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***THE MAIN BOARDS - Welcome to the Prison Planet Educational Forum and Library*** => PP Forum Journalism => : Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 01:40:39 PM

: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 01:40:39 PM
For those unfamiliar with the issue of land value taxation, please see the following two introductory articles:

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http://landvaluetax.org/what-is-lvt/ (http://landvaluetax.org/what-is-lvt/)

What is Land Value Taxation?

Land Value Taxation is a method of raising public revenue by means of an annual charge on the rental value of land.

Although described as a tax, it is not really a tax at all, but a payment for benefits received. It would replace, not add to, existing taxes.

Properly applied, Land Value Tax would support a whole range of social and economic initiatives, including housing, transport and other infrastructural investments. It is an elementary fiscal measure that would go far towards correcting fundamental economic and social ills.

The value of every parcel of land in Britain would be assessed regularly and the land value tax levied as a percentage of those assessed values.

"Land" means the site alone, not counting any improvements. The value of buildings, crops, drainage or any other works which people have erected or carried out on each plot of land would be ignored, but it would be assumed that all neighbouring properties were developed as at the time of the valuation; other things being equal, a vacant site in a row of houses would be assessed at the same value as the adjacent sites occupied by houses.

The valuation would be based on market evidence, in accordance with the optimum use of the land within the planning regulations. If the current planning restrictions on the use were altered, the site would be reassessed.

The advantages...

A NATURAL SOURCE OF PUBLIC REVENUE. All land makes its full contribution to the Exchequer, allowing reductions in existing taxes on labour and enterprise.

A STRONGER ECONOMY. If we tax labour, buildings or machinery and plant, we discourage people from constructive and beneficial activities and penalise enterprise and efficiency. The reverse is the case with a tax on land values, which is payable regardless of whether or how well the land is actually used. It is a payment, based on current market value, for the exclusive occupation of a piece of land. In the longer term, this fundamentally new and different approach to revenue raising will stimulate new business and new employment, reducing the need for costly government welfare.

MARGINAL AREAS REVITALISED. Economic actitivities are handicapped by distance from the major centres of population. Conventional taxes such as VAT and those on transport fuels cause particular damage to the remoter areas of the country. Land Value Tax, by definition, bears lightly or not at all where land has little or no value, thereby stimulating economic activity away from the centre - it creates what are in effect tax havens exactly where they are most needed.

A MORE EFFICIENT LAND MARKET. The necessity to pay the tax obliges landowners to develop vacant and under-used land properly or to make way for others who will.

LESS URBAN SPRAWL. Land Value Taxation deters speculative land holding. Thus dilapidated inner-city areas are returned to good use, reducing the pressure for building on green-field sites.

LESS BUREAUCRACY. The complexities of Income Tax, Inheritance Tax, Capital Gains Tax and VAT are well known. By contrast, Land Value Tax is straightforward. Once the system has settled down, landholders will not be faced with complicated forms and demands for information. Revaluation will become relatively simple.

NO AVOIDANCE OR EVASION. Land cannot be hidden, removed to a tax haven or concealed in an electronic data system.

AN END TO BOOM-SLUMP CYCLES. Speculation in land value - frequently misrepresented and disguised as "property" or "asset" speculation - is the root cause of unsustainable booms which result periodically in damaging corrective slumps. Land Value Taxation, fully and properly applied, knocks the speculative element out of land pricing.

IMPOSSIBLE TO PASS ON IN HIGHER PRICES, LOWER WAGES OR HIGHER RENTS. Competition makes it impossible for a business producing goods on a valuable site to charge more per item than one producing similar goods on less valuable land - after all, producers and traders at different locations are paying different rents to landlords now, yet like goods generally sell for much the same price and employers pay their workers comparable wages. The tax cannot be passed on to a tenant who is already paying the full market rent.

[Continued… (http://landvaluetax.org/what-is-lvt/)]


http://wealthandwant.com/HG/ST_what_why_1890.html (http://wealthandwant.com/HG/ST_what_why_1890.html)

The Single Tax: What It Is and Why We Urge It

by Henry George

An article published in The Christian Advocate in 1890 and thereafter reprinted in various magazines in the United Stated and England.

I shall briefly state the fundamental principles of what we who advocate it call the Single Tax.

We propose to abolish all taxes save one single tax levied on the value of land, irrespective of the value of the improvements in or on it.

What we propose is not a tax on real estate, for real estate includes improvements. Nor is it a tax on land, for we would not tax all land, but only land having a vaue irrespective of its improvements, and would tax that in proportion to that value.

Our plan involves the imposition of no new tax, since we already tax land values in taxing real estate. To carry it out we have only to abolish all taxes save the tax on real estate, and to abolish all of that which now falls on buildings or improvements, leaving only that part of it which now falls on the value of the bare land, increasing that so as to take as nearly as may be the whole of economic rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm), or what is sometimes styled the “unearned increment of land values.”

That the value of the land alone would suffice to provide all needed public revenues—municipal, county, State, and national—there is no doubt.

To show briefly why we urge this change, let me treat (1) of its expediency, and (2) of its justice.

[Continued… (http://wealthandwant.com/HG/ST_what_why_1890.html)]

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Below, in no particular order, are common objections to land value taxation, with rebuttals by me to each one:

Isn't land ownership the foundation of property rights, and thus of a free society?

No, self-ownership is. That is to say, the foundation of property rights (and the freedom which flows from those rights) is the property each person has in himself and, by extension, in the fruits his labor.


-- John Locke, 2nd Treatise of Government, Ch. 5



-- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Bk 1, Ch. 10, Pt 2



-- James Bovard, Freedom In Chains, p. 86



-- David Bergland, Libertarianism In One Lesson, 7th ed., p. 35



-- Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, pp. 321-2



-- Henry George, A Perplexed Philosopher, p. 210


Won’t the land value tax (LVT) make all land the "property" of the government (and thereby make us all "serfs" of the government)?

No, because the government will have no authority to dictate when, how, or by whom land itself is used; it will have only the authority to ensure that the rent (http://henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm) of land goes to everyone on an equal basis, since all individuals have an equal right (http://www.grundskyld.dk/23-Perplex-Ch4.html) of access to land.

Henry George puts it this way on page 8 of The Condition of Labor (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/the_condition_of_labor.htm):


The only alternative to George's proposal is to treat land as the unconditional property of a mere subset of the population. The problem with this alternative is that, when taken to its logical conclusion, we find that the fruits of individual labor must inevitably be treated as conditional property for everyone else. Why? Because no one can produce wealth in the first place unless he or she first has access to land. Consequently, since all land is legally occupied, and since producing more land isn't an option, those who don't have titles to land cannot legally access the earth -- and thus cannot legally sustain their own lives -- unless they first "consent (http://www.progress.org/fold239.htm)" to pay a portion of their earnings to those who do have titles to land. (This is why geolibertarians regard landed property as the “mother of all entitlements.”)

Land itself does not originate from labor; thus, "property" in land does not originate from labor, but from the law that confers ownership to an individual or group. Landed property is therefore -- in the words of Albert Jay Nock (http://www.barefootsworld.net/nockoets4.html) -- “law-made property,” and hence fundamentally distinct from “labor-made property.”

To compel a non-privileged subset of the population to pay rent to a privileged (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr8a.htm) subset for mere access to the earth is therefore to elevate law-made property above labor-made property. And since the latter is an extension of self-ownership, to elevate the former above the latter is to strike a blow at the very foundation of property rights:


-- Max Hirsch, Democracy vs. Socialism (http://books.google.com/books?id=PHlDAAAAIAAJ&dq), p. 372

To this some might object that the LVT does just that -- compels one group to pay rent to another group for mere access to the earth. While this objection may sound logical at first, it is fatally flawed. Why? Because it ignores a universal law of today's economy: the fact that land rent (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Rent.html) gets paid either wayregardless of whether or not it gets diverted into the public treasury.

Thus, it is not a question of “if” land rent gets paid, but to whom and on what basis.

If it is paid exclusively to titleholders on the basis of the earth on which all must live yet which none produced being the exclusive, unconditional property of those titleholders, then, for reasons given above, the property that non-titleholders have in themselves and in the fruits of their labor is thereby violated. If, on the other hand, it is paid to the community on the basis of the individual members of that community each having an equal right to land, then said property right (the right to one's self and the fruits of one's labor) is thereby upheld for everyone -- both titleholder and non-titleholder alike.

Another common objection is that, if government taxes the economic “rent” of land, it automatically becomes the owner of land. This objection is based on the myth that the terms "rent collector" and "owner" are synonymous. While many rent collectors do, indeed, own the property on which they collect rent, there are, nevertheless, thousands of private rental agents and property managers all over the country who routinely collect rent on properties they do not own. Thus, one does not have to be an "owner" to be a "rent collector."  Government is no exception to this rule.

That doesn't mean the government of, say, North Korea does not assert ownership over the land on which it collects rent. It does. But it is not merely the authority to collect land rent, but the authority to dictate how land is used, that makes the North Korean government an "owner" of land. Critics of the LVT repeatedly insist that you can't have one authority without the other, but as mentioned above, the rent-collection services provided by non-owning rental agents and property managers prove just the opposite.

This becomes easier to understand once you realize that "property" refers, not to a single right, but to a bundle of rights -- the right to rental income being only one of them. The other rights include the right to possess, use, exclude, and transfer title. As any lawyer will tell you, those rights can be transferred in whole or in part.


-- Fillmore W. Galaty, Wellington J. Allaway, & Robert C. Kyle, Modern Real Estate Practice, 14th ed., p. 16

This is precisely why, in the U.S., it is possible for city councilmen to collect a portion of land rent through property tax levies, yet be lawfully excluded from the land itself by whoever holds title to that land. Although the local government in this case has a legal right to a certain percentage of the land's rental value, the titleholder has all the other rights of the aforementioned "bundle." 

Not only will the titleholder retain those rights under a geolibertarian system, those rights will be strengthened by (a) the fact that he will no longer be taxed for being productive, thus making it far easier for him to afford whatever the rental charge is, and (b) the fact that the law will require any and all surplus revenue to be distributed equally as a Citizen’s Dividend (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.msg958487#msg958487). (The latter will provide a built-in incentive for citizens to bring enormous pressure to bear on government to limit its spending, since less wasteful spending will mean a greater surplus, and thus a higher dividend.)


Since people need food to sustain their lives, and since food, like land, is in limited supply, could not the same argument for taxing the value of land be used to justify taxing the value of food?

No, because (a) while food is in "limited" supply, it is not in fixed supply; and (b) with food starvation is not the only alternative to purchasing it from others, whereas with land it is.

With food, one can always produce instead of buy. Not so with land. Some might counter that one can always produce to earn the wages needed to acquire land, but this presupposes the very issue in question – access to land. While it is true people can always acquire land by earning the wages needed to rent or purchase it, one cannot earn wages to begin with unless one first has access to land, which brings us right back where we started.

Food is a product of labor; land is not. Thus, the notion that one has an exclusive right to the fruits of one’s labor is incompatible with the notion that there is a common right to the value of those fruits, while it is not incompatible with the notion that there is a common right to the value of land.


Won’t the LVT increase the price of land the way sales taxes increase the price of consumer goods?

No, just the opposite.

As Henry George explains here (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/why_the_landowner_cannot_shift.html), in order for a tax to drive up the price of something, it must either decrease supply or increase demand. Does the LVT decrease the supply of land? No, because the supply of land is fixed. Thus, the only way it can increase the price is by increasing demand. Yet not even those who oppose the LVT argue that it increases demand, so it follows that the LVT does not increase the price of land, since it neither decreases supply nor increases demand.

In fact, it actually lowers the price of land by reducing the amount of privately pocketed rent that can be capitalized into a sale price.

Expressed in mathematical terms, the price of land p equals the annual rent r divided by the interest rate i, or:

                            p = r / i

If there is a tax rate t on the price of land p, then p equals the rent divided by the sum of the interest rate and the offsetting tax rate, or:

                            p = r / (i + t)

Thus, if the rent is $1,000, the interest rate is 10%, and the tax rate 40%, then the price would be 1,000/(.10 + .40), or $2,000. Without the tax, the price would be 80% higher -- $10,000. (More on this here (http://www.foldvary.net/sciecs/ch03.html) and here (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Foldvary_UTR.htm#PART_2).)

This is why there is no long-term benefit to cutting the LVT, because people in general, and the working poor in particular, end up paying back in higher rents and land prices what they presumably get from the tax cut. (The working poor of California had to find this out the hard way after the passage of Proposition 13 (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Prop13.html).)

Unfortunately, because the property tax fuses the tax on land values with the tax on improvements (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Property_tax_is_two_taxes.htm), people have a tendency to equate one with the other, and thus falsely assume that a lower tax on land value yields the same benefits as a lower tax on improvements. It in fact has the opposite effect. A lower tax on improvements rewards people for putting land to productive use, which means more jobs and higher wages; a lower tax on land value rewards people for holding land out of use, which means less jobs and lower wages.

Single Tax advocate, Robert De Fremery, had this to say on the subject:


-- Rights vs. Privileges (http://www.monetary.org/review-of-robert-de-fremerys-rights-vs-privileges/2010/12), pp. 38-39
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 01:41:44 PM
Isn’t the LVT based on Karl Marx's labor theory of value?

No. Karl Marx’s labor theory of value asserts that the exchange value of something is determined by the labor expended to produce it. Henry George flat-out rejected this view:

-- The Science of Political Economy (http://savingcommunities.org/docs/george.henry/specontents.html), p. 253

Why, then, do some mistakenly identify Marx's labor theory of value as being one of the core premises of the LVT? Because many LVT advocates often describe land value as being created by the community, and, in so doing, sacrifice clarity for brevity. What they actually mean is this: It's not that members of the surrounding community create land value itself, but that they create (or rather “produce (http://wealthandwant.com/HG/the_land_for_the_people.html)”) the goods and services which give rise to that value.

As any real estate appraiser will tell you, the value of land is the value of “location (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Location3.html).” And what determines the value of location? The degree to which people in the surrounding marketplace compete for access to that location, due primarily to the proximity it affords to such things as nearby schools, libraries, hospitals, parks, shopping malls, etc. -- all of which are provided mostly if not entirely by people other than the individual titleholder.

Hence Max Hirsch’s conclusion that:

-- Democracy vs. Socialism, p. 348

And hence Robert De Fremery’s observation that:

-- Rights vs. Privileges (http://www.monetary.org/review-of-robert-de-fremerys-rights-vs-privileges/2010/12), p. 22


Isn't the LVT based on the Marxist idea that the right to land is a collective right?

No, it is based on the Lockean idea that the right to land is an equal right.

By that I mean: the idea that an individual has "property" in land only to the extent that there is, in the words of John Locke, "enough, and as good left in common for others (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#proviso)."  In that sense, the right to land is not a collective right, but an individual right that exists independently of the collective (i.e., society). The “equality” of this right is merely a limitation that arises from the presence of others with like rights.

By contrast, a collective right to land dictates that an individual has no right to use any land unless society has granted him such right.

With the equal right to land, one does not require the consent of society to use land. The right to the use of land belongs at birth to each individual. So while the consent of others is not needed, it is, nevertheless, necessary that in the exercise of that right, one does not infringe upon the equal right of others -- i.e., violate Locke's proviso that there be "enough, and as good left in common for others." And since the rental value (http://www.progress.org/fold160.htm) of land provides an accurate measure of the extent to which said proviso has been violated, "others" should be compensated in accordance with that value.

       http://www.grundskyld.dk/23-Perplex-Ch4.html (http://www.grundskyld.dk/23-Perplex-Ch4.html)
       http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html)

At the same time, of course, taxes on wages, sales, houses and capital goods should all be abolished, since they violate the exclusive right that each individual has to the fruits of his own labor.

It is, of course, an age-old tradition among royal libertarians (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html) to rail self-righteously against the notion that all individuals have an "equal" right to land (and hence to its rental value). Yet what they either fail to realize or refuse to admit to is that, in so doing, they are rejecting (in effect) the most fundamental "property right" of all -- that of self-ownership -- because one cannot even be a "self" in the first place unless one occupies a naturally-occurring geographic location on the globe.

In short, to "be" is to be -- "somewhere."

Thus, assuming everyone agrees with Michael Badnarik when -- in his book, Good to be King (http://www.constitutionpreservation.org/constitution-preservation/good-to-be-king) -- he defines a "right" as "something you can do without asking for permission," it follows that, whenever anyone suggests or implies that only those with land titles have a "right" of access to the earth on which all must live yet which none produced, that person is essentially saying that the countless millions without land titles have no "right" to life itself.

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty (http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/George/grgPP.html), pp. 347-8

That, incidentally, is largely why I regard the Austrian School's aristocratic (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr7a.htm) concept of "liberty" to be a sick joke.

-- Webster Tarpley, World Crisis Radio (http://gcnlive.com/programs/worldCrisisRadio/) broadcast, 9/27/08, 1st hour


Isn't the very concept of taxing land values rooted in Marxism?

No, it's rooted in classical liberalism (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#classical), which long predates Marx.

The right-wing reactionaries who blindly insist otherwise are -- whether they realize it or not, and whether they have the intellectual honesty to admit it or not -- essentially accusing many of the Founding Fathers of being Marxists:

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http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html (http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html)

Why America's Founders Wanted a Property Tax on Land Value, And NOT a Sales Tax!

Why a Land Value Tax?

Land for ordinary citizens

William Penn (http://www.constitution.org/bcp/frampenn.htm) wanted to keep aristocrats from grabbing up land as they had in Europe. He declared Pennsylvania a "commonwealth" where each landholder would pay a modest rent that "would put an end to taxes, leave not a beggar, and make the greatest bank for national trade." The first tax in Pennsylvania was a land value tax.

Thomas Jefferson (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Jeffersonian_Ideals.html) also saw that land monopoly made ordinary Europeans poor, while cheap land made Americans rich. He also proposed taxes on real estate to prevent land grabbers from driving land prices up.

Keeping taxing power local

Under the Articles of Confederation (http://www.usconstitution.net/articles.html#Article8), the federal government taxed each state on its land value. Each state would tax each county, and citizens would never have to deal with state or federal tax collectors. Our founders did not trust strong central governments. They believed that people govern their own communities better than powerful states can govern them.

[Continued... (http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html)]

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Isn't concentrated ownership of land moral and just, so long as it's the result of "voluntary" transactions?

No, because if only some people "own" the earth, then only some have a "right" to live upon it.

All individuals must have access to the earth in order to exercise their right to sustain their own lives. Thus, to allow the earth to become the unconditional property of a relative few is to deny this right to everyone else, since it makes the latter obligated at birth to pay the former for mere access to the planet -- as if the former were responsible for the earth’s very existence.

