President Bush campaigned on a platform calling for repeal of the federal estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer taxes, and, within his first month in office, introduced a bill that would accomplish that result. Whether or not these taxes are repealed this year, however, the debate over them will not immediately end. In the spirit of that on-going debate, I offer this essay considering the major arguments that have been made by advocates of repeal. Although I will focus mostly on those arguments in opposition to the existing system, I will begin with a brief description of the federal wealth transfer taxes, followed by an even more brief affirmative defense of these taxes. These preliminary sections are simply to set forth background facts, and a basic, prima facie case, so that the comments on the arguments for repeal will not reside in a complete vacuum.


Symposium: The Death of the Death Tax