This article is the third in a series examining the continued relevance and philosophical legitimacy of the United States wealth transfer tax system from within a particular philosophical perspective. The article examines the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill and his philosophical progeny and distinguishes the philosophical approach of utilitarianism from contemporary welfare economics, primarily on the basis of the concept of “utility” in each approach. After explicating the utilitarian criteria for ethical action, the article goes on to think through what Mill’s utilitarianism says about the taxation of wealth and wealth transfers, the United States federal wealth transfer tax system as it stands today, and what structural changes might improve the system under a utilitarian framework.
Utilitarianism and Wealth Transfer Taxation,
69 Ark. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarworks.uark.edu/alr/vol69/iss3/2