While the private appropriation of land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm) may seem harmless at a micro-level, at a macro-level it constitutes an entitlement scheme whereby Group A receives payment from Group B, even though Group A renders no service (http://www.progress.org/fold240.htm) in return. In that sense, it violates the fundamental right that the members of Group B have to the fruits of their own labors.
-- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, Bk 1, Ch. 6
-- Max Hirsch, Democracy vs. Socialism, p. 446
-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty, p. 216

If some people fail to see this, it is because they, in the words of Henry Hazlitt, "overlook the woods in their precise and minute examination of particular trees." In this case they overlook the effect that the private appropriation of land rent has on the economy as a whole in their precise and minute examination of particular transactions, and how these transactions benefit particular individuals or groups. Overall, the payment of land rent to the few at the expense of the many imposes on the latter artificially high costs of living, on the one hand, and artificially low wages, on the other.

To learn more about why the current land market is anything but "voluntary," read the following article by Fred Foldvary:

       http://www.progress.org/fold239.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold239.htm)


As a general rule, taxation is wrong since it involves the use of force. Is a tax on land rent an exception to this?

Yes, for the simple reason that "force," as such, is neither good nor bad. If used to defend one's person or property from aggressors, or to enforce payment of a rightful debt, it is a good thing. If used to harm the person or property of a non-consenting other, or to enforce payment of a wrongful debt, it is a bad thing.

A tax on wages or capital-goods returns implies that the income one receives in return for the exertion of one's labor or the use of one's capital goods belongs (at least in part) to others. This conflicts with the basic libertarian principle that you have an exclusive right to the fruits of your labor.

A tax on land rent (or "rent (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Rent_Defined.html)" for short) implies that the income one receives for the value of the land one holds belongs to others. Since land itself (a) is not the fruit of anyone's labor, and (b) is that to which all have an equal right of access; and since the rent of land (a) is not a return to either labor or capital goods, and (b) reflects the extent to which Locke's proviso has been violated, a "tax" on rent does not conflict with the principle that you have an exclusive right to the fruits of your labor, but is in fact a just and necessary means of upholding that right.

Thus, the part of one's income that is taken via the taxation of wages, sales, houses and capital goods constitutes the enforcement of a wrongful debt, whereas the part of one's income that is taken via the taxation of rent constitutes the enforcement of a rightful debt.

As Henry George puts it on page 46 of Property In Land (http://archive.org/details/landquestionpro00argygoog): "As to what constitutes robbery, it is...the taking or withholding from another of that which rightfully belongs to him. That which rightfully belongs to him, be it observed, not that which legally belongs to him." [Emphasis original]

Still, right-wing critics will argue, a tax on rent involves the use of force, and is therefore wrong. The problem with this argument becomes evident when they are presented with the scenario of a tenant no longer able to pay a titleholder for the value of the land he is using, and then asked whether or not it would be legitimate to use force to remove the tenant from the titleholder's land. They typically answer “yes” to this question, and when pressed for an explanation, finally concede that yes, there is such a thing as a legitimate use of force when it comes to upholding a rightful debt.

The dispute, then, is not over whether force, in and of itself, is right or wrong, but whether the debt in question is right or wrong -- i.e., whether or not the taxation of land rent conflicts with the libertarian principle that each person has property in himself and, by extension, in the fruits of his labor. Geolibertarians hold that it does not so conflict, since land rent, as mentioned before, is not a return to either labor or capital goods.

Land rent (as the term obviously implies) is in fact a return to land -- meaning the percentage of one's income one could receive simply by renting out the land one holds to someone else. Yet to whom does land’s rental value rightfully belong?  Since this value derives, not from what the individual titleholder does, but from the growth and activity of the surrounding community -- and since it reflects the extent to which "others" are denied access to land they wish to use, and to which they have an equal right of access -- it follows that this value is rightfully owed to these others, while wrongfully owed to titleholders.

In that fundamental sense, the LVT is not a fee for using land, but a fee for the government-enforced privilege of denying use of that land to everyone else. The more valuable the privilege, the higher the fee. That's why it's called the benefits received (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/underpop/benefits_received.htm) principle, and hence why the upper and upper-middle class titleholders who rail hysterically against the LVT are essentially saying that (double standard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_standard) alert!) they should not be required to pay for the benefits they receive, but that working class (http://books.google.com/books?id=PBCGoN7cRKgC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q=&f=false) non-titleholders should be required to pay -- not once, but twice (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Paying_Twice.html) -- for the benefits they receive. 


Won’t the LVT make it more difficult to acquire land, especially for poor people?

No, because land rent, as explained earlier, gets paid either way -- regardless of whether or not it gets diverted into the public treasury.

Even when you pay the sale price of land, you are paying land rent, since the sale price is simply capitalized rent (i.e., the rental value divided by the interest rate). And since land is fixed in both supply and location, decreases in land value taxation are invariably capitalized by titleholders into higher rents and land prices. Thus, people in general, and the working poor in particular, end up paying back in higher rents and land prices what they presumably get from the tax cut; and pay back even more in terms of (a) a lower margin of production (http://www.progress.org/fold97.htm) (and thus lower pre-tax wages), and (b) a heavier reliance on wage (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and sales (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html) taxes. 

So, once again, it is not a question of if land rent gets paid, but to whom and on what basis -- to a mere subset of the population, on the basis of the earth on which all must live yet which none produced being exclusively "owned" by that subset; or to everyone equally, on the basis of the earth being that to which all have an equal right of access? Georgists and geolibertarians believe it should be the latter, since that is the only just and practical way of establishing true equality of opportunity without enforcing “equality of outcome” in the process.

As for the poor people that right-wing ideologues (http://www.slate.com/id/2201641/pagenum/all/), limousine liberals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limousine_liberal) and foundation (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=163559.0)-funded poverty pimps (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_pimp) all laughingly profess to care so much about, the LVT will actually make it much easier for them to acquire land, since it will (a) greatly reduce the “rack-renting (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Rack-Rented.html)” to which land speculation (http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm) invariably gives rise, and (b) dramatically increase wages both by raising the margin of production and by reducing (and eventually eliminating) the need for either wage or sales taxes.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 01:43:00 PM
Won’t the LVT discourage production?

No, because the value of land has no reference to a cost of production; it is purely a function of demand.

This, among other things, led Adam Smith to conclude that:


-- The Wealth of Nations, Bk 5, Ch. 2, Pt 1

Nobel prize-winning economist, Paul A. Samuelson, reached the same conclusion roughly two centuries later:


-- Economics (http://www.mhhe.com/economics/samuelson17/), 16th ed., p. 250

What is even more "striking" is that Samuelson's remarks are only half-true. Not only will a tax on rent lead to no distortions or economic inefficiencies, it will actually stimulate the economy by (a) lowering the entrance barrier (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Barriers_to_Entry.html) into the marketplace (the “entrance barrier” being speculative rents and land prices), and (b) encouraging much more efficient use of land within that marketplace. A well-documented case in point is the overall success of the "split rate" property tax (whereby land values are uptaxed and improvements proportionately downtaxed) in over a dozen localities throughout Pennsylvania:

       http://www.earthrights.net/docs/success.html (http://www.earthrights.net/docs/success.html)
       http://savingcommunities.org/issues/race.html (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/race.html)

It is the taxation of the other two factors of production -- labor and capital goods -- that penalizes and discourages production. Thus, it follows that the more we shift the tax burden off those two factors and onto land values, the more prosperous the economy will be overall.

Henry George put it this way:


-- Progress & Poverty (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=73&rn=414&action=show_detail), pp. 434-5


There are some who still insist that the LVT will discourage production since the value of land cannot be separated from the value of houses, buildings and other improvements. Is that true?

No, it has long been common practice in the real estate industry to assess land separately from improvements:


-- William L. Ventolo, Jr., Ralph Tamper & Wellington J. Allaway, Mastering Real Estate Mathematics, p. 115

The only people on the entire planet who blindly insist otherwise are brainwashed Austrian School (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=192293.0) types.


Some people claim there are documented examples of land being produced. Doesn't this refute the idea that land is in fixed supply?

No. Those who claim otherwise are confusing two different senses of the word land (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Land.html). In the every day sense, land usually refers merely to the dry surface of the earth; in the economic sense, however, it refers not just to the dry surface of the earth, but to the entire material universe -- excluding humans and their products. In other words, land is not merely matter that occupies space; it is space. While matter can certainly be manipulated within that space, space itself cannot be added to or subtracted from. This is precisely why the value of "land" is often and more accurately described as the value of "location."


--  Paul A. Samuelson & William D. Nordhaus, Economics, 16th ed., p. 248



-- Campbell R. McConnell & Stanley L. Brue, Economics, 14th ed., p. 604



-- Wade E. Gaddy & Robert E. Hart, Real Estate Fundamentals, 4th ed., p. 9



-- William H. Pivar, Real Estate Investing From A To Z, revised edition, p. 3


Won’t the LVT hurt farmers?

No, it will help farmers. In the first place, the LVT will fall primarily on urban land, not rural land, since land values are concentrated primarily in urban areas. In the second place, the increased cost of paying a higher tax on land values will be more than offset by (a) the savings incurred from paying lower taxes on everything else, (b) the reversal of urban sprawl (http://www.progress.org/sprawl/) (and thus of the inflationary pressure that sprawl has long imposed on the value of farmland), and (c) the increase in income that will result from both a higher margin of production (http://www.progress.org/fold97.htm) and the resultant surge in overall economic activity.

For supportive empirical evidence, see the following:

       http://www.earthrights.net/docs/pa-farmers.html (http://www.earthrights.net/docs/pa-farmers.html)
       http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_RBPTatCFLO.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_RBPTatCFLO.html)
 
For a more exhaustive treatment of the underlying principles, see:

       http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/George/grgPP38.html#Book IX, Chapter 3 (http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/George/grgPP38.html#Book IX, Chapter 3)
       http://archive.org/stream/socialproblems83geor#page/296/mode/2up (http://archive.org/stream/socialproblems83geor#page/296/mode/2up)


Since labor products such as houses, cars and computers are all composed of matter, and since humans are no more the “creators” of matter than they are the “creators” of land, doesn’t it follow that humans don’t really “create” anything, and that LVT advocates are therefore wrong in saying there’s a fundamental distinction between “labor-made” property and “law-made” property?

Believe it or not, I’ve actually encountered this objection many times over the years. It exemplifies the sort of mental gymnastics to which royal libertarians (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html) routinely resort in their desperate attempt to justify economic free-riding (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/ajo_slavery.html) by overprivileged landlords.

The objection is, of course, ridiculous on its face, because -- as any professional real estate appraiser will tell you -- land, by definition, exists independently of human exertion, whereas labor products (as the term itself implies) do not.

What makes houses, buildings and countless other labor products fundamentally different from land is not that people “create” those things, but that they produce them:

-- Henry George, The Land for the People (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/hg-speeches/land-for-the-people.html), paragraphs 4 & 5
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 01:44:34 PM
Didn't Austrian economist Murray Rothbard refute the LVT?

No, but not for lack of trying. Rothbard's argument against the LVT is fatally flawed for at least two reasons -- one moral, the other economic. From a moral perspective, it completely ignores the unjust interference that the overextension of law-made property imposes on labor-made property. From an economic perspective, it is based on a false understanding of what conditions are necessary for land to have rental value.

In Libertarian Party at Sea on Land (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=69&rn=335&action=show_detail), LP activist Dr. Harold Kyriazi explains why Rothbard's attack on the LVT was misguided at best. The following is from pages 57-61 of that book (all emphasis original):

------------------------------------

The only well-known libertarian writer whom I know to have explicitly, and at great length, opposed the idea of community collected user fees for natural resources is Murray Rothbard, which is odd, given his admiration for Albert Jay Nock and Frank Chodorov, who, in turn, revered Henry George. Rothbard apparently had extensive discussions with Georgists:


The following is taken from his The Ethics of Liberty.


With this statement, Rothbard may seem to have carried the "first use" doctrine to its illogical extreme. (If walking over some land constitutes transformation and use, then is it just one's footprints that one owns? Or does one's rightful claim extend out to all the underbrush one has cleared away? Or, can one claim land as far as the eye can see? This is the very definition of the word "arbitrary.") But in his defense, to convert the claim into actual ownership would, Rothbard would say, require actual use (though we're again faced with the question of what constitutes "use" -- see p. 79, "Anti-Rothbard..."). For example, earlier, in a Robinson Crusoe paradigm, he stated that Crusoe's "true property--his actual control over material goods--would extend only so far as his actual labor brought them into production. His true ownership could not extend beyond the power of his own reach."

What, then, would Rothbard say about large American corporations owning, but not using, millions of acres of land, as some now do? He gives us his answer in an essay he wrote on Henry George's Land Value Tax idea, entitled "The Single Tax: Economic and Moral Implications" (FEE "Special Essay Series," 1957). Here are a few examples from that work:


Of course, LVT would and could do no such thing, as those who strive to put idle land into productive use would have to bid against other land users for labor, and only the best uses of labor and land would win out. Thus, rather than forcing all land into use, LVT would discourage all but the most productive use of land, just as any market tends to allocate resources most wisely. Another thing that would happen is that the earnings of labor would increase due to increased competition for it, and (ideally) none of the produced wealth would go to landowners qua landowners. Let me rephrase Rothbard's last sentence in a way that makes sense: Forcing land users to pass over ideal idle land and utilize marginal land instead, is wasteful of human labor and natural opportunities, a disservice to all mankind and a boon only to landlords and land speculators.

But here's the most embarrassing passage:


Correct.


False! They'd be valueless only to those market participants who wish only to speculate in land, not to those who wish to use land in some productive endeavor.


Wrong again. While it's true there'd be no sale price for vacant land, one would still have to pay the ground-rent to use it.


Wrong yet again. He's assuming the LVT would be set by an actual ground-rent charged by the landlord, rather than being an assessed value that would have to be recouped. And, I might add, total rental costs would tend to decrease as additional units come on the market as the monopoly stranglehold on land loses its grip.


He continues to pound a straw man.


He took a wrong turn, and just keeps going!


Rothbard then goes on to state,


Completely false. Even if LVT were applied at a national level, and there were no competition among municipalities for residents, people would still bid on the leases of occupied property, providing price information. (For more on this, see p. 97, "How would LVT work?")

In Power and Market: Government and the Economy (second edition, 1977), Rothbard went even further into the realm of irrationality in his attempt to refute Georgist land theory (p. 131):


I know of no Georgist who would ever use the phrase "free-market" in conjunction with our current, individual monopoly market in land.


It is an obvious fiction that any use, however small or large the effort, should grant full private ownership for all time, unless we're talking about a make-believe world with unlimited land where access to all of it is instantaneous (i.e., where travel time is zero). This fiction ignores the fact that someone who, for example, puts up a fence and lets a cow graze, is much less the rightful "owner" of land than one who builds an industrial plant or a shopping mall. (For more on this, see p. 79, "Anti-Rothbard...")

(http://www.schalkenbach.org/images/products/335_image.jpg) (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=69&rn=335&action=show_detail)

------------------------------------

In his contribution to Critics of Henry George: Volume 2 (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=301&action=show_detail) (see Chapter 31 (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1536-7150.2004.00298.x/abstract) of that book), Dr. Kyriazi provides an even more devastating critique of Rothbard’s fallacy-ridden arguments against Henry George’s Single Tax.

See also the following article by Gene DeNardo:

       http://www.nolanchart.com/article6921.html (http://www.nolanchart.com/article6921.html) (A Critique of Murray Rothbard's Critique of the Georgist Argument.)


Isn't land less important in today's economy than it was decades ago?

No. To understand why, simply ask yourself the following question. If the importance of land has indeed gone down, then why was the inflation-adjusted price of land so much higher in, say, 2006 than it was 50 years beforehand?

The answer is obvious: because, as the economy and population grow -- and as this, in turn, results in increasing numbers of people with higher incomes competing for access to the same amount of land -- the “importance” of land (as reflected in rents and land prices) grows along with them.

It is, of course, true that land values have recently dropped in many areas due to the collapsing real estate bubble. But as economist Fred Foldvary explains here (http://www.progress.org/2004/fold334.htm), the speculation-driven real estate market tends to experience such price contractions about every 18 years, only to resume its former upward trend. If you made a historical chart depicting fluctuations in land values over the past century (adjusting for inflation), you’d notice an upward trend, not a downward one.


Are land values capable of generating the revenue needed for the legitimate functions of government?

The answer to this question depends on (a) how you interpret national income figures, (b) what you consider to be the "legitimate" functions of government, (c) the extent to which a reduction in taxes on labor and capital goods will drive up the rental value of land (and thus revenue capacity), and (d) the extent to which shifting to a land-based tax system will increase economic output (and thus the tax base).

With respect to national income figures, many economists accept (seemingly without question) the Commerce Department's claim that land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm) makes up only 2% of the national income. Assuming for the sake of argument that this is true, that means a land-based tax system could yield no more than a few hundred billion in annual revenue.

Not all economists, however, subscribe to the belief that rent constitutes only 2% of the national income. For instance, in The Losses of Nations (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=83&rn=319&action=show_detail) (1998), economist Fred Harrison explains how a study by Wall Street economist Michael Hudson revealed that the revenue capacity of land is actually about 14% of the national income, or what in 2009 would’ve amounted to approximately $1.7 trillion in annual revenue.

With respect to the "legitimate" functions of government, there are some who consider all current expenditures (including such things as corporate welfare and imperialist wars of aggression) to be "legitimate," in which case the LVT will need to generate well over $3 trillion in annual revenue for all levels of government. On the other hand, there are some who consider "legitimate" only those expenditures that go toward protecting individual rights (e.g., defending our national borders from military invasion, enforcing laws against force and fraud, adjudicating civil disputes, etc.) and toward maintaining some form of basic social safety net (particularly if provided with a minimum of bureaucracy, as a Guaranteed Income (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.0) would do), in which case the LVT will need to generate no more than half of what is currently spent at the federal, state and local levels.

With respect to the reduction of taxes on labor and capital goods (“capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm)” for short), and the effect this has on the rental value of land, economists throughout history have observed that, when said taxes are lowered, land rents tend to rise proportionately. Why? For the simple and obvious reason that, the more people can afford to pay for access to a fixed quantity of land, the more titleholders are able to charge higher rents. If, for instance, the payroll tax were abolished, most of the resultant increase in take home pay would eventually be absorbed by higher rents. Thus, it follows that the more the tax burden on labor and capital is reduced, the more the revenue capacity of land is raised by a comparable amount. (Economist Mason Gaffney explains this more thoroughly in Ch. 7 of The Losses of Nations.)

