Theodore Roosevelt on the estate tax

by Ben Hoffman

Like many thoughtful Americans of his era, he believed the disproportionate accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few would make a mockery of our meritocracy and, ultimately, of our democracy. In 1910, he summed up those feelings. “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used,” Roosevelt said. “It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community…. The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and ā€¦ a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.”


3 Comments to “Theodore Roosevelt on the estate tax”

  1. Dirty rotten evil employers. How dare they use their money to create jobs and give to charity!
    Damn them.
    Much better to stimulate the economy with more unemployment (pelosi). She even said the Haiti Earthquake would cause an economic boom! šŸ™‚
    So let’s all sit on our ass and do nothing, we’ll be in Utopia by year’s end.

  2. Yeah, what could possibly go wrong if the government and others profit from your death?

  3. Well, they will.
    It’s call an Estate Tax. šŸ™‚

    But since unemployment stimulates the economy then more unemployment must therefore be a good thing.

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