Mark Kleiman gives a good overview of why the protests against the so-called death tax are so misguided. I just want to add one thing to the discussion. When accumulating large quantities of property, having a government available to secure that property is essential. Without the defense and police protection provided by a government, one is extremely limited in how much property one can accumulate. Consider the fact that there are no times in man's history, no places on the face of the earth where people have accumulated large quantities of wealth and property where there is no government. The value of the security provided by government is great, and so, not surprisingly, government charges a fair bit to those who own that property, in the form of taxes, in return for the services rendered. Now we have a system whereby those who have a great deal of wealth postpone a good bit of those expenses until the day they die. Now any reasonable person would conclude that having some large and onerous expense postponed until the day one dies, would reduce the pain of that expense to the bare minimum. However, were we to listen to the conservative opponents of the so-called death tax providing this extremely valuable service and then not charging people until they die is an intolerable burden upon those people of great wealth and fortune. This is nonsense.