...and our answers:
Does the basic inheritance already exist?
Yes and No. Unfortunately, as a public, legal institution, the basic inheritance does not exist yet. However, from 2021 onwards, the foundation will award 10 basic inheritances annually through private funds. The receivers will be determined by lot. Whoever turns 30 in the next few years has a chance of winning of about 1 : 70,000. That doesn't sound so great at first glance, but it's not worse than the chance to win 20,000 € in the lottery. And above all, you have already made your commitment for the raffle: your birth, your decision to approach life here on this Earth, is your right to participate.
Doesn't the political demand for a basic inheritance arise out of envy?
Did Mahatma Gandhi fight for the equality of his countrymen out of envy to the privileged English? Did the philosopher Immanuel Kant develop his "Categorical Imperative" out of a personal injury? And do the opponents of inheritance taxes act out of greed? We don't know, and it's none of our business. The basic inheritance is a political demand that has justice and the well-being of everyone in mind. Accordingly, it must be discussed objectively and detached from the motives of the protagonists. However, what is certain is that the actors of the foundation cannot derive any material advantage for themselves or their descendants from the basic inheritance.
Should inheritance law be abolished?
No, on the contrary. The foundation wants to and will support inheritance and not prevent it. Our inheritance law, which now stands on the two feet of family inheritance law and testate law, is to have a third foot: the right to a basic inheritance.
Isn't that a kind of socialism that the foundation strives for with its basic inheritance?
No. Socialism seeks to solve the problems by reducing or at least affecting personal ownership within the economy. Socialist solutions aim at more state regulation, less economic freedom and the strengthening of an attitude of dependency. We believe the private property to be beneficial for the development of the individual to personal freedom. We want to introduce each person to property and personal responsibility, design possibilities and the personal growth being associated with it.
We see ourselves in a very liberal position. Only at least approximately equal starting conditions and the "dismantling of undeserved, birth-related privileges" are "characteristics of liberal tradition". (Friedrich v. Hayek)
Isn't it unfair that a person who has worked all his/her life should be taken part of his/her assets upon his/her death and given to someone else?
First of all, it is death that takes someone's fortune, not us or the state. But as before, everyone can pass on their assets to their heirs without any restriction. However, if they inherit a lot – and only then – they would have to give something back. It is not to the state as it was earlier, but via an inheritance compensation fund to those of their fellow citizens who would otherwise inherit nothing. The Earth belongs to everyone, and everyone has a natural right to his/her share of it, from which he/she can earn a living.
Is it fair that a person born as a poor people's child, practically from birth, has to pay rent and interest to a peer who has never done anything for it; just because he/she is the child of wealthy parents?
We must find a reasonable balance between these two positions and the significantly different starting conditions of the individual people.
Would the money not be wasted immediately by most recipients and flow into short-term consumption?
The basic inheritance is only paid out if it flows into fixed assets that may not be sold for three years. After that, it can theoretically be consumed. According to a study by the Association of Savings Banks of Germany, for example, two-thirds of young adults make "serious efforts to save money". This is also our own experience.
But even if some of the basic inheritances were consumed after those three years, there can be no economic damage. What one of us is spending, another one is earning. In addition, those having wasted an opportunity are no longer the same as those who never had it. The basic inheritance will always convey a valuable personal experience.
What would someone do who needs the basic inheritance to study?
For those who need the basic inheritance for education (e.g. tuition fees), it should be possible to access it earlier for this purpose. However, BAföG (German Federal Training Assistance Act) should not be replaced by the basic inheritance.
Why would the basic inheritance entail a tax reduction?
The state would forgo the four to five billion € it currently collects through inheritance tax in the basic inheritance model. This money (and a little bit more) would be paid into the basic inheritance fund. From there the money will be distributed to those who would otherwise inherit nothing. The assets inherited annually will thus – in contrast to now – remain entirely in the population's private hands. However, it would then be more equitably distributed. This would result in a tax reduction amounting to the current inheritance tax and reducing state paternalism.
Isn't the age of 30 far too late?
The age at which the basic inheritance is to be allocated is definitely worth to be discussed. In principle, a higher age will lead to more prudent handling of the basic inheritance. In Germany, the average age of inheritance is 55. At that time, the course for life has usually already been set and the desire for innovation has declined. The basic inheritance at the age of 30 would bring forward part of the inherited capital per year by 25 years. It is being shifted to the lifetime in which people are usually economically more innovative and need initial capital.
Isn't 20,000 € far too little? What can you do with it?
If one or two want to build a house, start a business, etc., then 20,000 € equity capital (or two times = 40,000 €) can be very decisive. Also for the support of a training
20,000 € are a very considerable amount. It is not to be expected that someone rejects the basic inheritance because it is too little.
Wouldn't a basic income be better than a basic inheritance because many people cannot handle capital?
The purpose of the basic inheritance is to take as many people as possible into responsibility. This is not achieved through a basic income.
Who can decide in advance who is competent in utilising capital and who is not? Isn't it that especially those who may not yet be able to deal with capital have to learn it? The economy will continue to automate. Accordingly, earned incomes will decrease, and capital incomes will grow. Capital ownership will become more and more necessary to make any income at all. The basic inheritance will set this process of learning and development to capital ownership on a broad basis in motion.
The big problem of the increasing concentration of capital cannot be solved through a basic income. Even if it worked, the power would remain in the hands of a few. Only a basic inheritance can counteract the concentration of economic power. There is also a blog post to compare basic income with basic inheritance.
Wouldn't the basic inheritance have negative consequences for the economy?
On the contrary. The large inheritances, amounting to many millions or even billions, hardly serve the economic creativity and the freedom of their recipients. The basic inheritance will bring parts of it closer to those young people who are in their prime to do something with it and to develop their creativity. The current lack of capital in young companies is a clear brake on the economy.
How should the basic inheritance be distributed in practice?
Everyone who has reached a certain age (e.g. 30) goes to the office and files a claim. At the same time, he or she looks for an asset on the open market that he or she wants (reason, apartment, stock, etc.). After examining its claim and the seriousness of its investment, the Office will pay for this asset from the inheritance compensation fund (up to the amount of the basic inheritance).
If someone has to pay back the basic inheritance, if he later inherits something privately, does this not make small private inheritances nonsensical or prevent them?
The repayment should not exceed a certain percentage of the later inheritances, e.g.
20 %. This means that if someone later inherits 20,000 € privately, he or she pays 4,000 € back, with an inheritance of 50,000 € he or she pays 10,000 € back, and so on. Only with an inheritance in the value of 100,000 € or more he has to pay back the entire basic inheritance of 20,000 €. This means that private inheritances remain interesting in any case and at any amount. Generally one can say that by the basic inheritance the inheriting is supported up to a height of 100.000€. Why? Because anyone who inherits less can keep a part of his or her basic inheritance.
If someone knows that he gets 20,000 € basic inheritance at the age of 30, won't he possibly borrow money earlier, in response to this claim?
The basic inheritances are protected by law during the first three years (the "waiting period") to the extent that they cannot be sold. It would also be conceivable to protect them legally to the extent that they may not be used to secure liabilities. Thus the young person does not become creditworthy on the basis of the future basic inheritance. The basic inheritance could even be designed in such a way that the recipient - if he is anxious - can extend this protection period. In this way he would have - in extreme cases for life - a small property that cannot be taken from him. A property with which he could manage, but not sell it.
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