Trump adviser Larry Kudlow says that as the $600-per-week Covid crisis benefits payment discourages a return to work it must be stopped, not renewed (June 15). There may well be some truth in this. But I find it strange that only publicly sourced incomes are attacked as discouraging work and not privately sourced unearned incomes.

Even though most private wealth in the US is inherited, the Republicans plan to phase out all inheritance taxes by 2025. About 12.6m families in the US have net wealth rising upwards from $1.2m. Even this lower figure generates more than $600 per week over 40 years if invested at a 1 per cent real rate return. It is likely these privately sourced incomes, at the margin, also discourage work, so anybody that worships at the altar of “work” perhaps should think again about ending inheritance taxes. Surely America doesn’t want to become the land of the idle rich. Or does it?

Paul Hallwood
University of Connecticut, CT, US

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