FiveThirtyEight makes a good point:
4.) I’m surprised how unimportant estate and gift taxes are to the overall scheme of things. Even before the generous estate tax credit of the last few years (essentially exempting estates worth less than $3.5 million), estate and gift taxes are remarkably unimportant from a total revenues perspective. It’s obvious they serve another purpose such as the theoretical prevention of dynastic wealth transfer.
We spend an awful lot of time debating about the smallest parts of the budget. Instead of talking about medicare and social security, we debate foreign aid and the “Death tax”. Most Americans think Foreign Aid is our largest expenditure, but it doesn’t even warrant its own mention. Earmarks also get a lot of attention, but they are only about $20B out of a $3 trillion dollar budget.
We should be spending our time solving our big problems: Social Security, Medicare, Safety Net Programs, and Interest make up 60% of our spending. Controlling social security and medicare spending and then putting in place a plan to control our deficts and debt are the budgetary priorities we should focus in on and fix.