And finally, with respect to economic output, it is common knowledge that, all else being equal, an increase in output means an increase in tax revenue (regardless of the tax system in place). It is also common knowledge that, all else being equal, an increase in output means an increase in the rental value of land (regardless of whether land rent is collected publicly or privately). The question thus arises: to what extent will a land-based tax system increase output, and hence the tax base? On page 147 of The Losses of Nations, economist Nicolaus Tideman estimates that


All that being said, if you take the Commerce Department at its highly suspect word on rent being only 2% of the national income; if you believe that current tax revenue outlays at all levels of government should be maintained; and if you ignore the extent to which both economic output and the rental value of land will skyrocket in the absence of taxes on labor and capital, then you will undoubtedly conclude that land rent is not an adequate source of public revenue.  

If, on the other hand, you agree with Dr. Hudson's conclusion that rent is approximately 14% of the national income (if not more (http://www.earthrights.net/docs/fifteen.html)), then even if you oppose a moderate reduction in overall spending; and even if you ignore the increase in both economic output and land values that would accompany any significant decrease in the taxation of labor and capital, the LVT will still allow for the abolition of the federal individual income tax. But if you believe that $1.7 trillion could easily fund the legitimate functions of government, and if you realize the extent to which both economic output and the rental value of land would increase in the absence of taxes on labor and capital, then you will almost certainly conclude, as I have, that land rent is a more than adequate source of revenue for all levels of government.


How will the LVT be implemented?

In short, the same way it is now.

Critics of the LVT are fond of pretending that land values are not already being taxed, when in fact they are (albeit to a limited extent) by existing property taxes. The machinery for the LVT is already in place. Thus, all that is necessary to implement the LVT locally is to exempt houses, buildings and other improvements from taxation, and thereby focus existing property taxes on land values only. In this way the property tax will be converted to a land value tax.

As for state and federal taxation, geolibertarians advocate a bottom-up system whereby a portion of the LVT-revenue generated locally is sent to the applicable state governments, and a portion of that, in turn, to the federal government.


-- Robert De Fremery, Rights vs. Privileges (http://monetary.org/rights.htm), pp. 39-40


Ideally, this will be phased in over a period of years. That is, as the LVT is moderately increased each year, taxes on everything else are proportionately decreased.

This process will continue until all taxation is abolished save for that upon on land rent, at which point we will finally be operating under Henry George’s Single Tax (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/ST_what_why_1890.html).

(http://images.mises.org/5738/SingleTaxPoster.jpg) (http://schalkenbach.org/rsf-1/henry-george/the-single-tax/)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: phosphene February 19, 2010, 02:38:55 PM
i was under the impression that most Americans actually own "real estate" not "land"
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 04:02:03 PM
i was under the impression that most Americans actually own "real estate" not "land"

Then you were under a false impression, because real estate, by definition, includes land:

-------------------------

real estate

Definition

A piece of land, including the air above it and the ground below it, and any buildings or structures on it.


-- http://www.investorwords.com/4057/real_estate.html (http://www.investorwords.com/4057/real_estate.html)

-------------------------

That means it's literally impossible to own the former and not the latter.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: michaelsuede February 19, 2010, 04:26:35 PM
That's a hell of an Orwellian master piece there.

My question is, what right does government have to any of my labor?

By taxing property, the government is making two claims.

1.  It owns that property, and if I fail to pay rent, it will remove me.

2.  It owns part of my labor, as I must labor to pay the dictated rent.

The government has no right to either.

Government supposedly derives its power from the consent of the governed.

I do not give my consent.  Therefore, the government has no right to impose itself upon my labor through taxation.


: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 19, 2010, 04:48:47 PM
That's a hell of an Orwellian master piece there.

That's a hell of a mindless, knee-jerk reaction to it.  ::)

My question is, what right does government have to any of my labor?

None. That is precisely why I call for abolishing taxes on wages, sales, houses and capital goods.

By taxing property, the government is making two claims.

No, by invoking the word "property," you are merely begging (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question) the very question at issue -- whether the earth on which all must live yet which none produced can be rightfully regarded as the exclusive, unconditional "property" of a mere subset of the population (i.e., those with land titles).

1.  It owns that property, and if I fail to pay rent, it will remove me.

That, of course, is one of the very objections I addressed above. It would help if you would actually take the time to read something before reacting to it.

2.  It owns part of my labor, as I must labor to pay the dictated rent.

Again, if you had bothered to read what I wrote before reacting to it, you'd know that the value being taxed has nothing to do with your "labor." If it's the value of people's "labor" I wanted to tax, I'd be defending wage and sales taxes.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: michaelsuede February 19, 2010, 04:55:14 PM
That's a hell of a mindless, knee-jerk reaction to it.  ::)

None. That is precisely why I call for abolishing taxes on wages, sales, houses and capital goods.

No, by invoking the word "property," you are merely begging (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Begging_the_question) the very question at issue -- whether the earth on which all must live yet which none produced can be rightfully regarded as the exclusive, unconditional "property" of a mere subset of the population (i.e., those with land titles).

That, of course, is one of the very objections I addressed above. It would help if you would actually take the time to read something before reacting to it.

Again, if you had bothered to read what I wrote before reacting to it, you'd know that the value being taxed has nothing to do with your "labor." If it's the value of people's "labor" I wanted to tax, I'd be defending wage and sales taxes.

I did read it.

So where does government acquire its right to my labor?

If government has the right to tax me, it is implicitly stating it has a right to my labor.

I do not give my consent.

If I wanted government to have my money, I would give it to government as I would any other charity.


: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: iclozm February 25, 2010, 06:22:56 PM
I did read it.

So where does government acquire its right to my labor?

If government has the right to tax me, it is implicitly stating it has a right to my labor.

I do not give my consent.

If I wanted government to have my money, I would give it to government as I would any other charity.

I agree.

Another common objection is that, if government taxes the economic “rent” of land, it automatically becomes the owner of land. This objection is based on the myth that the terms "rent collector" and "owner" are synonymous. While many rent collectors do, indeed, own the property on which they collect rent, there are, nevertheless, thousands of private rental agents and property managers all over the country who routinely collect rent on properties they do not own. Thus, one does not have to be an "owner" to be a "rent collector."  Government is no exception to this rule.

That doesn't mean the government of, say, North Korea does not assert ownership over the land on which it collects rent. It does. But it is not merely the authority to collect land rent, but the authority to dictate how land is used, that makes the North Korean government an "owner" of land. Critics of the LVT repeatedly insist that you can't have one authority without the other, but as mentioned above, the rent-collection services provided by non-owning rental agents and property managers prove just the opposite.

Regardless of how one may manipulate what the word ownership means, or if you call this tax your "protection to use your property how you wish" none the less, it still makes the land susceptible to government seizure for not paying your part. Thus you still "own" the land but the rent collector may let someone else use it, what good does that do? This does not protect property. There should be no tax on property whatsoever. The power to tax an item is the power to take the taxable item away, prevent its purchase, prevent it sale, basically the right to it.

LVT in my opinion still gives the illusion of ownership just as the current system does except makes your local government the tyrant, although does apportion taxes as the Constitution states thus alleviating that tyrannical aspect of taxation. Which is easier to put in check, but still no real property rights are there when you HAVE to pay your government fee.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian March 16, 2010, 01:02:48 PM
Regardless of how one may manipulate what the word ownership means, or if you call this tax your "protection to use your property how you wish" none the less, it still makes the land susceptible to government seizure for not paying your part.

You're still not looking at the big picture. Not having the LVT means making land susceptible to monopolization (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Land_Monopoly.html) by rent-seeking (http://www.foldvary.net/works/seeking.html) aristocrats, and, consequently, to parasitic rack-renting (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#rackrent). This is precisely why many of the Founders and original classical liberals supported the LVT instead of a sales tax:

       http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html (http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html)

You also continue to ignore how and why elevating law-made property above labor-made property inevitably results in countless millions of landless wage-earners having no real "ownership" of either themselves or the fruits of their labor, since, as explained earlier, one cannot even be a "self" in the first place without access to land (to "be" is to be -- "somewhere"); and if you have no right of access to land (a "right" being, in the words of Michael Badnarik, "something you can do without asking for permission"), then by definition you have no right to live upon it.

This, quite frankly, is why I regard the Austrian School's aristocratic concept of "liberty" to be a sick joke.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian March 16, 2010, 01:05:12 PM
I've been calling myself a "geolibertarian" since September 1997, and the following essay is the primary reason why:

-------------------------------

http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html)


Are you a Real Libertarian, or a
ROYAL
Libertarian?


by Dan Sullivan, founder, Geolibertarian Society, and
former chair, Libertarian Party of Allegheny County, (Pittsburgh) Pennsylvania


We call ourselves the "party of principle," and we base property rights on the principle that everyone is entitled to the fruits of his labor. Land, however, is not the fruit of anyone's labor, and our system of land tenure is based not on labor, but on decrees of privilege (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Privileges.html) issued from the state, called titles. In fact, the term "real estate" is Middle English (originally French) for "royal state." The "title" to land is the essence of the title of nobility, and the root of noble privilege.

The royal free lunch

When the state granted land titles to a fraction of the population, it gave that fraction devices with which to levy, and pocket, tolls on the fruits of the labor of others. Those without land privileges must either buy or rent those privileges from the people who received the grants or from their assignees. Thus the state titles enable large landowners to collect a transfer payment, or "free lunch" from the actual land users.

The widow is gathering nettles for her children's dinner; a perfumed seigneur, delicately lounging in the Oeil de Boeuf, hath an alchemy whereby he will extract the third nettle and call it rent.

-- Carlyle

Tortured rationalizations

According to royal libertarians, land becomes private property when one mixes one's labor with it. And mixing what is yours with what is not yours in order to own the whole thing is considered great sport. But the notion is filled with problems. How much labor does it take to claim land, and how much land can one claim for that labor? And for how long can one make that claim?

According to classical liberals, land belonged to the user for as long as the land was being used, and no longer. But according to royal libertarians, land belongs to the first user, forever. So, do the oceans belong to the heirs of the first person to take a fish out or put a boat in? Does someone who plows the same field each year own only one field, while someone who plows a different field each year owns dozens of fields? Should the builder of the first transcontinental railroad own the continent? Shouldn't we at least have to pay a toll to cross the tracks? Are there no common rights (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html) to the earth at all? To royal libertarians there are not, but classical liberals recognized that unlimited ownership of land never flowed from use, but from the state:

A right of property in movable things is admitted before the establishment of government. A separate property in lands not till after that establishment.... He who plants a field keeps possession of it till he has gathered the produce, after which one has as good a right as another to occupy it. Government must be established and laws provided, before lands can be separately appropriated and their owner protected in his possession. Till then the property is in the body of the nation.

-- Thomas Jefferson (http://etext.virginia.edu/jefferson/quotations/jeff1550.htm)

"But we're used to it"

A favorite excuse of royal libertarians is that the land has been divided up for so long that tracing the rightful owners would be pointless. But there can be no rightful owners if we all have an inalienable right of access to the earth. It is not some ancient injustice we seek to rectify, but an ongoing injustice. The piece of paper granting title might be ancient, but the tribute levied on the landless goes on and on.

One might as well have accepted monarchy under the excuse that whatever conquest led to monarchy occurred centuries ago, and that tracing the rightful monarchs would be pointless. Indeed, landed aristocracy is the last remnant of monarchy.

Phony Laissez Faire

After conquest and confiscation have been effected, and the State set up, its first concern is with the land....In its capacity as ultimate landlord, the State distributes the land among its beneficiaries on its own terms.

-- Albert J. Nock, Our Enemy the State, p. 44

The English free-trader Cobden remarked that "you who free the land will do more for the people than we who have freed trade." Indeed, how can anyone speak of free trade when the trader has to pay tribute to some favored land-entitlement holder in order to do business?

This imperfect policy of non-intervention, or laissez-faire, led straight to a most hideous and dreadful economic exploitation; starvation wages, slum dwelling, killing hours, pauperism, coffin-ships, child-labour--nothing like it had ever been seen in modern times...People began to say, if this is what State abstention comes to, let us have some State intervention.

But the state had intervened; that was the whole trouble. The State had established one monopoly--the landlord's monopoly of economic rent--thereby shutting off great hordes of people from free access to the only source of human subsistence, and driving them into factories to work for whatever Mr. Gradgrind and Mr. Bottles chose to give them. The land of England, while by no means nearly all actually occupied, was all legally occupied; and this State-created monopoly enabled landlords to satisfy their needs and desires with little exertion or none, but it also removed the land from competition with industry in the labor market, thus creating a huge, constant and exigent labour-surplus.
[Emphasis Nock's]

-- Albert J. Nock, "The Gods' Lookout" February 1934

State land vs. common land

The distinction between common property and state property is lost on royal libertarians. Common property is that to which we all have inalienable rights. State property is that which the state actually owns, and can dispose of as it sees fit. For example, a public right of way is literally a right of way. Under principles of common law, nobody, not even the king, could close a traveled road and make it private property. A state maintenance truck, on the other hand, is state property, which can be sold if it no longer suits state purposes.

The earth, therefore, and all things therein, are the general property of all mankind, from the immediate gift of the Creator.

-- William Blackstone

It is a royal libertarian notion, and not a classical liberal ideal, to treat land as state property, for if land did not rightfully belong to the state, how could the state have granted it to favored citizens?

Classical liberals, not royal libertarians, are the ones who deny the state's right to appropriate the earth and allocate it to privileged individuals on favored terms. Classical liberals are also who hold the key to abolishing taxation, by suggesting that the community (not the state) charge a user fee to landholders based on the value of the land.

The ultimate user's fee

Classical liberals recognized that exclusive access to land, and especially to more land than one was using, was a privilege that should be paid for, thereby eliminating the need for taxes. It is not a fee for using land, but a fee for the state privilege of denying use of that land to everyone else.

Men did not make the earth....It is the value of the improvement only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property....Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.

-- Tom Paine, Agrarian Justice (http://geolib.com/essays/paine.tom/agjst.html), paragraphs 11 to 15

Another means of silently lessening the inequality of [landed] property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise.

-- Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison (http://www.let.rug.nl/usa/P/tj3/writings/brf/jefl41.htm), Oct. 28, 1785

Today's land value tax advocates consider graduated land value tax to be unnecessary and problematic, leading to artificial subdivision (and phony subdivision) of land. The point is that Jefferson, to whom libertarians pay homage, considered land monopoly a great evil and land value tax a remedy, as did many other classical liberals:

Both ground-rents and the ordinary rent of land are a species of revenue which the owner, in many cases, enjoys without any care or attention of his own. Though a part of this revenue should be taken from him in order to defray the expenses of the state, no discouragement will thereby be given to any sort of industry....Ground-rents and the ordinary rent of land are, therefore, perhaps, the species of revenue which can best bear to have a peculiar tax imposed upon them.

-- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations (http://www.econlib.org/library/Smith/smWN21.html#B.V, Ch.2, Of the Sources of the General or Public Revenue of the Society), Bk 5, Ch. 2, Pt 1

Suppose that there is a kind of income which constantly tends to increase, without any exertion or sacrifice on the part of the owners: those owners constituting a class in the community, whom the natural course of things progressively enriches, consistently with complete passiveness on their own part. In such a case it would be no violation of the principles on which private property is grounded, if the state should appropriate this increase of wealth, or part of it, as it arises. This would not properly be taking anything from anybody; it would merely be applying an accession of wealth, created by circumstances, to the benefit of society, instead of allowing it to become an unearned appendage to the riches of a particular class.

Now this is actually the case with rent. The ordinary progress of a society which increases in wealth, is at all times tending to augment the incomes of landlords; to give them both a greater amount and a greater proportion of the wealth of the community, independently of any trouble or outlay incurred by themselves. They grow richer, as it were in their sleep, without working, risking, or economizing. What claim have they, on the general principle of social justice, to this accession of riches? In what would they have been wronged if society had, from the beginning, reserved the right of taxing the spontaneous increase of rent, to the highest amount required by financial exigencies?


-- John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy (http://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlP64.html#Bk.V,Ch.II), Bk 5, Ch. 2


Two different kinds of indirect taxation

One of the most perverted twisting of concepts is reflected in what Hamilton called "indirect taxation." To him, and to many royal libertarians, indirect taxation is "hidden" taxation, as a value-added tax or sales tax that is buried in the price of purchased goods. This kind of indirectness is hardly admirable, and is similar to the kind of indirectness involved in chicanery and duplicity. Small wonder Jefferson called Hamilton a monarchist.

The Articles of Confederation (http://www.usconstitution.net/articles.html#Article8) embodied an entirely different concept of indirect taxation. The United States was to levy a tax, not on individual property holders, but on each state, based on its aggregate land value. The assumption was that each state would levy a similar tax on each county, and so on down to the individual. In this way, the individual would never have to face a federal tax agent directly, and if the federal government did not have the full support of the states, it could not bully them as easily as it could bully individuals.

Unfortunately, states did not support the federal government to its satisfaction from the beginning (being strapped from the war). Rather than working things out patiently, Hamilton introduced power-centralizing measures into the new Constitution. One was the other kind of indirect taxation, the mosquito-bite kind that you don't see happening. Royal libertarians trumpet this covert taxation as a virtue over direct real estate taxation, even when it means that "free trade" is being taxed.

Socialist Confusions

The classical liberal distinctions between land, labor and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/def2.htm) were greatly confused by socialists, and particularly Marxists, who substituted the fuzzy abstract term, "means of production," for all three factors. They also blurred the distinction between common property and state property, for socialists believed, as royalty also believed, that they were the people.

Today, the confusions between land and capital and between state property and common property are shared by socialists and royal libertarians, and only classical liberals keep these distinctions clearly defined. Yet royal libertarians frequently duck the land issue by charging that it is the classical liberals, not the royal libertarians, who have embraced socialist ideas.

Blocking Locke

John Locke (http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/locke/locke2/locke2nd-a.html#CHAP. V.) is often misrepresented by royal libertarians, who quote him very selectively. For example, Locke did say that:

Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property.

But Locke condemned anyone who took more than he needed as a "spoiler of the commons":

...if the fruits rotted, or the venison putrified, before he could spend it, he offended against the common law of nature, and was liable to be punished; he invaded his neighbour's share, for he had no right, farther than his use called for any of them, and they might serve to afford him conveniences of life.

The same measures governed the possession of land too: whatsoever he tilled and reaped, laid up and made use of, before it spoiled, that was his peculiar right; whatsoever he enclosed, and could feed, and make use of, the cattle and product was also his. But if either the grass of his enclosure rotted on the ground, or the fruit of his planting perished without gathering, and laying up, this part of the earth, notwithstanding his enclosure, was still to be looked on as waste, and might be the possession of any other.


