I see, is keen on laisser-faire capitalism.  Before the Iron Curtain fell, I always saw universal inheritance as a third way between communism and capitalism - popular capitalism with a wider spread of the private ownership of wealth inter-generationally and more freedom intra-generationally.
 
Incidentally, I discovered in 2000 that my idea was not original, but was first suggested by Thomas Paine in 1797.  When the Fabian Society came out with much the same idea as "A Capital Idea" - subsequently supressed by the New Labour government - the authors pointed out that Thomas Paine had first suggested in "Agrarian Justice" in that year that all 18 year old's should receive £15, financed by a ten per cent tax on all inheritance.  I do, however, lay claim to having invented the term, in this context, of Universal Inheritance and British Universal Inheritance - not to mention USA Universal Inheritance - relating it to Universal Suffrage, as a basic right in a captalist democracy.   Prevous Google entries referred only to the Universal Inheritance of Sin, an idea about which I am - as I imagine objectivists are too - less keen.
 
I understand from Luke Setzer that posting on this site is a bit like entering the Lions' Den.  So be it.  Here is the idea - a judicious redistribution more widely of the private ownership of gifted and inherited capital in each new generation - for you to tear to shreds in Popper's Third World of Ideas.   My aim is not only to persuade another UK political party to adopt British Universal Inheritance as policy but also to encourage the formation of a Campaign for USA Universal Inheritance.  Be warned!
 
I hope to be brief, after this first post.
 
Best wishes to all
 
Dane Clouston
Director, OPPORTUNITY - The Campaign for British
Universal Inheritance
Director, The Campaign for Universal Inheritance
www.universal-inheritance.org
PO Box 1148  Oxford  OX44 7AT  UK




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Post 1

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 4:54amSanction this postReply
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You advocate universal theft and universal loot? Shame on you.

Bob Kolker




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Post 2

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 5:19amSanction this postReply
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Dane, I appreciate your willingness to enter the lion's den.  In fairness to you, I refer you to this link:

http://www.aynrand.org/site/PageServer?pagename=objectivism_intro

It gives an overview of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, the name of which derives from the objectivity of concepts, propositions, and values.  Browse that site to locate a recommended reading list of her works.

I also strongly encourage you to visit http://www.capitalism.net to download the free 1100 page textbook Capitalism by George Reisman.  He addresses inheritance in detail and explains why inheritance taxes bring harm to people.  From page 307:

The inheritance tax, especially on large inheritances, where it is often confiscatory, is practically a pure tax on capital. To the extent it exists and is actually carried out—that is, to the extent the so-called loopholes are closed, so that the tax cannot be avoided—the long-run effect is to reduce the accumulation of capital by reducing the building of estates in the first place. It is pointless for people to accumulate fortunes, intended to be bequeathed to heirs, which, upon their death, the government confiscates and prevents from reaching the heirs.  The effect of confiscatory inheritance taxes is to cause the builders of estates to consume their income more heavily and not to bother earning part of the income they might otherwise be capable of earning at any given time.  For their motivation both to save and to earn the income out of which saving can occur is reduced.

Inheritance taxes which are not so high as to prevent heirs from substantially benefitting from the accumulation of estates do not deprive the builders of estates of the motive to earn and save. By the same token, they do not achieve the egalitarian objectives of the supporters of the inheritance tax. Nevertheless, even these more modest inheritance taxes reduce capital accumulation to the extent that they are paid with funds that otherwise would have remained invested. Any inheritance tax whatever reduces capital to the extent that it is paid with funds that otherwise would have remained invested.

I really think you need to take a look at this book before continuing this thread.




Post 3

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 5:59amSanction this postReply
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Bob Kolker,
 
In your opinion, legally introduced USA Universal Inheritance - or British Universal Inheritance - would be universal theft and universal loot? 
 
What taxation, in your opinion, is not theft and loot?




Post 4

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 6:56amSanction this postReply
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Taxation is theft.

Sometimes it is a necessary evil as in maintaining a police force, armed services and law courts. In any other connection, taxation is wretched excess.

