≡ Menu

Milton Friedman on Confiscatory Inheritance Taxation

In this four-plus-minute-long video (from sometime in the 1970s), the great and wise and (truly) liberal Milton Friedman discusses the perverse incentives created by confiscatory inheritance taxation.  Watch it at least twice; it’s message runs much deeper than you might think upon a first viewing.

(HT Addie Bendory)

Over at Facebook I saw someone comment on my “I, Too, Have a Dream” post – a post that Steve Horwitz kindly posted on his Facebook page – that “If you want to eliminate affirmative action programs, it would make sense to have a 100% inheritance tax in order to make the playing field more level.”  (It was, I think, in response to this comment that Addie posted the above video of Friedman.)

There are too many errors with this comment for me to get into now.  (I’m currently preparing to meet this evening, for the first time, my Fall 2013 ECON 385 class – “International Economic Policy.”)  But I can’t resist pointing out that one unstated but real premise of the comment is clearly mistaken, namely, that society in general, and the economy in particular, has a fixed number of ‘good’ positions to go around and, therefore, each of us competes to occupy these fixed-in-number ‘good’ positions.