Rockefeller Dynasty / by kevin murray

Dynasties are not the American way, certainly not for a Country essentially founded by religious refugees, but yet dynasties are a fact of life in America.  Take, for instance, John D. Rockefeller, Senior, who died in 1937.  Forbes list of 2008 historical wealthiest individuals put the Rockefeller fortune at somewhere between $392 and $664 billion dollars in today’s dollar value.  Whether we want to argue as to the legitimacy of how Rockefeller acquired his wealth will be left for another day, what is not in question, however, is that this wealth was retained and that this wealth is still very much in effect today, primarily in the Rockefeller trust and the Rockefeller Financial Services.  To make a list of all the assets of the Rockefellers and their descendents would encompass such basic items as real estate, businesses, politics, and philanthropy. 


The main issue that comes to mind when dealing with the Rockefeller dynasty or any American dynasty, for that matter, is how they are able to pass through that wealth, essentially untaxed, from generation to generation, in which the apparent sole qualification for receiving this largess is simply to be a member of the Rockefeller or similar dynastic clan, and has little or nothing to do with meritocracy. 


We have estate tax laws on the books which seem to do a commendable job in being applied against families that have accumulated wealth, but not an insane amount of wealth, and thereby these individual estates pay up and are taxed appropriately.  Once you get beyond a certain estate value, however, it behooves a family to hire the best and the brightest to circumvent, mitigate, or to challenge estate tax laws in such a manner as to benefit the family directly or indirectly and to essentially to cheat the government, which is a government of the people, out of their proper heritage upon the demise of the particular ultra-wealthy individual.


People that have a lot of money are typically not in the mindset to simply give up the money, or if they must relinquish the money, they wish to relinquish it on their own terms and ultimately relinquish it to the particular benefit of those people, places, and things that most satisfy them.  None of that follows the definition of a democracy, and all of it is in fact kin to an autocracy or dynastic belief.  Money is most definitely a form of power, and the fewer hands that hold that money, the greater their power.  If ,even death, will not allow us to hit the 'reset' button on the wealth that has been created, accumulated, or saved, at what point will the playing field be level? 


Dynasties corrupt and distort American core values, at death you should relinquish a fair and equable amount of that capital to the Country that was gracious enough to nurture you, and let that money, the companies that you have created, your good wisdom and advice, be used as foundational tools for generations now and into the future.  While there is something to be said about inheritance, and our right to a fair share of our inheritance, dynasties have little to do with right or fairness, and much to do with greed and power, which are inimical to the true American way.