A la Mark Twain, there's only one thing I can't resist, and that's temptation. With the brief (yet brilliant!) post below, Varones has lured me out of seclusion and back into the ring of witty discourse. To this he lends his half a wit, and I my own.
From the link: "What is fair, for example, about telling someone that he will be unable to distribute his hard-earned money, which has already been taxed once, to his heirs as he sees fit?"
The answer, dear friends, is that he is in fact less able to distribute his hard-earned money during his life. The government (save small exemptions, spousal gifts, clever trust manipulations, etc.) taxes any transfer of wealth, whether it's spent or given away. That's how taxes work. To the extent that the rest of the tax code is fair, the "death tax" is more than fair!
If one compares the annual gift exemption to the current estate tax exemption (that is, several thousand dollars vs. millions of dollars), he'll find that the best way to distribute his wealth as he likes--given the current tax code--is to die. If anything, we might ask why a dead man should have more freedom under the tax code than does a live man.
Back to my cave.