Taxed to Death

Whoopi Goldberg, on a recent edition of The View, got it right about the estate tax–although she might not agree with the wider implications of her own words. Criticizing the “death tax” on The View she said, “I don’t want to get taxed just because I died. I just don’t think it’s right.

If I give something to my kid, I already paid the tax. Why should I have to pay it again because I died?” Her co-host Joy Behar replied, “Only people with a lot of money say that.” To which Whoopi Goldberg shot back, “It doesn’t matter if you have or don’t have money. Once you paid your taxes, it should be a done deal. You shouldn’t have to pay twice.”

The implication of Goldberg’s remarks is plain: Your rights don’t end simply because you are rich. Behar denigrated Goldberg’s comments because she’s “rich,” implying that the inherent injustice of being taxed twice for something doesn’t apply if you’re wealthy. Goldberg all but explicitly rejected this claim.

I don’t follow Goldberg’s politics closely, but my guess is that she’s a pretty ferociously liberal Democrat, making her comments all the more surprising. Whether she knows it or not, she defended the equal rights of all individuals to their private wealth. Making over a certain income does not mean the beginning of the end of your individual rights.