Bob Kolker




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Post 5

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 7:06amSanction this postReply
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Dane, just to be clear, Objectivism views the role of government as a defender of negative rights, i.e. defending individuals against the force and fraud of others.  What you advocate in contrast is a positive right, i.e.the right to gain a material value outside of normal market production and trade.  At a deeper level, Objectivism sees each individual ethically as an end in himself, not as the means to the ends of others.  Hence, the regulars here see your idea as immoral.  Taxes in an Objectivist society amount to user fees to pay the government -- a proper monopoly on the use of force -- to defend them from foreign invaders, domestic attackers, and fraudulent contracts.  See the aforementioned links for more.



Post 6

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 9:34amSanction this postReply
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It sounds better than a welfare state, at least, but you use so many UK specific terms I am not sure I understand it.  I also want to say that I doubt it would interest me, because I think eliminating most government and all or most taxes would create far more universal wealth - but I will bite - Some questions:

1)  Would there be an income tax?
2)  What % rate would inheritence be taxed - was it only 10%?  What if I receive a property worth a lot of money, but cannot pay a lump sum fee of 10%, am I forced to sell it then I suppose?
3)  Who gets the free money at 25, must you have been born in the UK or would it be anyone who lives there?  Maybe living there 25 years would be better.

what does this mean?  can you translate?
Tax into a 10 per cent flat tax on the luxury expenditure of giving and bequeathing and introducing a progressive lifetime Capital Receipts Tax on receiving, starting at 10 per cent. 
 
 




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Post 7

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 7:06amSanction this postReply
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 Luke, Many thanks.  I have looked at the link and I will be interested to look at the book you suggest at some stage, thanks, but in the meantime will respond without the benefit of having done so.
 
"The long run effect of inheritance tax is to reduce the accumulation of capital by reducing the building of estates in the first place". 
 
 That is only true to the extent that the motive for building estates in the first place is a dynastic one. 
 
"It is pointless for people to accumulate fortunes, intended to be bequeathed to heirs, which, upon their death, the government confiscates and prevents from reaching the heirs".
 
If the fortunes were accumulated with the intention of bequeathing them to heirs, it would indeed, rather circularly, be pointless to accumulate those fortunes if they were prevented from reaching the heirs.  However, the dynastic motive is not the only motive for accumulating fortunes.  Those without children also accumulate.
 
"The effect of confiscatory inheritance taxes is to cause the builders of estates to consume their income more heavily and not to bother earning part of the income they might otherwise be capable of earning at any given time.  For their motivation both to save and to earn the income out of which the income out of which saving can occur is reduced."
 
How high a rate of tax on giving is confiscatory?
 
"Inheritance taxes which are not so high as to prevent heirs from substantially benefitting from the accumulation of estates do not deprive the builders of estates of the motive to earn and save.  By the same token they do not achieve the egalitarian objective of the supporters of the inheritance tax". 
 
The objective of British or USA Universal Inheritance is to bring about greater equality of opportunity.  The Bequests and Gifts tax on the luxury expenditure of bequeathing and giving is a flat 10 per cent - hardly confiscatory.  The Capital Receipts Tax on receiving is progressive, starting at 10 per cent, with transferable tax credits between the two.  If collection costs are ignored, a British or USA Universal Inheritance scheme to give every young adult at 25 an amount equal to the average wealth of every adult and child in the country would be self-financing at a flat 10 per cent.  It would not take much in the way of a higher progressive rate of tax to cover collection costs or the vagaries (spelling?) of distribution curves. 
 
Once the scheme had been understood and introduced, and then understood more widely, there would be democratic debate about the amount and the progressive rates, at which stage the arguments about what was or was not confiscatory would be heard.
 
" Nevertheless, even these more modest inheritance taxes reduce capital accumulation to the extent that they are paid with funds that otherwise would have remained invested.  Any inheritance tax whatever reduces capital to the extent that it is paid with funds that otherwise would have remained invested."
 
