Strengthening the Estate Tax to Strengthen the Country (Huffington Post)

December 18, 2009

Original publication:

Date of publication: December 17, 2009

"If [the estate tax is] abolished or weakened, there are only three ways to make up the resulting shortfall: cut spending, raise taxes on the middle class, or pile it on to the national debt and leave it to our children and grandchildren who will inherit the consequences of the decisions we make now. This [is] why I and thousands of other wealthy individuals have joined a campaign led by United for a Fair Economy to call on Congress to strengthen the estate tax.

[W]e must acknowledge that the person who accumulates wealth in this country was not able to do that independently. The simple fact of living in America, a country with stable markets and unparalleled opportunity fueled in part by government investment in technology and research (something my family has plenty of firsthand experience of), provide an irreplaceable foundation for success and have created a society which makes it possible for some men, women and their children to live an elegant life. [...]

I believe that those of us who have benefited so greatly from our country's investment in our lives should be asked to give a portion of our wealth back to invest in opportunities for the future.

Society has a just claim on our fortunes and that claim goes by the name 'estate tax.'"

Read the full op-ed by Bill Gates, Sr. on