I hadn’t realized this.
It explains why Warren Buffet likes it.
Far from merely preventing people from buying “second yachts,” the death tax routinely forces small to medium-sized private businesses with a few million dollars in assets to be liquidated, simply in order to pay the tax. Such businesses usually have to be sold to large corporations at distressed prices. Two famous examples are the once-family-owned Buffalo News and Dairy Queen — both snapped up by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.
Moreover, the death tax is an effective $12 billion annual subsidy to the life insurance industry, according to Dick Patten of the American Family Business Institute. As the purveyors of the financial product of choice for avoiding the tax, the industry has lobbied heavily to keep it in place. (It should come as little surprise that Buffett, who also made a fortune in life insurance, is a big supporter of the tax.)