Locke also restricted appropriation of land by the proviso, ignored by royal libertarians, that there must be

still enough, and as good left; and more than the yet unprovided could use. So that, in effect, there was never the less left for others because of his enclosure for himself: for he that leaves as much as another can make use of, does as good as take nothing at all.

Now if the situation is that there is enough free land, and as good, left after you take and cultivate your land, than your land has no market value, for who would pay you for land that is not better than land that can be had for free? So, besides the fact that Locke's justification of privatizing land is far more limited than royal libertarians portray it to be, it is irrelevant to the question of land value tax, as it applies only to land that has no value.

Furthermore, Locke based his scenario on pre-monetary societies, where a landholder would find that "it was useless, as well as dishonest, to carve himself too much, or take more than he needed." With the introduction of money, Locke noted, all land quickly became appropriated. Why? Because with money, those who can take more land than they have personal use for suddenly have reason to do so, as between them they will have taken all the land, and others will have to pay rent to them. So, with the introduction of money, the Lockean rationale for landed property falls apart, even according to Locke. And while Locke did not propose a remedy specifically for to this problem, he repeatedly stated that all taxes should be on real estate.

The tragedy of the common misunderstanding

In their search for excuses to deny any common right to land, royal libertarians are fond of citing Garrett Hardin's work, "Tragedy of the Commons." Or at least they cite the title, which is all most royal libertarians are familiar with. Hardin is himself an advocate of land value taxation, and has criticized misinterpretations of his work with the lament that "The title of my 1968 paper should have been "The Tragedy of the Unmanaged Commons.'" [Emphasis Hardin's]

Thoughtful Libertarian Party leadership

Fortunately, the bias toward royal libertarianism has been shaken off by many of the philosophical leaders of the party. Founder David Nolan (http://laissez-fairerepublic.com/nolan.htm) supports land value tax as the only tax that does not fall on productivity, and the late Karl Hess often described land value tax as the one tax to levy until the state could be abolished entirely. It is mostly the von Miseans, the Objectivists, and the wishful thinkers who adopt the royal rationalization that they can hoard all the land to themselves with impunity.

The red, red herring

Royal libertarians are fond of confusing the classical liberal concept of common land ownership, particularly as espoused by land value tax advocate Henry George, with socialism (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Is_this_socialism.html). Yet socialists have always been contemptuous of George and of the distinction between land monopoly (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Land_Monopoly.html) and capital monopolies. However, Frank Chodorov and Albert J. Nock (the original editors of The Freeman) were both advocates of George's economic remedies as well as lovers of individual liberty.

The only reformer abroad in the world in my time who interested me in the least was Henry George, because his project did not contemplate prescription, but, on the contrary, would reduce it to almost zero. He was the only one of the lot who believed in freedom, or (as far as I could see) had any approximation to an intelligent idea of what freedom is, and of the economic prerequisites to attaining it....One is immensely tickled to see how things are coming out nowadays with reference to his doctrine, for George was in fact the best friend the capitalist ever had. He built up the most complete and most impregnable defense of the rights of capital that was ever constructed, and if the capitalists of his day had had sense enough to dig in behind it, their successors would not now be squirming under the merciless exactions which collectivism is laying on them, and which George would have no scruples whatever about describing as sheer highwaymanry.

-- Albert J. Nock "Thoughts on Utopia"


Von Mises misses

Ludwig von Mises acknowledged in several places wholly unique distinctions between land and capital, but in his zeal to denounce land value tax, stated that,

Classical economy erred when it assigned land a distinct place in its theoretical scheme. Land is, in its economic sense, a factor of production, and the laws determining the formation of the prices of land are the same that determine the formation of other forms of production.

Or, paraphrasing Jay Leno, go ahead and buy up the land; we'll make more. The difference between land and capital is huge, and explains why the cost of silicon chips goes down as demand goes up, while the cost of Silicon Valley goes up as demand goes up. There is no natural monopolization of capital, but, with state sanction, there is monopolization of land. But von Mises would sooner obscure these distinctions in socialist fashion than to embrace a proposal he mistakenly thought to be socialist.

In his first edition of Human Action, von Mises attacked land value tax as based on the socialist principle that legitimate property flows only from labor. But that is also a libertarian principle, a classical liberal principle, an Austrian principle, and even the von Misean principle behind private property! So, by the third edition, von Mises changed his text to read that land taxers claim legitimate property flows only from manual labor.

This is much more logically consistent, but factually incorrect. It is a correct assessment of what many socialists believe, but it is not a correct assessment of what land taxers believe. Henry George, the most prominent land taxer of all, wrote in his magnum opus, Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html),

Thus the term labor includes all human exertion in the production of wealth, and wages, being that part of the produce which goes to labor, includes all reward for such exertion. There is, therefore, in the political-economic sense of the term, no distinction as to the kind of labor, or as to whether its reward is received through an employer or not....

George also defended the ownership of property that flows from the employment of capital.

Perhaps von Mises was biased by his location in Europe, where classical liberalism had not fared as well as in America. He might also have first seen land value tax in the Communist Manifesto, and not realized that it was there as a socialist ploy to co-opt support from classical liberalism. (Marx expressed contempt for land value tax as a reform in its own right, and openly stated that his support of it was only to draw people to what he really wanted, which was to control capital.) If this is where von Mises got his first exposure to the idea, it would not be surprising to see him close his mind to it.

Ayn Rand comes sooo close!

Ayn Rand made arguments against perpetual intellectual property that are remarkably similar to arguments against perpetual landed property. She also saw the distinction between land and capital in terms of common vs. private property, but fell back into confusion at other times. She rightly chastised the Encyclopaedia Brittanica's definition of capitalism for confusing land and capital, which she quoted as follows:

Fundamental to any system called capitalist are the relations between private owners of nonpersonal means of production (land, mines, industrial plants, etc., collectively known as capital) [emphasis Rand's]

Then she quoted a John Galt speech in Atlas Shrugged in which Galt stated sarcastically, "A factory is a `natural resource', like a tree, a rock or a mud puddle."

By Jove, I think she's...

But are the heroes of Atlas Shrugged real capitalists? The inventor John Galt is, and perhaps Hank Rearden of Rearden Metals is, too, although one wonders where he got his ore and fuel. But Taggart Railways enjoys extremely valuable right-of-way privileges from the state. (Once land is parceled out, it is virtually impossible to build a railroad without either land value tax or eminent domain.)

Then there is Francisco D'Anconia, who owned the world's richest copper deposits, and who took delight in blowing up his mines and driving the price of copper through the roof--something that would not work nearly as well for a capitalist as for a resource monopolist, as there is no way competitors can make copper ore that doesn't already exist, and, buried or not, D'Anconia's copper ore still belonged to him.

The economics of Galt's Gulch

Most revealing of all is the Randian utopia, Galt's Gulch (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_locations_in_Atlas_Shrugged#Galt.27s_Gulch), which was financed entirely from, yes, land rents. Midas Mulligan owned the whole place, and was, in essence, the government. All the common services, from Galt's magic energy machine to Hank Rearden's village railroad, to their defense system (some sort of jammer that made the valley invisible to passing planes) were financed from ground rents collected by Mulligan from the landholders. Although politically Galt's Gulch was a monarchy, economically it was a Georgist Single-Tax community, with all community services paid for from the rent of land.

Who has the authority to collect land rent?

Many libertarians struggle with the legitimate question of how any governing body achieves rightful jurisdiction in a community, and we join them in opposing collection by such super-statist organizations as the United Nations, which is substantially a federation of tyrannies. However, royal libertarians raise the question selectively and rhetorically in regard to community collection of land rents. They acknowledge that there must be courts to settle, among other things, property disputes. It seems rather obvious that whatever entity has authority to rule on who gets the land also has authority to rule on who gets the land rent.

Fear of a funded government

There is also a well founded libertarian concern that land rent could provide funds enough to support a corrupt and oppressive government. Most libertarian supporters of the governmental collection of land rent therefore fall into two camps. One would give the people power to limit how much money the government can take, but would stipulate that all such money come entirely from ground rents and natural resource severance royalties. The other would take the full rent, but would stipulate that the government can still only spend what the citizens authorize it to spend. The rest would be distributed on a per-capita basis.

Ending excuses for big government

Much of the government spending to which libertarians strenuously object is made necessary by its taxing productivity instead of land values.

The property tax (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Property_Tax.html) falls mostly on improvements, so less housing is built, giving the government an excuse to build public housing. Profits are taxed, leading to less employment and giving government an excuse to spend money on economic stimulus projects. Family income is taxed to the point that they have difficulty buying a house or sending their children to college, so government institutes subsidized mortgages and student loans.

Even the indirect effects are substantial. Land speculations (http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm) gone sour chew up inner cities, so poor people turn to crime (if drug selling and prostitution be crimes) and the government gets an excuse to beef up the police state.

Politically connected real estate interests see that they can buy up land in the boondocks for a pittance and then get other taxpayers to build them a superhighway, increasing the value of their holdings by orders of magnitude. With land value tax they would have ultimately paid for their own highway or more likely would not have had it built in the first place.

Even welfare increases do not stay in the hands of welfare recipients, but are quickly greeted by higher rent demands from ghetto landlords. (The War on Poverty (http://books.google.com/books?id=kC-Oujf_OKIC&source=gbs_navlinks_s) did little to end poverty, but it did a lot to enrich absentee owners of poor communities.)

[Continued... (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html)]

-------------------------------
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: MonkeyPuppet March 16, 2010, 01:38:01 PM
My first , and admittedly knee-jerk, reaction to this was "NO!", but after actually reading the information, it makes a lot more sense.

The current system is broken and has proven to be both ineffectual for the preservation of liberty, and has allowed the beast to run amok given the general ignorance of how a proper union of independent Republics should function.  I have no problem with indirect taxation at the federal level with regard to imports and exports, but it becomes quite destructive when turned inward.  However, I would prefer the coupling of LVT and the abolition of corporate person-hood.

For anyone having trouble "getting it" and poo-poo'ing the ideas set forth, read it again... it'll hit you like a ton of squishy bricks.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian April 15, 2010, 04:56:35 PM
http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html)

Sales Tax Destroys Commerce

by Dan Sullivan

Pennsylvania has virtually no shopping malls within 15 miles of Delaware, even though population density in that area is higher than anywhere else in Pennsylvania (and, for that matter, higher than in Delaware). Why the dearth of shopping malls? Because Pennsylvania has a 6% sales tax (7% in Philadelphia), and Delaware has no sales tax at all.

[Continued... (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html)]


http://www.progress.org/fold130.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold130.htm)

Taxes: 19th-century Sales versus 21st-century Rent

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
2000

The sales tax is a 19th-century tax that is becoming ever more unsuited for our global mobile 21st century economy. There is no logical or economic reason whatsoever for taxing sales. Yet there are those who advocate expanding this antiquated tax and forcing high transaction taxes on the global commerce of the internet.

It is unfortunate, and may even be a tragedy, that some USA tax reformers, seeing the evil of the income tax, advocate shifting to a national sales tax. This misguided movement for consumption and sales taxes is splitting the tax-reform movement and diverting energy and time away from realistic and beneficial tax reform.

[Continued... (http://www.progress.org/fold130.htm)]


http://web.archive.org/web/20100325150804/http://fairtaxfraud.com/book.asp (http://web.archive.org/web/20100325150804/http://fairtaxfraud.com/book.asp)

What it's all about: The Book

The Book, "The FairTax Book", written by right-wing radio talk show host Neal Boortz (http://www.antiwar.com/justin/jspecial112603.html), is the basis for and Bible for a recent right-wing cult-like movement to replace the current US tax code with a national sales tax. We suggest you familiarize yourself with it by purchasing or borrowing the book from your local library. We want you to be as informed as possible so that you can make a logical decision based on facts, and not on party loyalty or hype.

We consider the FairTax to be nothing more than a smokescreen for a huge tax cut to the wealthiest Americans and a gigantic tax increase for everyone else to make up for it. As you read, ask yourself what you would get from this plan if it was ever made into law. With critical thinking you will find that the FairTax is not only a lie and a scam, but it will throw many Americans into permanent poverty. We believe the FairTax plan taxes hard work - the sweat of our brows and the toil of our labor - while at the same time it makes free welfare money (inheritances, gifts, and capital gains), that wasn't worked for and wasn't earned, completely tax free.

The FairTax increases the size of government making all who sell or trade part of the Big Brother network. This new tax bill gives the government additional powers to rule the poor and literally grants additional rights to the wealthiest people in America. George Orwell would have been proud.

The FairTax is ANTI-FAMILY. The FairTax penalizes poor families for buying food, clothes, shelter, and medical care by taxing all the basic necessities of life. These things are NOT taxed right now (and shouldn't be) but they ARE HEAVILY TAXED under the FairTax plan. Remember this when you get barraged by a FairTax supporter that says the prebate will give you a portion of this additional tax back and you should be grateful to the new Big Brother Government for giving you anything back. The FairTax bill penalizes those who live paycheck to paycheck taxing every dollar spent to make ends meet while UN-TAXING the rich and wealthy who live off of inheritances, trusts, gifts, and old money.

[Continued... (http://web.archive.org/web/20100325150804/http://fairtaxfraud.com/book.asp)]


http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/fairtax.htm (http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/fairtax.htm)

The FAIRTAX: A TROJAN HORSE FOR AMERICA?

By Claire Wolfe & Aaron Zelman

“Abolish the IRS!”

So goes the cry. And who could disagree? The income tax is unAmerican in the most profound way, punishing people for being successful. The tax code is vast and incomprehensible. The agency that enforces it is universally loathed.

Yes, let's abolish the IRS. And the income tax.

Unfortunately, the statement that usually comes next begins, “And replace it with ...” And there a new round of troubles begin.

Over time, proposals have included replacing the graduated income tax with a flat tax, a VAT (value added tax), or some form of consumption tax. For several years now, the buzz has been growing for a national sales tax. While other “abolish the IRS” reforms have languished, the national sales tax has, as they say, developed legs.

The most durable proposal for a national sales tax – called the FairTax – is promoted by an organization called Americans for Fair Taxation (AFT) (http://www.fairtax.org). A bill to implement that tax (H.R. 25; Senate Bill 1943)(1) was introduced in Congress early in the 108th Congress. The so-called “Fair Tax Act” has 54 co-sponsors as of this writing, plus the outspoken support of both Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. President George W. Bush expressed cautious support for the act in response to a pre-screened questioner at one of his campaign events. In his acceptance speech at the 2004 Republican Party convention, Bush strongly advocated a total revamp of the U.S. tax system. Although he made no specific proposal, his language was similar to that of the FairTaxers. And at the moment, the FairTax is the only serious tax-revamp proposal on the Congressional table.

Finally, many, many ordinary freedom-loving people, weary of the present outrageous system, are cheering the FairTax as a great improvement.

But it's not.

The FairTax is not only not an improvement. We believe it's UnFair, dangerous, and a disaster in the making.

[Continued... (http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/fairtax.htm)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian April 15, 2010, 05:01:36 PM
http://www.progress.org/views/editorials/foldvary-make-labor-day-real-untax-wages/ (http://www.progress.org/views/editorials/foldvary-make-labor-day-real-untax-wages/)

Make Labor Day Real: Untax Wages!

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
September 01, 2003

In the United States, the holiday honoring workers is Labor Day, which falls on the first Monday in September. This year, 2003, Labor Day is September 1. Elsewhere in the world, May 1 is a common labor holiday.

Why is labor so celebrated, and why is labor not really honored? Why is labor feted in form, but little honored in substance? Why do those who decry the oppression of labor fail to advocate the reform that would best benefit labor?

Labor union leaders want legislation requiring workers in particular industries to be union members. They want the state to enforce picket lines and strikes. They seek laws mandating minimum wages, double pay for overtime work, pay for parental leave, and unemployment insurance. But the one law they do not call for is the abolition of taxes on wages.

Those who fancy themselves to be "progressive" complain about the flight of jobs to foreign countries. They criticize the government for high unemployment. They rally against sweatshop labor. They blame corporations for the exploitation of labor. But I never hear them call for the elimination of taxes on wages.

The single most important reform that labor would benefit from is to have wages free of all taxes. That includes not just income taxes on wages earned but also the taxation of wages when they are spent; value-added and sales taxes are just as much takings from wages as taxes on income. If you have to pay $10 to be in a room, it does not matter whether you have to pay the $10 when you enter or leave the room. The bottom line is that you have paid $10.

Governments all over the world tax labor heavily. It is as though labor were some kind of crime or evil that has to be punished. Taxing wages does not just reduce the take-home pay of the worker. Part of the cost is also borne by the employer. If the supply of labor were completely fixed and rigid, labor would bear all the tax. But in fact, with higher wages, more people want to work. So employers cannot arbitrarily lower the wage offer; they will not get enough labor if the wage they offer is too low. So some of the tax on labor is paid by employers as higher labor costs. They must offer somewhat higher wages to get the labor they need.

The cost of taxes on wages is shared by the employer and the employee. There is a tax wedge between the cost of labor to the employer and the net wage kept by the worker. Labor is made more expensive while workers have lower after-tax wages. With higher labor costs, there is less employment, less production, less investment, less growth, and more poverty.

The wage tax is the source of almost all the evil that befalls labor. The self-employed also must pay a wage tax. A self-employed worker implicitly pays himself a wage out of his profit, since if he were employed by another, he would earn that wage. The opportunity cost (http://www.landandfreedom.org/econ/econ1f.htm), the best wage foregone by not working for someone else, is the wage that a self-employed worker pays himself. Taxes on wages create a barrier to self-employment, reducing the options of workers who work for companies. It is easier for a boss to exploit labor if the workers cannot easily quit and be self-employed. Barriers to self-employment skew power to employers.

Besides the obvious, explicit taxes on wage, there are also hidden taxes that are substantial even if not apparent. Out of his wage the worker must pay rent for his dwelling. Land values and site rents get pumped up because the financing for public works come from wages rather than land rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm). A worker-tenant gets implicitly taxed again when he pays a higher rental for his dwelling because his landlord is being subsidized in the form of higher land rent.

But that's not the end of it. The rent subsidy to landowners incites them to buy more land, and speculative demand adds to the user demand. Land prices get driven up so high the worker must live far from work in the urban fringes and then commute long distances. The worker is taxed again. We have taxed-again workers, taxed again and again and again.

Taxes on wages are not just bad economics. The wage tax is a moral evil. A worker has a moral right to his own body, time, skills, and life. If not, he is a slave. Therefore, a worker has a moral right to the products and earnings of his labor. The taxation of wages is therefore an evil theft of his labor.

