Unlike many other taxes, raising inheritance tax is not likely to distort incentives.
Ah, but no. Inheritance tax, aka ‘death duties’, can be a powerful disincentive to dying. If you know that once you kick the bucket, Gordon Brown is going to grab a chunk of your estate and give it to chavs to buy fags, knives and scratchcards, then you’ll be powerfully motivated to avoid popping your diamond-encrusted clogs.
Indeed, I think it’s now beyond serious dispute that inheritance tax is the main reason for differences in life expectancy between different socioeconomic groups. Thus, on grounds of social justice, we should abolish it.
This relates to a proposal I’ve made before: rather than punish the wealthy for being wealthy and reward the poor for being poor, we should try create some sort of economic disincentive to poverty. Hard to imagine such a thing, but I’m sure the policy wonks could come up with something...