Rhetoric and Economics in the Estate Tax Debate

31 Pages Posted: 5 Jun 2001

See all articles by William G. Gale

William G. Gale

Brookings Institution

Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: May 22, 2001

Abstract

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.

Keywords: Estate tax, tax policy

JEL Classification: H2

Suggested Citation

Gale, William G. and Slemrod, Joel B., Rhetoric and Economics in the Estate Tax Debate (May 22, 2001). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=272134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.272134

William G. Gale (Contact Author)

Brookings Institution ( email )

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Joel B. Slemrod

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

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