Not all inherited capital goes from being invested to not being invested.  To the extent that ordinarily inherited capital - or British or USA Universal Inheritance - is spent on current expenditure rather than being invested in a business, education or housing, potential human or non-human capital is reduced at that point.  But the money not invested will be circulated into businesses and around the economy, assisting in the creation of more capital.  And there are counteracting advantages to all as citizens of a country from reducing inequality of opportunity and so inequality of outcomes.
 
Like so many other questions, it is a question of balance rather than of all or nothing.
 
 




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Post 8

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 8:14amSanction this postReply
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Bob, I thought that was your view.  It makes me laugh!

Luke,
 
So if someone has accumulated a great fortune by fraud or theft, their heirs have every right to start off with a great fortune while others have no right to start off with anything at all?
 
What a spendid defence of the haves against the have-nots!  Is that the sole purpose of the State?
 
My view that there should be greater equality of OPPORTUNITY in education, health and the inheritance of wealth is clearly immoral by your philosophy.  You have every right to hold that opinion, as I have mine, but I do think it is rather odd, not to say rude!  I have heard of such views, and it is interesting to come across them in this way.  It sounds like a philosophy of gated communities with shot guns at the ready.
 
It makes me wonder what is the standard of the education and health care available to those at the bottom of the pile in the USA when educated, intelligent and presumably prosperous people are opposed to the State giving any positive rights to other people.  Wow!  It all brings New Orleans to mind. 
 
Perhaps you might like to consider the immoral but practical advantages of British - or USA - Universal Inheritance in the last paragraph of my letter.  Perhaps what is immoral to you Objectivists might even be good for your own rational self-interest.




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Post 9

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 12:39pmSanction this postReply
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Dane: It's difficult to be civil when talking about the concept of a "Universal Inheritance" because it is an assault on my sensitivities at every level, but I'll try.

Luke's post #5 outlines the fundamental objection, but have you even bothered to consider how the population would alter their behavior if the Universal Inheritance would come into being? Firstly, senior citizens who have accumulated some assets would try to beat the system by whatever means available — transferring assets offshore, retiring in a foreign country, gambling, spending on things that will give them pleasure of the moment, secretly making gifts to their children. The imagination is inadequate to list all the devices that could be used. The revenue that this "Inheritance" would be severely lower than what you would estimate. It would induce a subtle moral degradation by making seniors subversive and suspicious of any legitimate government activity as well as its depredations.

And that's only what the seniors would do. The 19-25 year-olds would now have the attitude that they really didn't have to scrimp and save for their education or lay a financial base for their future— it'd be much easier to take out a loan on the guaranteed windfall and live like a king. So much for instilling prudence and personal responsibility in young people.

It's unfortunate to have to resort to the pragmatic aspects rather than the fundamentals but it seems that you just don't "get" the fundamentals.

And so much for civility — you don't have a brain in your F***ing head.

Sam




Post 10

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 12:53pmSanction this postReply
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Dane: I just missed your last reply.

You don't seem to have any handle on how real people behave, and what their motivation is.

I'm 74 years old, not wealthy but I have two children that I'd like to leave whatever I have. I have a health problem that will probably do me in, if not imminently, in the not too distant future. You will have to believe me that I would move to a foreign country and shelter my assets in any way open to me in order to circumvent this monstrosity you call a Universal Inheritance. In my (vast) experience this is the way any of my acquaintances would behave, also.

Sam




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Post 11

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 1:15pmSanction this postReply
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Dane,

The moral issue here is whether folks are allowed to create wealth all of their lives and be able to pass it on to chosen others when they die. It's a private property issue.

The economic issue here is whether a central power taking inheritence taxes out of already-invested money increases net wealth in the market or not. It's an accounting issue.

Your answer to the first question is: no. Folks shouldn't be allowed to pass on created wealth with any kind of discrimination. The reason that this is your answer is because of a so-called unearned disparity of wealth in the population. You take the beneficiary as the moral agent, not the producer of wealth. The beneficiary didn't create the wealth you say, so it should be shared among us all. But this is flawed thought.

