Policy Documents

How the Death Tax Kills Small Businesses, Communities—and Civil Society

Patrick Fagan –
July 26, 2010

The death tax: What does it kill? Who does it affect? It affects hundreds of thousands of small-business owners across the country—as well as their employees and community residents who benefit from the senior and day care centers, playgrounds, charities, and learning centers that are built or supported by small-business owners. Like water and sunlight in an ecosystem, small businesses provide sustenance essential to building and preserving communi­ties. So high is the death tax that a large portion of heirs to small companies cannot afford to pay it after the business founder dies, and see themselves forced to sell to giant cor­porations—which have no personal ties to the communities of their new acquisitions, and thus no incentive to commit to local institutions. What does the death tax kill? The best of American life and civil society itself. The death tax is simply antithetical to the core of the American dream.