I just happened to see this on our media roundup email this morning, a letter in The Australian about the Green’s policy of seeking reintroduction of Death Duties:
AS the parent of two sons whom I love dearly, I can tell Judith Brown (Letters, 4-5/9) why I voted Green and why I support the reintroduction of death duties. I believe that we all should make our own way in the world and not expect anything for nothing – and that includes an inheritance.
Handouts like this are an insult to those who receive them. It’s much better to spend one’s money whilst alive supporting worthwhile causes and I hope that the government can utilise anything I have left when I die on the environment and meeting social needs.
Trevor Caldwell, Eagle Point, Vic
I don’t know about you, but I find that a very strange attitude. When parents pass on an inheritance to their children, it is not a “handout”. It seems to me to be a very individualistic attitude towards one’s wealth. What belongs to me belongs to my children; while I am alive I manage it, but when I die (or before if I choose), it passes into their hands. This is more literally a “hand down” than a “handout”. Of course I have full freedom while I’m alive to use this wealth in a way that seems best for my family and of course the society as a whole, and if I choose to use it (for instance) to serve “the environment and meeting social needs”, then I am free to do that as well – but not at the expense of my children’s welfare. To suggest that in any way I should trust some nameless bureaucracy to do “what is best” with the wealth that belongs to my household when I die just seems ludicrous.
I can usually see some rationale in the expression of most points of view, even those with which I violently disagree. It is rare that I come across an expression of ideas which are simply beyond my comprehension, but this is certainly such a case. What do you think?