Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The best argument against the estate tax ever

Ted Frank at Overlawyered (via Clicked), talking about how much Batman/Bruce Wayne would get sued for his exploits in the movie Batman Begins, contends:
Separately, Wayne's escapades would never have been possible in the first place if there had been an estate tax: otherwise, his wealth would've been dissipated by the government by two successive taxations on the Wayne Estate, one when his parents died, the other when Alfred declared him dead and inherited Bruce's assets.
When you tax the rich, their sons can't afford the appropriate lairs, vehicles, and gadgetry to effectively dispense vigilante justice. Is that the kind of America you want to live in?

Save the estate tax!

1 comment:

Thomas said...

Ted's argument is not, I think, entirely true. Even if his parents didn't incorporate Wayne Enterprises, retaining office and shares but not ownership, something tells me the Wayne family could have afforded the accountants and shelters necessary to cut their losses as much as possible. The company remained profitable anyway--why wouldn't Bruce and Alfred (a canny operator if ever there was one) be able to use their remaining chunk of fortune in order to regain lost ground (and then some).

More importantly, the lesson of Batman should never have been "He's got all the cool toys." Batman was never a hero because he was rich. He was a hero because he was bad-ass, a state he could have reached at any possible level of the economic ladder. See: Peter Parker.

If we're going to focus purely on the economic advantages of Bruce Wayne's vigilantism, and tie this into responsible donor activities, shouldn't we be asking about the crime rate his business might be fostering through exploitative practices on the working class? Were all those batarangs made with inexpensive, overseas sweatshop labor? Was the Batmobile union-built? Is it environmentally friendly?