The majority of the people in all countries are workers. The best policy for workers to elevate wages, reduce unemployment, increase worker security, and improve labor conditions is to eliminate taxes on wages. The ultimate resources are land and labor, so the ultimate tax is on land and labor. If taxes there must be, to untax labor, we must shift all taxation to land rent.

Why is it that we see unions and progressives demand more money wages from employers, but not the shift of taxes from wages to rent? Why is the wrath of labor directed to their employers and not to their government representatives who tax their wages away?

If taxation were shifted from wages to rent, there would be a loss of land value to the owners of the most valuable real estate, commercial and industrial land. To protect their interests, the landed interests indoctrinate the masses to think that the conflict is between labor (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Labor.html) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm). They tuck land into capital and mask rent in profits and interest (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm). Faced with high housing costs, people seek subsidies, which further pump up land values at the expense of wages.

But labor advocates can't see beyond the immediate appearances, the companies which hire workers. They don't look beyond treatments of effects. They can't be bothered to investigate ultimate causes.

If we want to be honest, we should change "Labor Day" to "Landowner Day," because labor policy benefits land owning instead of labor, and labor leaders do little to change this. Have a happy Landowner Day!
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian April 21, 2010, 01:13:27 PM
Since the value-added tax (VAT) has been in the news lately, and since most Americans seem to know little if anything about this horrendous tax -- and thus how it compares with other taxes -- I thought I’d start off by posting the following excerpt (all emphasis original):

-------------------------------

“One proposal is to substantially reduce or replace personal and corporate income taxes with a tax on consumption. One such tax is the value-added tax (VAT), which is like a retail sales tax except that it applies only to the difference between the value of a firm’s sales and the value of its purchases from other firms. For example, Intel would pay the VAT—say, 7 percent—on the difference between the value of the microchips it produces and sells and the value of the materials used to make the chips. Compaq, IBM, and other firms which buy the chips and other components to make personal computers would subtract the value of these materials from the value of their sales of personal computers. They would then pay the 7 percent tax on that difference—on the value they added.

“Economists reason that since the VAT would apply to all firms, sellers could shift their VATs to buyers in the form of higher prices without loss of sales to other firms. Final consumers, who cannot shift the tax, would end up paying the full VAT as 7 percent higher prices. So a VAT would amount to a national sales tax on consumer goods.”

-- Campbell R. McConnell & Stanley L. Brue, Economics, 14th ed., pp. 657-8

-------------------------------

There’s a widely propagated myth concerning the VAT that is revealed in the above quote:

“Economists reason that since the VAT would apply to all firms, sellers could shift their VATs to buyers in the form of higher prices without loss of sales to other firms.”

The establishment economists who employ this argument are obviously counting on the gullible masses to ignore or overlook the obvious questions it begs: If, due to the VAT-caused spike in prices, retail stores experienced a consequent drop in sales, wouldn’t this force them to reduce how much they purchase from the producers of what they’re attempting to sell? And wouldn’t that, in turn, trigger the very “loss” in sales -- and hence in available “investment” dollars -- from which the process of “shifting” the VAT to consumers would allegedly protect mining, agricultural and manufacturing firms?

One doesn’t have to have a degree in economics to see clearly that the answer to both questions is a resounding “yes!”

So we see that, contrary to popular belief, the VAT penalizes and discourages not just “consumption,” but production as well. It is a tax on -- as Robert De Fremery (http://monetary.org/rights.htm) would put it -- the “privately created values” of labor and capital goods (“capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm)” for short). Only in the Orwellian fantasy world of economic snake-oil salesmen can such a tax be imposed without penalizing production as well as consumption, and without reducing (consequently) the ability of the average firm to invest in production.

Bottom line: like the ridiculous carbon tax (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-pushes-carbon-tax-proposal-that-would-inflict-new-great-depression.html), the VAT is just one more glorified way of taxing labor and capital to death while leaving publicly created land values (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) comparatively untaxed -- all so overprivileged landlords, slumlords and banklords can continue to quietly parasitize both wage-earners and productive entrepreneurs through systematic rent-gouging.

Ever notice how you never hear that particular assessment from either Keynesians (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_on-john-maynard-keynes.html) or Austrians (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=192293.0)? And on the issue of monetary reform, ever notice how both groups -- despite being supposed “opposites” -- seem equally opposed (albeit for different reasons) to debt-free Greenbacks (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=98465.msg581271#msg581271)?

If so, why do you suppose that is?

Could it be that Democrat-vs.-Republican (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTahZE4q90U) is not the only “false paradigm” within which countless people have allowed their minds and intellects to be literally enslaved via elite-funded propaganda campaigns? Could the reason why Austrians obsessively attack Keynesians -- and vice versa (http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-ausmain.htm) -- be that each group must rely heavily upon the other’s fatally flawed agenda as comparative foil against which to define its own, lest the masses they’re trying desperately to dupe notice the respective flaws in each?

Read the following and decide for yourself:

       http://www.henrygeorge.org/isms.htm (http://www.henrygeorge.org/isms.htm)
       http://www.politicaleconomy.org/gaffney.htm (http://www.politicaleconomy.org/gaffney.htm)
       http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Andelson_HGRC.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Andelson_HGRC.html)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian April 22, 2010, 10:15:08 AM
Bottom line: like the ridiculous carbon tax (http://propagandamatrix.com/forum/index.php/topic,5051.msg9657.html#msg9657), the VAT is just one more glorified way of taxing labor and capital to death while leaving publicy created land values (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) largely untaxed -- all so overprivileged landlords, slumlords and banklords can continue to quietly parasitize both wage-earners and productive entrepreneurs through systematic rent-gouging.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/bankers-prepare-to-assault-americans-with-vat-transaction-taxes.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/bankers-prepare-to-assault-americans-with-vat-transaction-taxes.html)

Bankers Prepare To Assault Americans With VAT, Transaction Taxes

Obama: Value-added tax still on the table despite White House assurances otherwise, campaign promise not to raise taxes for families earning under $250,000 a year

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, April 22, 2010

The global banking elite are preparing to assault Americans with two huge new tax increases as President Obama contradicts the assurances of White House aides and his own campaign trail promise by asserting that a VAT tax is still on the table, as the IMF outlines a new tax on financial transactions that is being hailed as a blow to the banks yet represents another stealth tax on the people.

“President Barack Obama suggested Wednesday that a new value-added tax on Americans is still on the table, seeming to show more openness to the idea than his aides have expressed in recent days,” reports the Associated Press (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100421/ap_on_bi_ge/us_obama_tax).

Obama’s signal that he may embrace a European-style VAT tax follows former Fed chairman Paul Volcker’s call for a value-added tax (http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2009/09/29/volcker-carbon-tax-vat-should-be-on-the-table/tab/article/). In response, the U.S. Senate passed a nonbinding “sense of the Senate” resolution labeling any such move, “a massive tax increase that will cripple families on fixed income and only further push back America’s economic recovery.”

Not happy with hitting Americans with a roughly 20% increase in living costs that a VAT tax would impose, Volcker also called for a carbon tax in the name of solving the widely discredited scam of man-made global warming, a new levy that is already being introduced at the state level (http://www.prisonplanet.com/cap-and-trade-scam-to-be-enforced-at-state-level.html).

Despite the fact that White House aides dismissed the prospect of a national sales tax only on Monday (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/04/19/white-house-dismisses-speculation-national-sales-tax-1262105468/), Obama’s u-turn once again contradicts his pre-election promise that he would not raise taxes for American families earning under a quarter of a million dollars a year.

During a speech on the campaign trail, Obama promised, “No family making under $250,000 dollars a year will see any form of tax increase.”

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HE-rGGKksQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HE-rGGKksQ)

However, the VAT tax is a flat rate levy that applies to everyone, and it will dramatically increase the cost of living for Americans already laboring under the greatest financial meltdown since 1929. As CNS News highlights (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/64529), VAT is also labeled “consumption tax, because it applies to items at every stage of production. Such a tax would affect purchasers at all income levels.”

Obama’s failure to keep his promise that families would not “see any form of tax increase” has force him to lie in public addresses and claim that he only ever promised not to increase income tax on families earning under $250,000.

“And one thing we have not done is raise income taxes on families making less than $250,000,” Obama said on April 10. “That’s another promise we’ve kept.”

As CNS News’ Fred Lucas points out, in addition to any future VAT tax, “The $1-trillion health care overhaul bill contains at least 12 taxes and fees that will affect households earning less than $250,000.”

In our special report on tax increases contained in the Obamacare bill (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obamacare-taxing-the-american-people-into-oblivion.html), we identified dozens of tax increases, most of which would apply to families making under $250,000 a year.

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/bankers-prepare-to-assault-americans-with-vat-transaction-taxes.html)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian April 26, 2010, 09:56:03 AM
http://www.infowars.com/obama-debt-czar-says-tax-hikes-on-the-table/ (http://www.infowars.com/obama-debt-czar-says-tax-hikes-on-the-table/)

Obama Debt Czar Says Tax Hikes “On The Table”   

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Monday, April 26, 2010

The Democratic co-chairman of President Obama’s debt commission, Erskine Bowles, told Fox News Sunday that tax hikes for Americans are “on the table,” despite Obama’s election campaign promise that no individual earning under $200,000 dollars a year would be hit with any tax increases.

Asked if he felt bound by the President’s pledge, Bowles responded, “Everything is on the table, we’re going to look at every single way to right this fiscal ship….raising revenue, we have to have everything on the table.”

Bowles also said that a European-style VAT tax, which would increase living costs by as much as 25 per cent, was also under consideration.

“I think that there are many good arguments that you could make for a value-added tax or a consumption tax as oppose to a tax on wages but I think it’s just one of the things that ought to be on the table that we ought to discuss.”

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F2ftIhPkiQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4F2ftIhPkiQ)

Bowles’ suggestion that a VAT tax would supplant or be offset by a reduction in income tax is likely a ruse. People in Europe pay the highest levels of income tax in the world but they are also forced to pay VAT on most goods at a level between 15-25 per cent in addition to costly income tax rates.

VAT taxes are typically introduced at low rates in order to dampen opposition, but then gradually raised over the course of decades. For example (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Value_added_tax#The_Nordic_countries), Denmark’s VAT tax started at 9 per cent in 1962, but today has bloated to a whopping 25 per cent.

The 18 members of the debt commission will unveil their plan by December 1.

The prospect of income tax hikes contradicts Obama’s pre-election promise that he would not raise taxes for American families earning under a quarter of a million dollars a year.

During a speech on the campaign trail, Obama guaranteed, “No family making under $250,000 dollars a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”

“You will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime,” Obama repeatedly vowed.

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HE-rGGKksQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HE-rGGKksQ)

As we have highlighted (http://www.prisonplanet.com/bankers-prepare-to-assault-americans-with-vat-transaction-taxes.html), even aside from any income tax hikes, Americans already face a myriad of tax increases under Obamacare, a potential VAT tax, not to mention a future consumption tax based on CO2 emissions.

As the Associated Press reported On April 1 (http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D979POSG0&show_article=1), the largest ever increase in tobacco tax, and one that would disproportionately affect the poor, was passed by Obama despite his pledge to protect lower earners.

Last week, Obama himself said that a value-added tax, which would hit Americans across the income bracket but particularly the poor and struggling middle class, was “still on the table” just days after White House aides had assured otherwise.
: The carbon tax
: Geolibertarian May 18, 2010, 06:07:41 PM
The carbon tax has also been in the news. The economic snake-oil salesmen who shamelessly peddle this ridiculous scheme routinely claim that it will "curb emissions" while helping to "strengthen" our economy. Now, since it is the wealth (http://www.politicaleconomy.org/speII_1.htm)-producing process of applying labor (http://www.henrygeorge.org/def2.htm#blec) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) to land (http://www.landandfreedom.org/econ/econ2f.htm) that generates much of the man-made carbon (http://www.populartechnology.net/2008/11/carbon-dioxide-co2-is-not-pollution.html) emissions that global warming (http://www.wnho.net/global_warming.htm) cultists incessantly wax alarmist about, what the aforementioned salesmen are essentially claiming is that -- even though labor and capital are taxed to death already -- if we tax them even more, that will magically improve our collapsing economy.  

The truth, of course, is the very opposite:

------------------------------------

http://www.prisonplanet.com/kerry-%e2%80%93-lieberman-corrupt-climate-science-used-to-destroy-us-economy.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/kerry-%e2%80%93-lieberman-corrupt-climate-science-used-to-destroy-us-economy.html)

Kerry – Lieberman: Corrupt Climate Science Used To Destroy US Economy

Dr. Tim Ball
Canada Free Press
May 18, 2010

The Kerry – Lieberman American Power Act (APA) is a disastrous, unnecessary solution for a non-existent problem. Worse, it’s a problem that exists only in a grossly inadequate computer model whose projections have never been correct. It is predicated on the false assumption that an increase in CO2 causes a temperature increase. Every record of any duration for any period in Earth’s history shows temperature increases before CO2 increases.  The false assumption is the basis of all global warming and climate change used in the corrupted research and models of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It is impossible to imagine such an unjustified basis for any action, except to undermine the US economy for political gain.

It will make the US economy uncompetitive, dramatically increase the cost of living and give more power to the government. This is already proven in the failure of countries that have pursued similar alternative energies and green economies.

The name of the Act is in the deceptive tradition of climate-based energy policy. It was carbon credits, then carbon tax, cap and trade, and now the APA but they are all the same and completely unnecessary.  Carbon credits were designed as a global equalization of wealth. Developed nations had to pay for the sin of making their money by using fossil fuels and producing the planet destroying global warming. Cap and Trade appeared virtuous by capping the planet-destroying CO2 while creating trade and business opportunity. It is actually the same old tax grab with more government control. The APA invokes patriotism and implies energy independence, especially from oil. The spill in the Gulf is unfortunate but has reinforced the push. As Rahm Emmanuel, White House Chief of Staff said (http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/11/18/determined-not-to-make-news-emanuel-speaks-of-era-of-reform/), “Never let a serious crisis go to waste.”

The IPCC Provide Corrupt Scientific Basis

It provides the leverage to achieve the stated Obama administration goal of energy independence and a shift to alternative energy. However, it is much more than that because as Richard Lindzen (http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.Blogs&ContentRecord_id=b4f81115-802a-23ad-4e54-f0137d7a406f&Issue_id) said “Controlling carbon is a bureaucrats dream. If you control carbon you control life.”

The IPCC Reports and especially the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) are used to demonize CO2. Ironically, they provide evidence of how inadequate they are for taking such dramatic, drastic and unnecessary political action.

In the Reports what is initially included and then excluded tells the story. For example, a graph (Figure 1) showing the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was included in the 1990 IPCC Report. It was a problem for Michael Mann and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) so it disappeared in later reports and then was replaced in the 2001 Report by the corrupted ‘hockey stick’ graph, as they rewrote history.

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/kerry-%e2%80%93-lieberman-corrupt-climate-science-used-to-destroy-us-economy.html)]


http://www.prisonplanet.com/will-the-new-green-economy-kill-the-american-dream-for-millions-of-people.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/will-the-new-green-economy-kill-the-american-dream-for-millions-of-people.html)

Will The New Green Economy Kill The American Dream For Millions Of People?

The American Dream
May 21, 2010

As Barack Obama and U.S. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman continue to try to ramrod a "green economy bill" (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20004830-503544.html) down the throats of the American people, many Americans are openly wondering what this new green economy is going to cost all of us. After all, two new reports have just come out that clearly indicate that “climate change legislation” is really, really bad for an economy. In fact, many are projecting that the cap and trade system that Barack Obama and the Democrats wish to impose on all of us will end up killing the American Dream for millions of people. At a time when the U.S. economy is already coming apart at the seams, the last thing we need is another huge mountain of oppressive regulations heaped on to American businesses. This is especially true considering the fact that global corporations have already shown that they will ship manufacturing jobs out of the United States at the drop of a hat. The reality is that the new green economy is not going to be good for any of us, and the American people need to wake up to that fact.

First of all, before we explore the economic dangers of this new green economy, we should make it clear that carbon dioxide simply does not cause global warming.

Dr. Tim Ball, a renowned environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, has studied this for years and he says that it abundantly clear that carbon dioxide cannot possibly cause “global warming” (http://www.newsmax.com/brennan/congress_global_warming/2009/06/25/229081.html)….

“CO2 is about 1.5 the density of air. One of the great fallacies promoted by [the proponents of the global warming theory] is that CO2 is well and quickly mixed through the atmosphere. It isn’t. They also argue that the CO2 is most effective in trapping heat from the Earth (infrared) at the top of the atmosphere. This is why the computer models predicted greatest warming at the top of the atmosphere over the tropics. The problem is the actual measurements show that is not happening.”

The truth is that carbon dioxide is one of the fundamental building blocks of life. In fact, scientists tell us that there were times in the earth’s past when there were much, much higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there are now. When there is more carbon dioxide, plant life thrives and there is more food for everyone.

But the environmentalists just won’t listen. It is as if nothing will shake their blind faith in global warming. But the facts are out there for anyone with an open mind. For much more on the fraud of “global warming”, just check out the following article: “How To Save The Environment? Get Al Gore The Heck Away From It” (http://howtohelpsavetheenvironment.com/archives/how-to-save-the-environment-get-al-gore-the-heck-away-from-it).

In fact, even if we eliminated every single source of carbon dioxide emissions caused by humans, it would hardly make a dent in total worldwide carbon emissions. Over 95% of total carbon dioxide emissions would occur even if humans were not present on Earth.

So those who are trying so hard to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in order to “save the environment” are chasing after some sort of a fantasy.

That wouldn’t be so bad if their delusions weren’t about to crush the U.S. economy.

Analysts are calling this new green economy bill in the U.S. Senate a “job killer” that would push energy bills through the roof and would drive jobs and businesses overseas at a record pace.

So is there any evidence that those things would actually happen?

Well, yes there is.

*A leaked internal assessment produced by Spain’s Zapatero administration reveals that Spain’s “green economy” has been an absolute economic nightmare (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spains-green-policies-an-economic-disaster/) for that nation. Energy rates in Spain have “skyrocketed” and the new green economy there has lost more than two jobs for every job that it has created. All of this has pushed Spain to the brink of economic disaster. In fact, economists all over the world say that Spain is now one of the nations most likely to experience a Greek-style financial collapse.

*According to a new study by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, a state law that requires power plants, factories and other businesses to cut greenhouse gas emissions could cause energy prices to rise and prompt businesses to delay expansion or flee California (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-green-law-20100519,0,5231198.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fbusiness+%28L.A.+Times+-+Business%29&utm_content=Google+Reader).

