Institutions that value dissent and auatonomy foster productive equilibrium.

Monday, March 18, 2013

CPAC. Divest Now. Libertarian Resolution for Post Mortem Shuffle of Surplus Wealth

CPAC:  Divest Now. 
Posthumous Shuffle of Wealth Meets Libertarian Goals.
Avoid interventions? Divest During Life.
Andrew Carnegie holds a seance for believers.


Libertarianism is becoming a serious focus of politics these days. Anxious to be seen as relevant, CPAC unanimously passed a Resolution for Post Mortem Shuffle of Estates (PMS) as a nod to libertarianism for one's lifetime; and in a session where journalists were uninvited.  Anonymous news sources with videos in the potted plants learned that this PMS Resolution was designed to meet the requirement of Rand Paul to repeal income taxes, See http://www.kentucky.com/2010/10/12/1476633/rand-paul-would-replace-income.html, while also meeting such minimal common good goals as are needed for elections. The government shall be charged with creating its budget as usual, and costs then made available to the public who then may claim and pay for such items with which they agree.  Name a Missile, for example. Any items left unclaimed by the living Moguls shall be included in areas in which the government may invest through procedures of collecting surplus estates as set forth herein and wherever located.  Any still remaining shall be paid for as the Congress deems appropriate, including sales taxes and absentee-account taxes.

Will the private sector respond to such an arrangement that would deflect bequests, but enable freer in vivo transfers, by indeed financing public works now, even if for glory or naming rights doing it?  So far, yes.  See a little to begin with, rating for US infrastructure up to D+ from D (whoopee), but a start: see http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/19/us/engineers-report-small-gains-in-nations-infrastructure.html. 


 In summary, by this plan, one may be libertarian in life, but on death, any property remaining in the decedent's power to dispose, after providing for basic beneficiaries' maintenance and educational needs, for their lifes, shall escheat, or close to it.

The recourse for the true libertarian is, of course, to dispose of wealth during life, so the state cannot enter the sanctum. A Mogul favoring defense would distribute to that cause in life, for example. The state retains the right to seek further revenues if the libertarian approach fails. On a cultural level, why not give those businesses that pay $22 minimum wage/hour, thus reducing societal need for food stamps, etc., get tax-free (or almost) income? That by way of update, Elizabeth Warren idea to give everyone who works 40 hours a week a living wage, see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/elizabeth-warren-minimum-wage_n_2900984.html/

This nod to libertarianism would be accomplished by a shuffling of wealth that would only occur after death, and gives the decedent had full power to decide where it went during his life, and without income tax.
  •  This was seen as a more acceptable means than a sales tax to meet at least some national interest goals, as it was agreed that some such goals should not come to a screeching halt. The reasoning:  It was agreed that a poverty-stricken, ignorant, sick, caged population feeding on itself amid fallen bridges and potholes, is a drag on the views of moguls while passing from one delight to another.  Beatitudes belong in church, and should stay there, was the consensus of the group discussion preceding the vote.

According, the Resolution provides full libertarian freedom for all souls to decide where their wealth will go until their demise and without taxation on income.  

A.  The Gospel of Wealth, or the Carnegie Plan.

This late 19th Century idea needs updating, given life-extending technologies, but may provide the basis for a Grand Bargain in constipated areas of governance.
  • Any property remaining in the command or control of the decedent upon physical death (flatlining); or upon financial death (condition giving rise otherwise to a Power of Attorney) including nominally by terms set in advance by him including Power of Attorney or other contract or designation, that remain only to be implemented, any such unripened provisions shall become null and void until there is physical death, and the estate remaining shall remain in status quo ante until it escheats to the State. A Trustee in Financial Death shall be appointed by the State to administer the wealth as a fiduciary-prudent investor would.
  • Accordingly, physical or financial death shall triggers a suspension of all previously arranged implementation provisions regarding disposition of wealth. The state of physical death shall continue for one hour, during which period the sower may indeed resurrect, and accordingly toe bells on strings shall be applied.  The state of financial death shall continue until recovery, or physical death.
This escheat idea incentivizes distribution of estates before physical or financial death.  There shall be provisions for providing for competent care for beneficiaries:  immediate comfort and educational needs of family within two degrees of relationship for their lifetimes, and subject to the same conditions upon the death of such beneficiary .

The resolution for this escheat thus provides for an enlightened and venerable post-mortem application of estates.


The CPAC Resolution is clearly the result of competent research.  It hearkens back to The Gospel According to Andrew (Carnegie) in 1889, an essay entitled Wealth by Himself Andrew Carnegie, read it at http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/5767/ * and follow a link there to hear it, the man himself.

B.  Talking Points, Andrew Carnegie in Wealth:
The Sower Gets to Reap


1.  Wealth inequality is a natural result of naturally and human-fostered differences in talent for organization and management, circumstance, so let it be.  Once begun in accumulation, capital will soon take wings, and so be it. No point in paddling upstream on human nature or compounding value. And in some ways, there are benefits of the concentration and great scale of endeavor.  Profits are necessary for economic survival of the firm or corporation, or individual worth. And, it is also a law of nature, that accumulations may well surpass what is needed to be expended on the accumulator.  There be drones, and there be bees. There are sowers and there are reapers. He who don't sow, should not reap.  Equal rights to keep what you reap. There must also be opportunity, however, for even the lowest laborer to save and provide for the maintenance and educational needs of the family.

