Hi Dukie! This statement from joanie-f (already posted elsewhere -- hope you don't mind the reprise) nails the single most egregious thing about inheritance taxation in the above italics, IMHO. Yet hardly anybody ever questions this. Somehow or other, we are conditioned to believe that the idea of social engineering in the name of (somebody's strange idea of) "social justice" is just a dandy thing. At least, we don't bother to object.
But think about it!!! In the first place, what is the basis of the assumption that to run wealth through the hands of politicians serves "social justice" any better than to leave that wealth in private hands -- subject to private decision making and market forces? An heir could invest his inheritance profitably, creating economic opportunities for others beyond himself -- jobs. Or he could squander his inheritance altogether -- which has the same effect.
What I want to know is: Who really owns the inherited property? The decedent's estate? The heir? or the government? The surest test of title is who has the power of conversion of the underlying property. If the government -- federal or state -- can force the conversion -- i.e., the sale -- of property to satisfy a tax lien -- and can set the rate of tax unilaterally, and impose it unequally -- then doesn't the government effectively own it? I mean, they might let you keep a bit of what you thought was yours. Well isn't that nice.
Then you've got to wonder -- where is the constitutional authority for the government to treat people differently? I thought we were a system of equal justice under law, not a system of equal results determined by a rule of men. The government has absolutely zero constitutional warrant/authority to be in the so-called "social justice" business, which necessarily involves discriminating among citizens and classifying them into groups, for the purpose of advantaging some and disadvantaging others. But the government cannot legitimately be in the business of picking winners and losers, and trying to deliver certain outcomes. It's in the "means business," not the "ends business."
Glad to encourage folks who see inheritance taxation as the nightmare it really is -- constitutionally, economically -- especially when they do it as well as you have done. Why a free people puts up with this sort of thing is beyond my understanding. All my best, bb.