Not that this should be shocking for anyone.

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/will-the-new-green-economy-kill-the-american-dream-for-millions-of-people.html)]

------------------------------------
: Cap and Trade: A Gigantic Scam
: Geolibertarian May 24, 2010, 11:10:12 AM
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19294 (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=19294)

Cap and Trade: A Gigantic Scam

by Washington's Blog
Global Research, May 23, 2010
Washington's Blog - 2010-05-22

As I pointed out (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/12/leading-global-warming-crusader-cap-and.html) in December:

--------------------------

According to James Hansen - the world's leading climate scientist fighting against global warming - in a interview on Democracy Now that cap and trade not only won't reduce emissions, it may actually increase them:


See also this (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/12/worlds-leading-global-warming-crusader.html) and this (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/05/friends-of-the-earth-attacks-carbon-trading).

Environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8343489.stm) are also against cap and trade (and see this (http://www.foe.org/subprimecarbon) and this (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-leaders-of-the-rich-world-are-enacting-a-giant-fraud-1837963.html)), as is the head of California's cap and trade program (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/12/head-of-californias-cap-and-trade.html) for the EPA.

Hansen also told Goodman that (notwithstanding Paul Krugman's assertions) most economists say that cap and trade won't work:


As I have previously pointed out:

*  The economists who invented cap-and-trade say (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/08/economists-who-invented-cap-and-trade.html) that it won't work for global warming

*  European criminal investigators have determined (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/03/copenhagen-summit-carbon-trading-scam) that there is a tremendous amount of fraud occurring in the carbon trading market. Indeed, organized crime has largely taken over (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/14/fraud-europes-cap-trade-red-flag-critics-say/) the European cap and trade market.

*  Former U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs Robert Shapiro says (http://www.carbontax.org/blogarchives/2009/06/03/waxman-markey-politics-as-usual-meets-climate-change/) that the proposed cap and trade law "has no provisions to prevent insider trading by utilities and energy companies or a financial meltdown from speculators trading frantically in the permits and their derivatives."

*  Our bailout buddies over at Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and the other Wall Street behemoths are buying heavily into carbon trading (see this (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704500604574481812686144826.html), this (http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/10/27/street-cred-goldman-sachs-buys-into-carbon-credit-developer/), this (http://www.reuters.com/article/GCA-BusinessofGreen/idUSTRE58D3MH20090914?sp=true), this (http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/goldman-sachs-buys-into-carbon-offsets/), this (http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2008/05/trading-sub-prime-carbon-52326), this (http://www2.goldmansachs.com/services/advising/environmental-markets/business-initiatives/trading-and-cap-markets.html) and this (http://www2.goldmansachs.com/ideas/environment-and-energy/goldman-sachs/low-carbon-world.pdf)). As University of Maryland economics professor and former Chief Economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission Peter Morici writes (http://www.counterpunch.org/morici12052008.html):


In other words, the same companies that made billions off of derivatives and other scams and are now getting bailed out on your dime are going to make billions from carbon trading.

One the largest boosters for cap and trade invented credit default swaps (http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/12/woman-who-invented-credit-default-swaps.html) - which were supposed to increase financial stability, but instead were a large part of the reason that the world economy crashed last year.

--------------------------

Jeanne Roberts provides (http://www.celsias.com/article/emissions-related-tax-fraud-surrounds-eu-carbon-pr/) an update at environmental website Celsius:

: Obama To Push Nightmare Carbon Tax In Oval Office Speech
: Geolibertarian June 15, 2010, 06:25:36 PM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-to-push-nightmare-carbon-tax-in-oval-office-speech.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-to-push-nightmare-carbon-tax-in-oval-office-speech.html)

Obama To Push Nightmare Carbon Tax In Oval Office Speech

Globalists to fully exploit suspicious BP oil spill in pursuit of “green economy” fascism

(http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01655/obama_1655243c.jpg)

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

President Barack Obama will tonight dispense with all restraint and fully exploit the BP oil spill to push the nightmare globalist agenda of a green economy, a carbon tax on human emissions, and an army of environmental enforcers to implement total big government tyranny.

Obama will announce the acceleration towards an agenda firmly supported by the transnational oil corporations that he is claiming to be reigning in (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2007/280307globalistslove.htm) – a post-industrial revolution characterized by artificial scarcity, soaring gas and electricity prices, and a carbon tax that will cripple the economy and drastically lower the living standards of American citizens, completely eviscerating the middle class.

“His agenda is to exaggerate the significance of the oil spill crisis to massive proportions, for two reasons,” writes the Telegraph’s Gerald Warner (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/geraldwarner/100043493/barack-obama-turns-the-oil-spill-into-his-poor-mans-911-to-revive-cap-and-trade-climate-legislation/). “The first is that, the more Americans can be persuaded to regard the accident as a monumental, historic disaster, the less his patent impotence in the face of it will appear blameworthy. His second reason is that, in accordance with the Emanuel doctrine (never let a good crisis go to waste), he sees this as an opportunity to breathe new life into his moribund Cap-and-Trade climate change legislation.”

The EPA has been busy today floating propaganda (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jgtia8XJDhtzR-ed3ZzuVOLC4DvQD9GBTM380) about how Obama’s cap and trade legislation would cost Americans an average of $79 to $146 per year. In reality, as we have documented, the bill would see some $2.9 trillion shaved off the economy by the year 2050 if enacted. The legislation would also reduce GDP by 6.9 percent – a figure comparable with the economic meltdown of 1929 and 1930 (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/032108_great_depression.htm).

This “green economy” has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate, virtually bankrupt and in need of being bailed out (http://www.prisonplanet.com/eu-leaders-to-thrash-out-multi-billion-pound-rescue-package-for-spain-as-it-faces-bankruptcy.html) by the rest of Europe.

A newly leaked internal document (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spains-green-policies-an-economic-disaster/) from Spain’s Zapatero administration outlines how Spain’s “green economy initiatives” have been a financial disaster. In this so-called “green economy”, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created.

In addition, the alarming indications that strongly suggest those closest to BP and major stockholders like Goldman Sachs exploited foreknowledge (http://www.prisonplanet.com/attorney-deepwater-horizon-managers-knew-about-oil-rig-problem-before-explosion.html) of the “accident” to position themselves financially to avoid the consequences only makes Obama’s exploitation of the disaster even more insidious.

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-to-push-nightmare-carbon-tax-in-oval-office-speech.html)]
: Obama Plans To Sneak Through Carbon Tax By Stealth
: Geolibertarian June 18, 2010, 10:55:56 AM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-plans-to-sneak-through-carbon-tax-by-stealth.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-plans-to-sneak-through-carbon-tax-by-stealth.html)

Obama Plans To Sneak Through Carbon Tax By Stealth

Job killing, economy wrecking, middle class destroying consumption tax to be added in lame duck session after November elections

(http://www.prisonplanet.com/images/june2010/180610top.jpg)

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Friday, June 18, 2010

President Obama is planning to sneak through his job-killing, economy wrecking carbon tax by stealth according to the Washington Post, by passing a weakened bill and then adding in cap and trade provisions after the heat is off following the November elections.

Described as the “lame duck climate strategy,” Obama is planning to secure enough votes in the Senate to pass a weakened energy bill and then drag out the conference long enough to ensure the stronger provisions contained in the original House version are added “after lawmakers have faced voters in November, thereby cushioning the vote’s political impact.”

“Several sources familiar with the administration’s thinking confirmed it has started pressing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to bring up a slimmed-down energy and climate bill next month. Such a measure would pass more easily than a comprehensive climate bill, and could still be negotiated with the broader bill the House passed a year ago,” reports the Washington Post (http://views.washingtonpost.com/climate-change/post-carbon/2010/06/the_white_houses_lame-duck_climate_strategy.html).

Knowing that the “energy bill” represents nothing less than another massive plunder of the American taxpayer and is widely unpopular, Senators will only stab their constituents in the back and vote for the more nightmarish aspects of the legislation, including a tax on the very substance they exhale, after they have secured their seats in November.

As we highlighted last week, plans to impose a carbon tax on American citizens appeared to fade after Republican Senator Lindsey Graham shockingly reversed his views on climate change, telling a press conference that the science behind man-made global warming is in question and those pushing it are alarmists who have oversold the problem.

“The Senate is expected to try and push a watered down bill with the hope of moving towards a carbon tax later on,” we reported on June 10 (http://www.prisonplanet.com/carbon-tax-bill-may-be-dead-after-shock-graham-reversal-on-climate-change.html), which is exactly the approach now being adopted by Obama.

The elite are still desperate to impose a consumption tax on Americans as part of the move towards a “post-industrial revolution” and the kind of nightmare “green economy” that has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate. In a so-called green economy, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spains-green-policies-an-economic-disaster/).

The EPA has been busy floating propaganda about how Obama’s cap and trade legislation would cost Americans an average of $79 to $146 per year. In reality, as we have documented, the stronger provisions of the bill would see around $2.9 trillion shaved off the economy by the year 2050 if enacted. The legislation would also reduce GDP by 6.9 percent (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/032108_great_depression.htm) – a figure comparable with the economic meltdown of 1929 and 1930.

A carbon tax would impact almost every aspect of Americans’ lives, from higher gas prices, to soaring utility bills, to exorbitant excesses related to the “energy efficiency” of their homes. It would be enforced by an army of environmental regulators and green police poking their noses into the private affairs of citizens.

The government has aggressively exploited the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (http://infowars.net/articles/june2010/140610Green.htm) to manufacture an artificial urgency in an effort to speed the passage of cap and trade, an agenda firmly supported (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2007/280307globalistslove.htm) by the transnational oil corporations Obama is claiming to be reigning in. British Petroleum is one of the founding members of the cap and trade lobby (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Once-a-government-pet-BP-now-a-capitalist-tool-95942659.html), and has consistently “lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.”

Yesterday, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt invoked the oil spill disaster to justify passage of the carbon tax bill.

“The tragedy in the gulf underscores the need to move quickly, and the president is committed to finding the votes for comprehensive energy legislation this year,” said LaBolt.

Obama himself even went to the extreme (http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38468.html) of comparing the oil spill to 9/11, proving that he is perfectly willing to exploit the horror of nearly 3,000 dead Americans in a completely unrelated event nine years ago to underhandedly push his political agenda.
: Harvard Professor: ‘Exploit Gulf Disaster For Carbon Tax’
: Geolibertarian July 08, 2010, 11:23:11 AM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/harvard-professor-exploit-gulf-disaster-for-carbon-tax.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/harvard-professor-exploit-gulf-disaster-for-carbon-tax.html)

Harvard Professor: ‘Exploit Gulf Disaster For Carbon Tax’

Bilderberger Rogoff openly embraces nightmare scenario of hurricanes pushing oil onshore as a way of “exploiting tragedy” to create political momentum behind Obama’s dreaded green economy

(http://www.prisonplanet.com/images/july2010/080710top.jpg)

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, July 8, 2010

Top elitist and Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff has shamefully called for the BP oil spill disaster to be exploited in order to create political momentum behind a carbon tax, even going to the lengths of embracing the nightmare scenario of hurricanes pushing the oil onshore as a way to create political momentum behind Obama’s dreaded “green economy”.

In an opinion piece for the Korea Times (http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2010/07/137_68963.html), Rogoff sensationally warns that failure to exploit the tragedy for political ends would represent a “lost opportunity,” a startling display of mercenary indiscretion, and a shining example of what we warned about from the very beginning, that elitists would waste little time in pointing to heart-rendering images of oil-covered birds and dead wildlife as part of a crass stunt to push their consumption tax agenda.

Rogoff is a Bilderberg Group member, having attended the 2006 conference of global elitists in Germany. He is also a regular attendee of Trilateral Commission meetings. Rogoff is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/author/kenneth-s-rogoff) and writes for the group’s publication Foreign Affairs. He is currently Professor of Economics at Harvard University, having previously served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund, and at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve.

“The fact is, the BP oil spill is on the cusp of becoming a political game-changer of historic proportions. If summer hurricanes push huge quantities of oil onto Florida’s beaches and up the Eastern seaboard, the resulting political explosion will make the reaction to the financial crisis seem muted,” writes Rogoff, seemingly salivating about the potential of an even greater tragedy that would contribute to “rekindling interest in a carbon tax”.

Later in the article, Rogoff brazenly states that “exploiting tragedy” in the Gulf is just one way of filling the coffers of the federal government.

He goes on to laud the visual propaganda value of “high-definition images of oil spewing from the bottom of the ocean” in addition to a “blackened coastline and devastated wildlife” as a tool through which to mobilize young people into lobbying for a tax on the very substance they exhale.

Exploiting the catastrophe is necessary to “catalyze support for an American environmental policy with teeth,” writes Rogoff, noting that the cap and trade system basically amounts to the same thing as a carbon tax and is just a trick to hide the use of the incendiary word “tax”. Of course, that policy has little to do with the environment and everything to do with fattening the wallets of the people invested in the cap and trade scam, the same alarmists who push claptrap about global warming and CO2, Rogoff’s elitist buddies Al Gore, Maurice Strong and the rest of the globalists (http://www.prisonplanet.com/research-reports-obama-intimately-tied-to-phony-environmental-movement.html) who own and run the cap and trade scheme.

Cap and trade was also founded and funded by big oil conglomerates – which is why transnational oil companies have been the most vehement peddlers of global warming propaganda (http://www.prisonplanet.com/oil-companies-support-global-warming-alarmists-not-skeptics.html).

Companies like British Petroleum and Exxon Mobil have been amongst the biggest promoters of man-made global warming because they are headed up by one-world globalists who understand that the carbon tax will do nothing to help the environment but will be used to bankroll the implementation of global government while swallowing up whatever deposable income impoverished Americans have left.

The government has aggressively exploited the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (http://infowars.net/articles/june2010/140610Green.htm) to manufacture an artificial urgency in an effort to speed the passage of cap and trade, an agenda firmly supported by the transnational oil corporations Obama is claiming to be reigning in. British Petroleum is one of the founding members of the cap and trade lobby (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Once-a-government-pet-BP-now-a-capitalist-tool-95942659.html), and has consistently “lobbied for tax hikes, greenhouse gas restraints, the stimulus bill, the Wall Street bailout, and subsidies for oil pipelines, solar panels, natural gas and biofuels.”

The elite are still desperate to impose a consumption tax on Americans as part of the move towards a “post-industrial revolution” and the kind of nightmare “green economy” that has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate. In a so-called green economy, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spains-green-policies-an-economic-disaster/). Electricity prices in Spain have “skyrocketed (http://www.prisonplanet.com/carbon-tax-on-electricity-to-send-prices-skyrocketing.html)” since the implementation of these policies, according to a leaked government report.

Rogoff is merely parroting Obama in the push to hype the oil spill beyond all reasonable levels in a move to exploit an inflated crisis. In comparing the spill to 9/11, Obama signified that he was not going to let a good crisis go to waste, as his top advisor Rahm Emanuel would no doubt have reminded him (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yeA_kHHLow).

Kenneth Rogoff is the neo-lib equivalent of neo-con Stu Bykofsky, a Philadelphia Daily News columnist (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/august2007/100807_dead_americans.htm) who called for there to be more terror attacks in order to “restore America’s righteous rage”. In effect, Rogoff is drooling with anticipation at the total devastation a massive hurricane would bring to the region, and how out of the panic globalists could ram through their entire carbon tax agenda with little opposition.

We invite readers to politely email Rogoff and let him know that Americans will not pay a tax on the life-giving, harmless trace gas which helps plants grow in order to enrich the coffers of Al Gore, British Petroleum, Maurice Strong, Barack Obama, and the rest of the criminals pushing this fraud in a concerted effort to reduce our living standards and usher in a “post-industrial revolution” and a one world government.

Contact Rogoff at krogoff@harvard.edu.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: H0llyw00d July 08, 2010, 11:39:34 AM
Rogoff got an email ;)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian July 08, 2010, 11:59:37 AM
Rogoff got an email

In the new Nazi Amerika, that's all it takes to get charged with a felony these days!  ::)

       http://www.infowars.com/man-charged-with-felony-email-harassment-for-writing-senator/ (http://www.infowars.com/man-charged-with-felony-email-harassment-for-writing-senator/)

Not that we should allow this to silence our rightful dissent against government corruption, just that we would be well advised to remember the old adage that there's "strength in unity," and to accordingly participate in (among other things) coordinated grassroots email/phone campaigns.

To do otherwise is to risk being the proverbial nail that sticks out above the rest.
: Obama Science Czar Called For Global Carbon Tax
: Geolibertarian July 09, 2010, 10:29:34 AM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-science-czar-called-for-global-carbon-tax.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-science-czar-called-for-global-carbon-tax.html)

Obama Science Czar Called For Global Carbon Tax

Underreported 2008 comments were made immediately prior to becoming White House science director

Steve Watson
Prisonplanet.com
Thursday, Jul 8th, 2010

Immediately prior to his nomination as White House Science Czar, John P. Holdren called for a global carbon tax in order to “redistribute” wealth to the Southern Hemisphere.

(http://infowars.net/pictures/july2010/080710Holdren.jpg)

Holdren’s comments were underreported at the time but have since garnered attention in the wake of the Democratic leadership’s new push to pass comprehensive climate change legislation.

Holdren, the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, made the statement on July 3, 2008 on “Democracy NOW!”, hosted by Amy Goodman.

Holdren said: “It’s important that we have a global agreement on how we are going to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases going forward, and an agreement that will include the tropical forests, that will include ways to transfer some of the revenues from carbon taxes or carbon emission permits in the North to pay for reduced deforestation in the South.”

Watch the video:

http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/checker.aspx?v=XdZukUIrnz (http://www.eyeblast.tv/public/checker.aspx?v=XdZukUIrnz) (John Holdren on Redistribution of Cap & Trade Revenue From U.S. to Global South)

Directly echoing Holdren’s comments, Sec. 756(c ) of the most recent climate change legislation being debated in Congress, the Kerry-Lieberman bill, legislates for “international offset credits” to be provided to countries that reduce deforestation.

In addition, Section 5004 would mandate the Secretary of Agriculture, in conjunction with the Environmental Protection Agency, to create a program “to provide assistance to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation in developing countries, in accordance with this title.”

Holdren argued during the “Democracy Now!” appearance that limits and levies on carbon emissions would create so called “green jobs”.

“The notion that this is going to be unaffordable and an economic catastrophe to address this problem is just wrong,” said Holdren.

However, precisely that scenario has unfolded in Spain, according to its own government. The “green economy” has left the country with a 20 per cent unemployment rate, virtually bankrupt and in need of being bailed out (http://www.prisonplanet.com/eu-leaders-to-thrash-out-multi-billion-pound-rescue-package-for-spain-as-it-faces-bankruptcy.html) by the rest of Europe.