For the same economical reason that we let producers keep their profits (because they produce more value in society; the more profit that we let them keep), there's an economic heuristic to follow to also let them pick who it is that ought to get their inheritence. It's just allowing an extension of personal choice to those persons who were so good at producing so much value. This is akin to the wisdom of following a map drawn-up by a master jungle guide -- even after the jungle guide is dead (because he was the one that knew best what to do).

In the moral sense, taking control over another's produced wealth -- even if meant to relieve "economic disparities" -- is wrong. It's wrong because Human Rights and Property Rights aren't in any conflict. For a little more on this, see these short entries in the Ayn Rand Lexicon online. 

Ed




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Post 12

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 1:44pmSanction this postReply
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Dane hardly deserves a reply, but since Sam Erica spoke, I'll add something that he didn't state that should hardly need to be said:

Dane, it isn't your money to decide what to do with.

Even if you get some proxies to do it for you, you still have no right to dictate how others should allocate their property after they die. Even if you could show, which you can't, that the net result economically would be positive for the overwhelming majority -- 'society' -- it would still be an evil policy.

You should be ashamed for even suggesting it.
(Edited by Jeff Perren on 2/05, 1:45pm)




Post 13

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 1:57pmSanction this postReply
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yep - looking further, I clearly disagree with your premises as well as on what you feel the outcome would be.  The term immoral used by Objectivists relate directly to what happens to you, an actual person, as opposed to some vague, societal "good" that never seems to actually come to be.  This is just a variation on current social programs and would not change the fact that you are confiscating money from people after they die, and interfering as a third party who has no right to that money whatsoever.

There are countless instances of people going from rags to riches, and visa versa.  None of the results justify one person, or group of persons (which is what government is), seizing property from one man to give to another, period.  Nor would any of this require a "gated community with shotguns at the ready" but instead it would create immense wealth for all people, as well as opportunity.  What would not be rewarded would be sloth, incompetence, excuses, irresponsibility, bad behavior, and corruption - corruption that is inherent in all such schemes.

Read Atlas Shrugged.




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Post 14

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 2:20pmSanction this postReply
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Hi Ed,

Sanction! I'm sanctioning you for truely being the "Director of Outreach." Whilst many of us get tired of arguing the same thing over and over again, you have done it here with clarity and assumed benevolence!

E.

EDIT: Fix typo "hear" replaced with "here"

(Edited by Ethan Dawe on 2/06, 1:22pm)




Post 15

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 2:19pmSanction this postReply
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Kurt,
 
Universal Inheritance is a matter of redistributing wealth at the point of transfer from each generation to the next.  It is concerned with the stock, or lake, of capital, not with the flow, or stream of intra-generational income and expenditure. 
 
1)   There is an income tax at present.  Universal Inheritance would not change that.
 
2)    Giving and bequeathing would be taxed at 10 %.  This would be a recording and withholding tax paid by donors and bequeathers.  You would receive 10 per cent of average wealth at 25, pay tax on that at 10 per cent and then pay Capital Receipts Tax on any further receipts after that, initially at 10 per cent.  Effectively a net tax-free allowance for receipts up to the average wealth (£90,000 in the UK).  Above that, you would continue to pay 10 per cent until your lifetime total rose into the next progressive tax bracket.  Any tax paid by donors would be deducted from the Capital Receipts Tax payable by you, so you would have no more tax to pay while in the 10 per cent bracket.  Above that, you would pay the higher progressive rate - set according to political taste and democratic debate - less the 10 per cent already paid by donors.  Yes, you would be forced to sell or borrow and earn back, if you had no liquid assets with which to pay the tax.  Transfers between partners, spouses and cohabiting siblings would be exempt..  The scheme would work at a flat 10 per cent Capital Receipts Tax, but you would need a higher rate bracket to cover collection costs or a higher amount than 10 per cent of average wealth.
 
3)    To get the British Universal Inheritance you would have to have been born a UK citizen and still be a UK citizen at the age of 25.  It is an inheritance from the past.
 
