Numbers vary, but it's definitely fewer than 5% and possibly fewer than 1% of households that need to do anything at all to avoid the estate tax. And these are people who have benefited immensely from services provided by the government (if only the services that keeps people from stealing their wealth!) and are really doing quite alright; adjusting the tax code to make them do even better seems unfair.
Secondly I have never heard of anyone who didn't want to make more money because of their tax bracket. I do not believe this phenomenon exists, and even if it did, it wouldn't strike me as all that much of a problem in a population with unemployment as high as our own.
You can get around it by 'gifting' things to your kids, as long as you then don't die for 7 years after etc etc.
On your last point, it certainly does exist. What I think happens is people like me don't bother trying so hard, because I'll be damned if I'm going to give the government more money.
However, people who are already making much more than me, just hire a good accountant to 'make the problem go away' - eg register offshore companies etc etc
Are you seriously saying, that when the UK government had a higher tax rate of 97% in the 60s/70s, you would have been more than happy to do that extra overtime work, and would have gladly received your 3%??? Crazy
Anything over 49% is slavery, and will end up crippling the country rather than raising more tax revenue. Which is why it was absolutely right and proper that the current government reduced the top rate from 50% to 45%.