2.  With wealth in the few, and that promoting the best interests of all, and the basic maintenance and educational needs of all for their lifetimes met, what mode addresses administration of wealth after the death of the sower. Who reaps the surplus wealth?


There are three choices that apply to the sower, not mutually exclusive 

2.1  Leave the wad to the families

That has been the western culture usual, as in old entail, and serves the pride of the bequeathor. Family name goes on, and with this property (if values remain high). It is also injudicious, a misquided affection.  Inheritance turns too many potential doers into parasites and idlers, is that so, Carnegie asks in substance.  Common wisdom: The second generation may also be noble or talented, but rarely the third.

2.2  Bequeath it to public purposes

That is also a usual, but it encourages hoarding;  and why delay and not see the benefit of largesse until you are in the spirit world? Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, others, hear the idea and do much now, but not enough to jeopardize their own positions.

The real goals of the posthumous one also may not be realized -- bad management, mismanagement. Monuments to folly. It takes as much skill to administer what is left, as it too to attain it. There is no grace in a gift that is, probably, the only and grudging recourse after not being able to take it Above. Gifts after death to public purposes lack the blessing of a gift in life.

And hoards lead to taxation, condemning the "selfish millionaire's unworthy life."

2.3  Tax the hoard at death as defined, and to the ultimate extent of escheat.

This taxation would be in graduated form from a pittance from the lowly, enabling them to provide for their families, set a threshhold of say $5,000,000;  to a whopper from the Mogul, like an escheat at the top.  Or carve out the first $5,000,000 for everybody.

This would encourage the Mogul to dispense with the surplus estate during life, to people and causes as any libertarian may choose.

Failure to dispense with one's estate (is this Bloomberg's Choice?) leads to whatever is left being taxed so that it goes to the "privy coffers of the state."

This adds to the publicity given to the Mogul at death, a consummation devoutly to be wished. It in no way hinders the intense individualism of the accumulator, desire to accumulate, because a Mogul can do so to his heart's last beat.  In time, even that, if not otherwise used, will go to the state. If you don't like the state in your estate, dispense with it in a timely way.

C.  Discussion and Carnegie Hisself

"The surplus wealth of the few will become, in the best sense, the property of the many, because administered for the common good; and this wealth, passing through the hands of the few, can be made a much more potent force for the elevation of our race than if it had been distributed in small sums to the people themselves."

Anticipated are great sums to be spent for public purposes, as it is human to grasp even until the last days.  He who grasps too long escheats. Better to have that come in a lump, at the grasper's death, than in bits and pieces over years.

Everyone has some restrictions on opportunity, some narrowing of horizons.  Moguls, however, have a great boon: the power to organize benefactions or malefactions, and only the former derives lasting advantage and dignifies many lives.  Laboring for good of others, Biblical in a way, but fruits not given out month by month, pulled like teeth.

Admonition for the Mogul:  live modestly, without ostentation, provide for legitimate wants of those who are close enough to touch -- pay no attention to the Mogul and you lose.  Surplus revenues, including trust funds coming from others, administer wisely, dispense, knowing its ultimate use.  Make those use choices as an individual, not as a a corpse. Does this make the Mogul less an individual, a libertarian, than an agent and trustee for others?  No:  it offers a forum to exercise his wisdom and experience to directly affect productivity of all -- and that affects the accumulations of all. Teach the methods, foster the effort, assistance freely given in accident or sudden change, with strings if the giving will foster dependence. Seek genuine good, not just numbers.

Pay more attention to investing in the worthy and assume worthiness; rather than assuming unworthiness and giving less.

So: This solves issues of rich v. poor once the system gets going. The poor may bide a wee, but it will come. Leave alone the accumulation, the distribution until death.  The Mogul becomes like a trustee for his lifetime, invasion at will. With his skills and talent, presumably he could administer it better than the state. Will he have incentive to spend or distribute it here? If a Mogul wants to be remembered fondly, he will.  Any who do not withdraw shares from the great enterprises in which the engaged in life, in time, get no credit for what is left in the enterprise.  "He will pass away 'unwept, unhonored, and unsung,' no matter to what uses he leaves the dross which he cannot take with him. Of such as these the public verdict will then be: 'The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.' "

And Carnegie concludes:  "Such, in my opinion, is the true gospel concerning wealth, obedience to which is destined some day to solve the problem of the rich and the poor, and to bring 'Peace on earth, among men goodwill.' "
Unwept unhonored unsung.  Who wants to go like that?  Asks Buffett, Asked and Answered.
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 * Source: North American Review (June 1889). Reprinted in The Annals of America, vol. 11, 1884–1894 (Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1968), 222–226.See Also:Carnegie Speaks: A Recording of the Gospel of Wealth

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