The meaning of "to be broadly financed by reforming the British exemption-ridden 40 per cent British 'Inheritance' Tax into a 10 per cent flat tax on the luxury expenditure of giving and bequeathing and introducing a progressive lifetime Capital Receipts Tax on receiving, starting at 10 per cent"?  This means two taxes, one on giving and one on receiving, instead of the existing single so-called 'Inheritance' Tax which is actually a tax on bequeathing and giving rather than on inheriting or receiving.  There would be transferable tax credits between the two taxes.
 
The progressive rate Capital Receipts Tax would encourage the wider spread of giving and bequeathing to those who had not received as much as others already.




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Post 16

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 2:23pmSanction this postReply
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Dane and his ilk should be left free to help the poor all they wish through any voluntary means they can persuade others to provide them. He and those like him are not entitled to help the poor by robbing the rich, much as they may feel Robin Hoodish in doing so.

Help the poor all you want, but don't help them rise by forcing me or anyone else to bend over to provide them a step up. Doing so on top of my dead body is the height of ghoulishness.

There are few ideas in the history of man so grotesque as that of a government charity; it encapsulates the premise that I am my brother's keeper and if I disagree I am to be forced to be anyway. This is naked evil, however prettily it's dressed up in the banal language of accounting.
(Edited by Jeff Perren on 2/05, 2:26pm)




Post 17

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 2:55pmSanction this postReply
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Dane, as I warned you, the lions have attacked -- and quite justly, in my view.

I just want to add that Sam's Post 9 explains an objection that should ring true even within your own current framework.  I have seen this happen here in Florida with hurricane insurance payouts.  Roofers were so overwhelmed that they took up to a year to repair roofs.  People would file claims to get thousands of dollars to fix their houses, then squander the money on vacations or other nonsense and end with blue tarps still on their roofs instead of shingles.  Some people just do not seem to understand how to handle any amount of money given to them.  Look at the disasters that befall some lottery winners.  These facts in themselves do not warrant abolishing insurance or lotteries, but they do show that a "bestowment" of large sums of cash does not guarantee the well-being of the recipients.

My point here is that your grand scheme would ultimately require total dictatorial control of every Great British Pound.  Your scheme would immediately show its flaws when, as Sam notes, some "heirs" would clearly not understand how to handle their money wisely.  "Enhancements" to the law would follow to "eduate" these "heirs" on how they "ought" to "invest" "their" "inheritance," followed finally by the government doing the "investing" for them in their names.

If you want to help poor people, repeal punitive taxes and let the capital flow to those most able to make the most of it.  This will generate such an abundance as to finance a plethora of voluntary charitable causes.  Think about it.




Post 18

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 3:40pmSanction this postReply
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Just look at the regulations proposed by Dane in his post #15. How many accountants and bureaucrats are you going to have to employ to keep track of all this blatant nonsense? And then there'll be the lawsuits and court costs and fraud detection and prosecution — and loopholes everywhere. And then there's the hue and cry about how complicated and stressful life is nowadays!

As Jeff said:, "This is naked evil, however prettily it's dressed up in the banal language of accounting."

Sam





Post 19

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 - 3:58pmSanction this postReply
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Luke is correct about how people can squander money. In the early 1980s I worked on the birth and growth of the structured settlement unit in a life insurance company. Prior to then a property-casualty insurer settled all claims for personal injury or death with a lump sum payment. With the high interest rates at the time, the p-c insurer could settle a claim for a much larger nominal dollar amount, and often less cash, by structuring payments over several years. Sometimes the payments would even be for life, e.g. a permanently disabled person, or the widow(er) of a person killed in an accident. The deferral of payments in this manner helped to budget the money and the recipient could not squander it as easily. The p-c insurer would buy an annuity from a life insurer, who would assume obligation for the deferred payments. See here for more info if interested.

Several years later companies arose to convert the deferred payments of a structured settlement to an immediate lump sum cash payment (highly discounted, of course).  People who had gotten themselves into a financial bind, or who were lured by the gratification of a large sum of money immediately in lieu of the deferred payments, were ripe prospects for such companies. Here  is a webpage of one of them. Nowadays they even do TV ads.

(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 2/05, 4:00pm)




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