In this so-called “green economy”, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spains-green-policies-an-economic-disaster/) created.

Electricity prices in Spain have “skyrocketed” (http://www.prisonplanet.com/carbon-tax-on-electricity-to-send-prices-skyrocketing.html) since the implementation of such policies, according to a leaked government report.

Obama’s green economy bill (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obamas-nightmare-green-agenda-officially-unveiled.html) has been laying in wait for almost two years now. However, the president’s stated intention to “Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050″ has not gone away.

Recent exposure of the fraud behind the climate science driving the global warming movement had seemingly scuppered Obama’s chances (http://www.prisonplanet.com/carbon-tax-bill-may-be-dead-after-shock-graham-reversal-on-climate-change.html) of pushing through the legislation, which would see some $2.9 trillion shaved off the economy by the year 2050 if enacted. The legislation would also reduce GDP by 6.9 percent – a figure comparable with the economic meltdown (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2008/032108_great_depression.htm) of 1929 and 1930.

Now, however, in the wake of the BP disaster, and a tightly controlled public relations machine managing it, Obama has seen an opportunity to gain momentum (http://infowars.net/articles/june2010/140610Green.htm), once more wheeling out his “clean energy” rhetoric.

Other proponents of a carbon tax have flat out called for the BP disaster to be exploited (http://www.prisonplanet.com/harvard-professor-exploit-gulf-disaster-for-carbon-tax.html) in order to reinvigorate political momentum behind the policy.

Exploiting the catastrophe is necessary to “catalyze support for an American environmental policy with teeth,” writes top elitist and Harvard Professor Kenneth Rogoff, noting that the cap and trade system basically amounts to the same thing as a carbon tax and is just a trick to hide the use of the incendiary word “tax”.

The carbon trading scam has little to do with the environment and everything to do with vast profiteering while actively de-industrializing the developed world. As our previous research highlights (http://www.prisonplanet.com/research-reports-obama-intimately-tied-to-phony-environmental-movement.html), it is a is a long term policy goal of the global elite.

In his now notorious 1977 book, Eco Science (http://www.prisonplanet.com/obama-science-advisor-called-for-planetary-regime-to-enforce-totalitarian-population-control-measures.html), John P. Holdren wrote of a need for the U.S. to follow an agenda of “de-development” via “a stable, low-consumption economy”. The book also calls for programs of mass sterilization, one child policies and an authoritative “Planetary Regime” to oversee their implementation.

As we have previously pointed out (http://www.prisonplanet.com/guru-of-science-czar-holdren-called-for-doubling-co2-emissions.html), though the catalyst has changed throughout Holdren’s work, the endgame remains the same. In the 70’s, Holdren was busy talking up the drastic threat of global cooling, warning that it would produce giant tidal waves and environmental devastation. Holdren’s convictions about climate change have flip-flopped in order to accommodate whatever scientific fad holds sway at the time, however, his goal of depopulation and de-development remains constant.
: Re: Obama Science Czar Called For Global Carbon Tax
: Geolibertarian July 09, 2010, 11:38:36 AM
Holdren said: “It’s important that we have a global agreement on how we are going to limit the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases going forward, and an agreement that will include the tropical forests, that will include ways to transfer some of the revenues from carbon taxes or carbon emission permits in the North to pay for reduced deforestation in the South.” ....

Directly echoing Holdren’s comments, Sec. 756(c ) of the most recent climate change legislation being debated in Congress, the Kerry-Lieberman bill, legislates for “international offset credits” to be provided to countries that reduce deforestation.

(http://i40.tinypic.com/2chstwn.jpg)

What the eugenics (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=117190.0)-obsessed eco-fascists are counting on the masses to remain blissfully ignorant of is the fact that taxing labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) instead of land values (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) is one of the very two things that caused massive deforestation in the first place:

------------------------------------

"It is incontrovertible, I think, that the rapidly-increasing destruction of the Amazon rain forest...is directly attributable to the fact that the Amazon basin is the only part of Brazil where free or cheap land is available, and this, in turn, is attributable to the fact that nearly four-fifths of Brazil's arable acreage is covered by sprawling latifundios, half of which are held by speculators (http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm) who produce nothing. Were the artificial scarcity of available land in the rest of Brazil corrected, as the Georgist remedy (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/ST_what_why_1890.html) would unquestionably do, pressure (http://www.progress.org/sprawl/) on the Amazon basin would obviously cease." [Emphasis added]

-- Robert V. Andelson, Commons Without Tragedy (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=69&rn=336&action=show_detail), p. 32

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDMenqKCXdw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDMenqKCXdw) (A pertinent clip from The Corporation)

------------------------------------

Thus, the eco-fascists who claim that the "solution" to massive deforestation is to tax labor and capital even more via their "cap and trade" scheme (while leaving land values, as always, comparatively untaxed) are no less ridiculous and insane than someone who claims that the only way to "fight" fire is to fuel it.

I'm reminded of what Henry George once wrote (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/the_condition_of_labor.htm) in reference to the Orwellian "solutions" or "remedies" that political con artists are always peddling to anyone foolish enough to listen:


As to the other primary cause of massive deforestation that eco-fascists don't want anyone to think about (lest they be recognized for the ruling-class minions they really are), that, of coure, is privately-controlled, debt-based money systems (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2464321382114136843):

------------------------------------

http://web.archive.org/web/20061116031731/landru.i-link-2.net/monques/moneyeats.html (http://web.archive.org/web/20061116031731/landru.i-link-2.net/monques/moneyeats.html)

WHEN MONEY EATS THE WORLD

by John McMurtry, Professor of Philosophy
University of Guelph.

As the wheels come off the global market juggernaut, we need to understand that the unfolding collapse has been programmed into the machine. Stay the course of capital deregulation long enough and a truly momentous wreck is guaranteed. The fact is that our political and market leaderships have ensured no intelligent thought relating to the actual life needs of societies has been listened to for 15 years. "No alternative," they incanted without a break since the Reagan revolution of mindless govenment first began stripping social infrastructures by ever lower tax rates for the rich and 20% compound interest rates on public debt. Even now as the government of France pulls out of the MAI declaration of rights for unaccountable borderless capital, Ottawa is still prating about "sticking to its commitments" to the meltdown program.

The problem is a generalized mind-seizure. As money-to-more-money circuits have become increasingly autonomous, public consciousness has fetishized money demand as the sovereign authority of the world. The lifeblood of societies has been circulated away as fast as possible to "pay off deficits as a national emergency," "reduce social costs to attract investors," "cool down the employment rate to ward off currency devaluation," "deregulate the labour and resource markets economy for greater efficiencies," and so on. The litany for expropriation of societies' common heritage and infrastructure has been recited every hour for almost twenty years, and it has always and everywhere been the disguise for highly leveraged money sequences to feed on the social life substance across the planet.

But even as the meltdown progresses across continents, the unseen seat of the disease is not yet whispered—that money sequences are overloaded far beyond the capacity of social and environmental capacities to feed them, and that they increasingly attack life-serving functions to continue their decoupled cycles.

Because these money sequences are increasingly without productive outcome of any kind, redistribute more and more wealth to the economically parasitic (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=162212.msg967898#msg967898) while stripping the civil commons and the poor, and progressively demand ever more revenue extraction from social and environmental hosts, their reproduction has become increasingly incompatible with civil and planetary life.

The overloading of the life-system by ever more ravenous money sequences is, in truth, behind every crisis people face today in the global market—behind the stressing and breaking of the planetary environment's carrying capacities, behind government debt and deficit loads and crises across the world, behind the ceaseless mergers, acquisitions and job-sheddings by corporate finance departments, behind the speed-ups of every process of work and resource extraction, behind the privatization and enclosure of evolved civil commons in every culture, and behind now the Asian meltdown and the great slump of Japan.

We need not summarize all the symptoms. But consider some figures of money-demand aggregates increasing exponentially on life systems at every level, every new unit of the escalating load requiring "more competitive performance" or "more competitive cost cutting" from individual, social and environmental life-hosts, with no limit set to what will be demanded next.

[Continued... (http://web.archive.org/web/20061116031731/landru.i-link-2.net/monques/moneyeats.html)]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2rXCEEh8SE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F2rXCEEh8SE) (A pertinent clip from Money As Debt)

------------------------------------
: Leaked G20 Documents Show Carbon Taxes Still High on Globalist Agenda
: Geolibertarian July 22, 2010, 11:13:10 AM
http://www.infowars.com/leaked-g20-documents-show-carbon-taxes-still-high-on-globalist-agenda/ (http://www.infowars.com/leaked-g20-documents-show-carbon-taxes-still-high-on-globalist-agenda/)

Leaked G20 Documents Show Carbon Taxes Still High on Globalist Agenda

James Corbett
The Corbett Report
22 July, 2010

This week The Corbett Report (http://www.corbettreport.com) was sent documents purported to be the notes of an attendee of the recent Toronto G20 meeting. The documents, if genuine, show that the recent meeting once again gave the G20 a chance to discuss global government as an answer to the ongoing economic meltdown and reaffirm that carbon taxes are high on the globalists’ priority list.

(http://static.infowars.com/2010/07/i/article-images/globetable.jpg)
The idea of funding a nascent global governmental structure through the introduction of carbon taxes is
by no means a new one.


The notes were obtained from a source inside a South African bank whose CEO was a confirmed attendee of the Toronto meeting. According to the source, they are most likely notes from a feedback session between the CEO and bank officials upon the CEO’s return from the conference.

Download the documents in PDF format via this link (http://www.corbettreport.com/cache/g20toronto.pdf).

According to the documents, the delegates concluded that a process of fiscal consolidation would be the key solution to the crisis, involving country-specific ideas with central coordination…presumably by the G20 itself. Although the delegates evidently discussed the need to address the sovereign debt crisis “through cutting expenses and not through increased taxes,” that statement is immediately followed in this attendee’s notes by the idea of introducing carbon taxes.

The idea of funding a nascent global governmental structure through the introduction of carbon taxes is by no means a new one, having been proposed as a funding mechanism for a North American Union (http://www.corbettreport.com/articles/20071003_cashing_in_on_global_warming_hysteria.htm) at a secret Security and Prosperity Partnership meeting in Banff, Canada in 2006.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the idea was last floated in the G20 Finance Ministers’s meeting in Scotland last year. In leaked documents from that meeting (http://www.corbettreport.com/articles/20091112_g20_climate.htm) it was revealed that attendees had seriously discussed the possibility of using a carbon tax to fund an international financial body which would supposedly be entrusted to look after climate adaptation and mitigation programs.

That the carbon tax was discussed during G20 deliberations comes as no surprise. Nor does the fact that the delegates deliberated on the need “to develop Global governance structures” and the desire for “coordination across countries.” The urge to use a manufactured economic crisis to institute a new international system of governance administered by the very bankers who created the problem in the first place has likewise been noted for years (http://www.corbettreport.com/articles/20080721_breaking_the_economy.htm).

[Continued... (http://www.infowars.com/leaked-g20-documents-show-carbon-taxes-still-high-on-globalist-agenda/)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: TheNatural July 22, 2010, 12:00:57 PM
It seems to me like you fine folks in USA are going to get tax hikes to match those we in Europe are burdened with. In my country of Norway we have numerous taxes, its a full-time job to keep track.

Lets see... of course its the tax on labour that you also have. For me personally its about 25%. Then if you are economically prudent and save money in the bank its the tax on your "wealth". If you inherit its also a tax on that. If you own property, more and more counties demand property taxes as where I live, from this year on. If you have stocks and make a profit, its of course a 28% tax on that. We have had a tax on CO2 since 1996! Wait for that one, and pay about $ 8 or 9 per gallon of gasoline. Then theres the VAT at 25% on EVERYTHING, except food which is 14%.

The only thing that keep the middle class able to still have a decent life is that we have strong unions and that so far wages have kept up with rising prices and taxes. Do you have that in America? I have a middle class job and make just over $ 30 an hour, plus and extra $ 8 or 9 after 5PM and then some more on week-ends. Thats what it takes to live a normal life with all the expenses and have a little extra when all is paid for.

PS. We do have almost free health care and some other hand-outs from the welfare state, but its not worth it. Not unless youre really sickly or want to live life as a parasite.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense July 22, 2010, 03:21:16 PM
I have to admit, this is the least offensive taxation method, except exempting your primary private residence from the tax (which would be even less offensive).  Otherwise one could not live labor-free in one's own home.  Let extra residence and commercial property owners have the levy.

Even the Amish use some shared infrastructure, so I don't think your idea would be workable...
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian July 23, 2010, 11:12:48 AM
I have to admit, this is the least offensive taxation method, except exempting your primary private residence from the tax (which would be even less offensive).

No such exemption is necessary if we institute a Guaranteed Income:

       http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.0 (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.0)

Otherwise one could not live labor-free in one's own home.

The problem is that the "exemption" you speak of wouldn't apply to the countless millions who (usually out of necessity rather than "choice") rent (http://www.nhi.org/news/1925/new_report_shows_growing_gap_between_income_and_rent/) instead of own, and would consequently force landless wage-earners to pay twice (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Paying_Twice.html) for the same benefits, all so those with land titles can enjoy the benefits that accrue to the locations they occupy without having to pay even once.

That's the very sort of double standard that got us into this mess in the first place:

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) (Ricardo's Law ~ The Great Tax Clawback Scam)

Under the benefits received (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/underpop/benefits_received.htm) principle, everyone pays for what they receive, regardless of whether they happen to have state-issued land titles or not.

What could be more fair and just -- and hence conducive to equal librety (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_equal_liberty) -- than that?
: Globalists Race To Enforce Criminal Carbon Tax
: Geolibertarian August 06, 2010, 10:31:08 AM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/globalists-race-to-enforce-criminal-carbon-tax.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/globalists-race-to-enforce-criminal-carbon-tax.html)

Globalists Race To Enforce Criminal Carbon Tax

$100 Billion A Year Levy Is About Bankrolling Global Government And Lining The Pockets Of Con Artist Oil Men Soros, Strong and Gore, Has Nothing To Do With Saving The Environment

(http://www.prisonplanet.com/images/august2010/060810top.jpg)

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Friday, August 6, 2010

Despite the failure of last year’s Copenhagen climate summit, the United Nations is pushing ahead for a global carbon tax that will bankroll the expansion of world government as globalists attempt to make Americans pay for the evisceration of their own sovereinty and future prosperity.

“Carbon taxes, add-ons to international air fares and a levy on cross-border money movements are among ways being considered by a panel of the world’s leading economists to raise a staggering $100 billion a year to fight climate change,” reports the Associated Press (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100805/ap_on_sc/climate_change).

British economist Nicholas Stern called for government regulations to pave the way for a “new industrial revolution….to move the world away from fossil fuels to low carbon growth.”

The panel will present its final proposals to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in October, a month before the next climate conference meets in Cancun, Mexico.

As was revealed during the Copenhagen negotiations, the global tax that the elite are pushing for will not even go to the UN to fight carbon dioxide, the evil life-giving gas that humans exhale and plants breathe. A leaked document obtained by the London Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/08/copenhagen-climate-summit-disarray-danish-text) during the summit exposed the fact that the tax will do directly to the coffers of the World Bank, and this revelation led to poorer countries refusing to sign a properly binding resolution on CO2 emissions.

The UN panel’s members include billionaire globalist George Soros, who has been calling for a carbon tax for years. Soros has $811 million of his own money invested in Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company (http://frontpagemag.com/2010/06/22/soros-oil-spill-payoff/).

The fact that Soros plays both sides of the rigged game emphasizes once again the fact that the carbon tax has nothing to do with saving the environment from the mythical threat of global warming and everything to do with industrialists who own the carbon trading systems getting filthy rich while crucifying U.S. sovereignty at the altar of global government.

With electricity and gas prices set to soar (http://www.prisonplanet.com/carbon-tax-on-electricity-to-send-prices-skyrocketing.html) following the introduction of a carbon tax, people like Soros and Al Gore (http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-vadum/2008/08/07/al-gore-oilman-who-hates-oil), who are heavily invested in energy companies and also own huge chunks of the carbon trading market (http://www.prisonplanet.com/al-gore-set-to-become-first-carbon-billionaire.html), are set to make obscene profits.

The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) has direct ties to both Al Gore and Maurice Strong (http://www.prisonplanet.com/research-reports-obama-intimately-tied-to-phony-environmental-movement.html), two figures intimately involved with a long standing movement to use the theory of man made global warming as a mechanism for profit and social engineering. Gore’s investment company, Generation Investment Management, which sells carbon offset opportunities, is the largest shareholder of CCX.

Maurice Strong, who is regularly credited as founding father of the modern environmental movement, serves on the board of directors of CCX. Strong was a leading initiate of the Earth Summit in the early 90s, where the theory of global warming caused by CO2 generated by human activity was most notably advanced.

Both Strong and Gore come from the Club of Rome clique, who in their 1991 Report, “The First Global Revolution” openly admitted how they were planning to exploit the contrived hoax of global warming in order to further their agenda.

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.,” they wrote (http://kali-yuga.org/?p=847).

Massive oil companies like British Petroleum, were amongst the founding members of the carbon trade lobby (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/Once-a-government-pet-BP-now-a-capitalist-tool-95942659.html). BP has supported the Kerry-Lieberman climate bill and other so-called “green” initiatives every step of the way because, far from acting as a punishment for big polluters, they represent a financial windfall.

Transnational oil companies like British Petroleum (http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/march2007/280307globalistslove.htm) and Exxon Mobil (http://www.prisonplanet.com/oil-companies-support-global-warming-alarmists-not-skeptics.html) have been amongst the biggest promoters of man-made global warming because they are headed up by globalists who understand that the carbon tax will do nothing to help the environment but will be used to bankroll the implementation of global government while swallowing up whatever deposable income impoverished Americans have left.

The elite are still desperate to impose a consumption tax on Americans as part of the move towards a “post-industrial revolution” and the kind of nightmare “green economy” that has left Spain with a 20 per cent unemployment rate. In a so-called green economy, over 2.2 jobs are lost for every “green job” created. (http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spains-green-policies-an-economic-disaster/)

A carbon tax would impact almost every aspect of Americans’ lives, from higher gas prices, to soaring utility bills, to exorbitant excesses related to the “energy efficiency” of their homes. It would be enforced by an army of environmental regulators and green police poking their noses into the private affairs of citizens.

