The ';Man Bites Dog' story of over 1,000 high net-worth individuals who rose up to protest the repeal of the estate tax made headlines everywhere last year. Central to the organization of what Newsweek tagged the ';billionaire backlash' were two visionaries: Bill Gates, Sr., cochair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the largest foundation on earth, and Chuck Collins, cofounder of United for a Fair Economy and Responsible Wealth, and the great-grandson of meat packer Oscar Mayer who gave away his substantial inheritance at the age of twenty-six.Gates and Collins argue that individual wealth is a product not only of hard work and smart choices but of the society that provides the fertile soil for success. They don';t subscribe to the ';Great Man' theory of wealth creation but contend that society';s investments, such as economic development, education, health care, and property rights protection, all contribute to any individual';s good fortune. With the repeal proposed by the Bush administration, we might be facing the future that Teddy Roosevelt fearedwhere huge fortunes amassed and untaxed would evolve into a dangerous and permanent aristocracy. Repeal would drop federal revenues $294 billion in the first 10 years; 27 some $750 billion would be lost in the second decade, not to mention that the U.S. Treasury estimates that charitable contributions would drop by $6 billion a year.But what about all those modest families that would lose the farm? Gates and Collins expose the fallacy of this argument, pointing out that this is largely a myth and that the very same lobbies and politicians who are crying ';cows' have opposed other legislation that would actually have helped small farmers. Weaving in personal narratives, history, and plenty of solid economic sense, Gates and Collins make a sound and compelling case for tax reform, not repeal.
Wealth and Our Commonwealth
Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes
Education & Reference