This is what I've been talking about both on my blog and on Google+ the last few years, that if we don't do something about this soon, it will be too late - permanently. Here's why:
Let's say that, as a starting point or tipping point, where we go from sustainable inheritance to unsustainable inheritance, that inherited wealth accounts for, oh, 20% of the wealth of the republic. This isn't just cash or paper investments, it's real property like homes, land, and buildings. So, if that 20% is passed on, curated and managed, and passed on again, it should have doubled over the life of it's first heir. Now it's worth 40% of the wealth of the republic. That is to say, people who didn't work for it now own 4 out of every 10 dollars worth of anything.
The cycle repeats, the 40% is passed on, it's curated and managed, and passed on again, having doubled over the life of the heir. Now they own 80% of everything.
Follow me? Now, do it again. What's left for anyone else? By that point, the poor and middle-class will have had to sell everything they own just to survive. Now they're renters, probably from the same people they work for. From whom they also buy groceries - from the stores the people who essentially own them also own.
THIS IS WHAT THEY WANT!
If you don't think so, you're delusional.
At best, we would indeed see a landed gentry like in Europe who never work again, who outright own politicians so that laws are never considered which favor anyone but them and their ability to accumulate wealth. Old European money is so far removed from the day-to-day affairs and worries that they don't bother with whatever affects the commoners. They do as they please, the cops don't bother them because they really can't in most cases unless the person really screws up and his crime goes public, and their money pile grows larger and larger.
When I lived in Germany, my German boyfriend and I would be out and about and I'd ask him about some place that looked very nice, expensive, and old, and he would say that it belonged to some wealthy family, but despite the fact that they'd lived in the same mansion for a couple hundred years, no one knew anything about them. Later, I found that to be true in more than just Germany. People don't know, and know that they shouldn't go around asking.
That will happen here. In fact, it already has in wealthy enclaves. It will get worse as the already-elitist monied youth grow older, feel even more entitled, buy power, get richer, and feel superior even more so than today.
If we don't end it now, we're screwed. Do the math for yourself. It could happen still in my lifetime, much less the lifetimes of younger people like Millennials.