Jesus was a Supply Sider!

Lately, Gates has invoked the Bible to argue for the estate tax. "This notion that there's a God-given right to pass everything on to your kids, that's not in the commandments I've read," he recently said.

Actually, it is in the Bible. Proverbs 13:22 says, "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children." Numbers 36:8 says, "Every one of the people of Israel may possess the inheritance of his fathers." Ezekiel 46:18 says that the state has no right to interfere: "The prince shall not take any of the inheritance of the people, thrusting them out of their property."

However, the most emphatic repudiation of wealth redistribution appears in Luke 12:13, in which Jesus acknowledges the value of wealthy people to society as a whole: "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully." Echoing Ezekiel, he says, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" In other words, it is up to each individual to decide how to distribute his wealth -- in life or at death -- not the state. Taking the wealth of rich men by force is neither moral nor efficient.

Luke 12:13-21:

And one out of the multitude said to him, "Master, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." And Jesus said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?" And then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness; for the life of any man does not consist in the abundance of those things which he possesseth." And Jesus spoke a parable to them, saying, "The field of a certain rich man yielded an abundant produce. And the rich man thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do? for I have no place in which I can collect my fruits.' And the rich man said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and will build larger ones, and there I will collect all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, thou hast many goods laid up for many, years: take thine ease, eat, drink, and enjoy thyself."' But God said to the rich man, 'Fool, this night they shall demand thy soul from thee; and as to the things which thou hast provided, to whom shall they go?' So is he that layeth up for himself: and is not rich toward God."