Stand with Paul Ryan!

Paul Ryan is right: work builds self-esteem; idleness is a disgrace. Let’s hear it for the 100% estate tax!

I know many RBC readers dislike Paul Ryan, but when the man’s right, he’s right. The surest path to self-esteem is hard work, and people who have the opportunity to live on what other people have earned too often develop into lazy, worthless slobs.

That’s why I’m proud to support Ryan’s call for a 100% estate tax. How else can we teach teach the virtue of self-reliance to the idle sons of riches?

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

10 thoughts on “Stand with Paul Ryan!”

  1. It seems to me that self-esteem *ought* to come from good behavior towards others, of which hard work is a subset, depending on the nature of the work. Not to quibble or anything.

    Where it actually comes from, I'm not sure I know.

  2. Awesome.

    In all seriousness, though, I'd be okay with a super-high/confiscatory estate tax on all estates above, say, $5 million. Not only might it encourage people to donate their wealth to causes, but if you can't make it on $7 million of inherited wealth, you just aren't going to be rich short of free-loading off of a trust your whole life.

  3. Let me add that Ryan should immediately sign on to an increase in the minimum wage, which would lift 900,000 people out of poverty, and an enhanced EITC to assure that anyone who works full time is above the poverty threshold. And how about a jobs program to fix our crumbling infrastructure to provide work for the 500,000 the CBO fears might lose their jobs if the minimum wage goes up? What could possibly be wrong with that? Since allowing millionaires and billionaires to keep their money makes them work harder, why not apply the same logic to the poor? Instead of punishing the poor for working at low-wage, dangerous jobs, reward them for it.

  4. Taxing all transfers to offspring during life at the parent’s marginal rate would be good as well. So much for saving for your kids’ education…

  5. Say, for an example, I own a thousand acres of forest. If I can't conserve it by passing it on to my heirs, I might as well clear-cut it and enjoy the money while I'm alive. Or sell it to someone else who may have little reason to conserve it.

    1. That's one reason why nobody – not even the Left Front French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, whose platform included a 100% income tax rate over €360,000 a year – actually proposes a 100% estate tax.

  6. This really ought to be on the table. A successful person ought to be able to live in comfort, get her children through college without a penny of debt, help them out with gifts that ensure that they can do anything (but can't do nothing), and dispense whatever she's unable to spend toward whatever charitable legacy suits her. That's a pretty great deal. There's no reason, though, that she ought to be able to ensure that her great-great-grandchildren never have to work a day in their lives. That's an aristocracy, in practice if not in name, and it's toxic.

  7. As Timothy Egan points out in today's NYTimes, Paul Ryan's ancestors fled Ireland to escape the consequences of precisely his attitudes about how assistance to the starving fosters dependency: that was the precise rhetoric of the English during the potato famine. And Happy St. Pat's to all.

  8. MK wrote: That’s why I’m proud to support Ryan’s call for a 100% estate tax.

    I did not find that language in the article. Is this snark?

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