Rhetoric and Economics in the Estate Tax Debate
William G. Gale
Joel B. Slemrod
University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
May 22, 2001
In this paper, we evaluate and critique ten principal claims made in recent debates on the estate tax, distinguishing five types of statements: facts, rhetoric, value judgments, economic reasoning, and informed speculation. Economics cannot fully resolve policy debats because economic knowledge is inconclusive and because value judgments help determine optimal policy choices. Nevertheless, economic analysis can contribute substantially to informing these debates, and we show that many of the claims on both sides are incorrect or incomplete, given what is known.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 31
Keywords: Estate tax, tax policy
JEL Classification: H2working papers series
Date posted: June 5, 2001
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