The “green economy” is nothing more than a euphemism for an organized effort on behalf of big business and global elite to completely eviscerate the middle class and introduce levies and regulation into every area of our lives.
: Fair tax is a trap: Demand NO vote on H.R. 25
: Geolibertarian August 10, 2010, 11:20:25 AM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/fair-tax-is-a-trap-demand-no-vote-on-h-r-25.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/fair-tax-is-a-trap-demand-no-vote-on-h-r-25.html)

Fair tax is a trap: Demand NO vote on H.R. 25

Devvy (http://www.devvy.com/new_site/fair_tax_080910.html)
August 9, 2010

The other night on the boob tube I caught a commercial featuring a talk show host named Neal Boortz, Michael Reagan (adopted son of former president, Ronald Reagan) and the vile Newt Gingrich. All pushing for another dangerous taxing scheme that will not cure the cancer, only continue to feed the beast.

Boortz has been on this “fair” tax bandwagon for years. It’s obvious he has zero understanding of the Federal Reserve and why such a taxing scheme would only continue to steal the fruits of our labor to fund massive government spending.

Michael Reagan is also a talk show host who, like Boortz, has zero understanding of our monetary system (http://www.webofdebt.com) and its feeding artery: the IRS.

Newt Gingrich sold out this country decades ago with his votes. Besides being a serial adulterer (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=2937633&page=1) and ethtically bankrupt, Newt Gingrich is the global master’s trophy boy. He hopes the Republicans take control of Congress in November because there’s no doubt in my mind, Gingrich is out to be president of these united States of America. We can never let that happen. Do you know Newt was caught on tape saying the ridiculous “Contract with America” was nothing but a PR tool for incoming freshmen members of Congress? Yes, that’s a fact. They were obtained by Roll Call. Old Newt pulled a fast one on faithful conservatives. His votes killed MILLIONS of jobs and sent them south of the border and overseas.

In order to understand why H.R. 25 is just another tool of tyrants, you have to go back and see where and when the problem started. Prior to 1913, we had no federal income tax. There was no unconstitutional “Federal” Reserve (http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=10489) Banking system and there was no Seventeenth Amendment. This nation thrived in agriculture, manufacturing and industrial output.

The shadow government that has been controlling Congress for almost a hundred years had the downfall of America well planned. First, an income tax to syphon off the fruits of our labor. Even though the Sixteenth Amendment wasn’t legally ratified and did not give Congress any new power of taxation, we all know what that Gestapo criminal syndicate will do to you if you don’t voluntarily submit (with a gun to your head) to looting your earnings.

Full article here (http://www.devvy.com/new_site/fair_tax_080910.html)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: africknamerican August 10, 2010, 03:58:28 PM
No such exemption is necessary if we institute a Guaranteed Income:

       http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.0 (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.0)

Yes. And lest anyone think this is "welfare," it is not. It is a form of compensation for being excluded from the better locations and resources.  

Also, Geolib, it could be pointed out that under this system, people could choose to live on marginal (i.e., further from city centers & public services) and pay a pittance, or nothing, for land rent. If you really want to be left alone, you can live in the back country off the grid, and probably pay nothing when the CD is factored in. Actually, because LVT induces more compact development and halts sprawl, we might find that areas outlying from cities would become more affordable, and the margin actually contracts inward, as people find it more affordable to live closer to city centers and the public services and amenities offered. The countryside would be spared the relentless march of suburbanization, strip malls, and Big Boxes, and locations would remain cheap.

At the same time, consumption, houses & other improvements, and income from labor and (productive) investment would be totally untaxed, so most people would experience a net increase in wealth.

Under the benefits received (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/underpop/benefits_received.htm) principle, everyone pays for what they receive, regardless of whether they happen to have state-issued land titles or not.

What could be more fair and just -- and hence conducive to equal librety (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_equal_liberty) -- than that?

And what could be more in line with free market principles? Get what you pay for. Pay for what you get!
: Re: Fair tax is a trap: Demand NO vote on H.R. 25
: africknamerican August 13, 2010, 02:02:50 PM

Boortz has been on this “fair” tax bandwagon for years. It’s obvious he has zero understanding of the Federal Reserve and why such a taxing scheme would only continue to steal the fruits of our labor to fund massive government spending.


Yes. What we need is a total paradigm shift about taxation AND spending AND the federal ---> state ---> local hierarchy. We need to turn that hierarchy right-side up again. We need to get the federal government out of our pockets, our employment arrangements, and our personal records. We need to abolish taxes on work adn saving and investment in productive things. We need to put our local communities in charge, by putting local services first and financing them locally from the predominantly local asset known as land value. (We can let the fedgov scrape by from rents on federal lands, and we'll give them the radio spectrum rent as well ....)  I don' t know how we accomplish this, I just know that we must.

Do you know Newt was caught on tape saying the ridiculous “Contract with America” was nothing but a PR tool for incoming freshmen members of Congress? Yes, that’s a fact. They were obtained by Roll Call. Old Newt pulled a fast one on faithful conservatives.


Yes, not only do they have to deceive us, they have to deceive their junior congressmen who actually believe their job is to represent the people. It's just like a crooked sales operation, where management has to brainwash and lie to the sales force to motivate the sales force to go out and brainwash and lie to the customer. (I've spent time in such shady operations...) 



The shadow government that has been controlling Congress for almost a hundred years had the downfall of America well planned. First, an income tax to syphon off the fruits of our labor. Even though the Sixteenth Amendment wasn’t legally ratified ...


The FIT was actually conceived as a last-ditch, second-best substitute for a national land value tax. It was a mistake made out of desperation. By that time the Georgist movement had been infiltrated by socialists, becoming "progressivism." This movement was also strongly influenced by the populists, who wanted a national income tax on the super-rich. The Georgists weren't making enough headway within the State capitals to implement LVT. The "income tax" was presented as a way to accomplish much the same thing from the top down, via a different vehicle. (Tax only the top 2% or so of income earners .... most of the income you're taxing is rents from monopolies on land or resources -- much of these federal property in the first place-- or government privileges. ) By this logic, even Henry George Jr. was persuaded to support the income tax. However, the tool designed was more like a hammer than the surgical scalpel needed. A LVT would have precisely zeroed in on unearned wealth and taxed it alone. An income tax could be manipulated to grab earned wealth from work and real investment -- and that's exactly what happened later on. Around WWII, Social Security tax was added, then the taxes were extended to wage labor ... meanwhile, the original targets, monopolists, found more and more loopholes to get out of these taxes.

[ftp]
How The Income Tax Became
A Tax On Labor

Clifford Cobb and Jonathan Rowe
Redefining Progress, San Francisco, CA


In the first decade of the century, controversy over taxes gripped England. Winston Churchill articulated a novel guiding principle: "Formerly the only question of the tax gatherer was, 'How much have you got?'" Churchill said. "Now we also ask, 'How did you get it?'"

A tax system should reinforce the fundamental moral connection between contribution and reward, said Churchill. Did you earn your income through enterprise and toil, or at least by providing capital for these? Or did you reap where you did not sow--garnering profits from what nature, rather than you yourself, had created? "Was the income gained by supplying the capital which industry needs, or merely by denying, except at an extortionate price, the land which industry requires?" The issue wasn't capital versus labor, as Marxists had it. Rather it was capital and labor versus something else--unearned gain that arose from the mere ownership of land and natural resources.
 
In 1909, with Churchill's strong support, the British Parliament enacted a special tax on gains from land.

In the U.S. Congress the need to finance America's entry into the First World War spurred a similar debate. Significant support for what might be called the Churchill view did much to shape the new income tax that eventually emerged. In concept, the tax would spare the earnings of the working person and productive entrepreneur, and fall on unearned gains that arose from land and resources or the exercise of monopoly power in all its subtle forms.


The Inversion of the Income Tax
That was almost a century ago. Since then, the original vision has been turned upside down. The income tax has come to fall almost entirely upon the workers and entrepreneurs it was intended to spare. In 1918, some 85% of American households paid no income tax at all, and almost 80% of federal income tax revenue came from the top one-half of one-percent of households. Very little of the burden fell on work. By 1990, almost three-quarters of federal tax revenues came from work.
...

Continue How the income tax became a tax on labor (http://www.schalkenbach.org/library/cobbroweincometax.html)
: Globalists Plan to Dismantle Middle Class With UN Tax
: Geolibertarian September 20, 2010, 11:21:46 AM
http://www.infowars.com/globalists-plan-to-dismantle-middle-class-with-un-tax/ (http://www.infowars.com/globalists-plan-to-dismantle-middle-class-with-un-tax/)

Globalists Plan to Dismantle Middle Class With UN Tax

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
Sunday, September 19, 2010

(http://www.prisonplanet.com/images/september2010/090910top.jpg)

Globalists representing 60 nations will meet at the UN this coming week to push a tax on world financial transactions in the name of solving poverty and climate change, formally launching a massive program to bankrupt the middle class and enrich the coffers of global government.

“Spearheaded by European Union countries, the so-called “innovative financing” proposal envisages a tax of 0.005 percent (five cents per $1,000), which experts estimate could produce more than $30 billion a year worldwide for priority causes,” reports CNS News (http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/75424).

As Ira Stoll, editor of FutureCapitalism.com, points out, new taxes always start off small so as to not be resisted by the people forced to pay them, and are then always gradually increased.

“When people suggest taxes, they always start out ‘small,” said Stoll.

“But once the door is opened to the idea of ‘global taxes,’ you can bet they won’t end small. Never mind all the issues about whether development aid actually helps poor countries or just winds up empowering corrupt local dictators and their cronies.”

The call for a global transaction tax arrives in the aftermath of a leaked UN blueprint (http://www.prisonplanet.com/54680.html) which outlined how elitists plan to re-brand global warming in an effort to dismantle the middle class by instituting a “global redistribution of wealth” via carbon taxes.

The aim is to “limit and redirect the aspirations for a better life of rising middle classes around the world,” in other words to reduce the standard of living for the middle classes in Western Europe and America.

However, as was uncovered during the Copenhagen summit, the program of “global redistribution of wealth” and transaction taxes largely centers around looting the wealth of the middle classes in richer countries and then using that money to bankroll the construction of world government. As the leaked “Danish text” revealed (http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/dec/08/copenhagen-climate-summit-disarray-danish-text), the money generated from consumption taxes will go directly to the World Bank, not to developing countries to lower carbon emissions or alleviate poverty.

Under the terms of this proposal, poorer countries will not simply be handed the money pillaged from richer nations, instead they will be forced to accept “green loans” (http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-real-reason-behind-the-copenhagen-walk-out.html) in the name of combating climate change, a policy that would land the already financially devastated third world with even more debt, payable to globalist institutions such as the IMF.

Even if you accept that global institutions who have proven to be completely corrupt time and time again should be empowered to steal from the rich and give to the poor, these proposals don’t even do that. This is all about bankrolling the expansion of world government and creating a giant slush fund that will be used to coerce smaller countries into allowing themselves to be ruled and regulated by a global bureaucracy funded by increasingly destitute taxpayers in the west.

We warned that globalists were embarking on a global financial transaction tax back in December (http://www.prisonplanet.com/monckton-secretive-copenhagen-treaty-creates-larcenous-global-government-tax.html) when Lord Monckton obtained the draft proposals for the Copenhagen summit.

As Monckton revealed at the time, the end game is to, “Tax the American economy to the extent of 2 percent GDP, to impose a further tax of 2 percent on every financial transaction….and to close down effectively the economies of the west, transfer your jobs to third world countries.”

The tax, which was vehemently supported by President Obama in Copenhagen, will cost American families already laboring under the greatest financial collapse for generations at least $3,000 a year just for starters (http://www.prisonplanet.com/final-copenhagen-text-includes-global-transaction-tax.html).

There can no longer be any denial that a world government is preparing to plunder the west by enforcing a myriad of different global consumption taxes, from financial levies to a carbon tax which will do absolutely nothing to address real environmental issues and will be used solely to expand the power of the World Bank, the IMF and the United Nations.

Allied to the global tax assault is the newly published IMF strategy document that calls for the implementation of a global currency, called the “bancor” (http://www.infowars.com/new-imf-strategy-document-charts-launch-of-bancor-global-currency/), which will be pushed through by means of draconian regulatory measures that eviscerate sovereignty rights of nation states and hand complete economic control of the global economy over to a tiny and despotic ruling elite. The “bancor” will hand the IMF the power to manipulate exchange rates and determine the eventual collapse of the dollar.

Massive resistance must be focused around rejecting the institution of global taxes paid to the United Nations and the formation of a global currency otherwise the last tattered shreds of American sovereignty will be flushed down the toilet for good.

Alex Jones contributed to this article.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Nailer September 20, 2010, 08:18:47 PM

if you bought land and paid taxes at the time of sale then that should be the only tax you ever pay on your property, one time only.

Property taxes are a way of extorting money from people to pay for corrupt politicians/police departments/ emergency services.

Somewhere hidden in a law book is a statute that makes paying yearly  property taxes null & Void..
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian September 21, 2010, 01:04:50 PM
if you bought land and paid taxes at the time of sale then that should be the only tax you ever pay on your property, one time only.

Wrong, because if, subsequent to your purchase, the surrounding community provides additional or higher quality public goods that increase the location value of your land, and land values are exempt from taxation, then that means wage earners will end up paying for these goods first through the taxes that are levied (either directly or indirectly) on wages, then a second time through increased rental charges.

------------------------------------

"So why is the title above the 'twice-single' tax? Because a tax on land rent is 'single' in another way. Consider what happens if government builds a subway. Land values rise downtown because there will be more commerce, and land values rise in the suburbs because it is now much easier to commute to downtown. So people are paying higher rent or mortgage payments in order to be located where the subway is. But they also paid for the subway in the first place with taxes, since it was financed mostly from taxes that come from their wages. Folks pay twice for the subway, first through taxes, and then through rent. If the tax is the rent, then people only have to pay once."

-- Fred Foldvary, http://www.progress.org/fold47.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold47.htm)

------------------------------------

This is what makes rack-renting (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Rack-Rented.html) itself a particularly regressive and unfair "tax."

Property taxes are a way of extorting money from people to pay for corrupt politicians/police departments/emergency services.

On the contrary, taxing wages and/or sales instead of land values is a way of forcing landless workers to pay twice (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Paying_Twice.html) for the same benefits (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/underpop/benefits_received.htm), all so that titleholders can enjoy the benefits that give their land location value in the first place without paying even once.

This is what economist Fred Harrison aptly calls "the great tax clawback scam":

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng)

Before posting another canned objection, please take the time to actually read my initial posts to this thread, that way I don't have to keep repeating explanations I've already given.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: iclozm September 21, 2010, 02:27:22 PM
Wrong, because if, subsequent to your purchase, the surrounding community provides additional or higher quality public goods that increase the location value of your land, and land values are exempt from taxation, then that means wage earners will end up paying for these goods first through the taxes that are levied (either directly or indirectly) on wages, then a second time through increased rental charges.

That would be like telling someone who purchased a stock that did well that they owe extra for capital gains because they made a profitable decision. For example you purchased a company that deals in composite material that just scored a huge contract with Boeing. You paid your capital gains tax and now owe more later because it did so well. Can you not see the abuse from those who determine the tax? What's to stop them from overvaluing EVERY persons LVT? What mechanism would stop that? LVT to me just centralizes more power to the government that cannot manage ANYTHING properly.

I'm still not buying LVT personally. If we ever were systematically change the way property rights are addressed I feel that allodial titles should be most prevalent. I am not for anyone being able to lay any form of taxation on land. If you can be taxed on any form of property, you simply DO NOT own it. You have the illusion of ownership.

However I am sympathetic to LVT's ability to curb the ability of the elite to return us to a feudal state. I do believe that some sort of system of apportionment of a small section of land should be a right of any person that wishes to upkeep property. Just like rights as self defense were granted by mother nature/god that were there before man created government, so was the land. Just as we all have rights we should all be entitled to allodial property rights. There must be some other way than centralizing more power to an already defunct government to ensure property rights for all who wish to have it.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense September 21, 2010, 03:08:47 PM
That would be like telling someone who purchased a stock that did well that they owe extra for capital gains because they made a profitable decision. For example you purchased a company that deals in composite material that just scored a huge contract with Boeing. You paid your capital gains tax and now owe more later because it did so well. Can you not see the abuse from those who determine the tax? What's to stop them from overvaluing EVERY persons LVT? What mechanism would stop that? LVT to me just centralizes more power to the government that cannot manage ANYTHING properly.

So you want tax-free speculative gains on land? This is the very problem the LVT tries to address. The fact is none of us created the land to begin with so why compare it to something man made like shares in a corporation?

I'm still not buying LVT personally. If we ever were systematically change the way property rights are addressed I feel that allodial titles should be most prevalent. I am not for anyone being able to lay any form of taxation on land. If you can be taxed on any form of property, you simply DO NOT own it. You have the illusion of ownership.

So the rent collector (say an agent) owns the land because they are collecting payments on it? I don't follow your logic. Land value arises largely because of location. You wanna live next to all the spiffy services provided largely by other people? You pay accordingly. This is the benefits received principle.

However I am sympathetic to LVT's ability to curb the ability of the elite to return us to a feudal state. I do believe that some sort of system of apportionment of a small section of land should be a right of any person that wishes to upkeep property.

A citizens dividend from the surplus of the land tax would allow for this..

Just like rights as self defense were granted by mother nature/god that were there before man created government, so was the land. Just as we all have rights we should all be entitled to allodial property rights. There must be some other way than centralizing more power to an already defunct government

If you've bothered to read Geolibertarian's other reform threads, you'll find he advocates the exact opposite of centralising power. The LVT would be collected at the local level first, then passed on as necessary.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: iclozm September 21, 2010, 04:54:41 PM
So you want tax-free speculative gains on land? This is the very problem the LVT tries to address. The fact is none of us created the land to begin with so why compare it to something man made like shares in a corporation?

Tax the sale. Leave it alone after the sale, it belongs to the owner. The State should do nothing but enforce the property rights of the sovereign citizen that owns it.

Land is scarce like labor. It's finite as we're not immortal. You can ask for higher wages because you feel that your SCARCE and LIMITED time is worth more. Just like land.

So the rent collector (say an agent) owns the land because they are collecting payments on it? I don't follow your logic. Land value arises largely because of location. You wanna live next to all the spiffy services provided largely by other people? You pay accordingly. This is the benefits received principle.

The rent collector in most cases does not own the land, but has property rights in the land because they lay claim to cash assets of the occupier. Notice the lack of the word owner. Freedom comes from allodial property rights. I do believe that if the property with allodial ownership is used to facilitate profiteering from the usurpation of another's freedom, for example human trafficking / force prostitution rings, that the said land may be seized to repay victims.

Of course land value rises because of location, this is why the price of property is high. It is because it's in a very popular area. Supply is scarce in very popular areas. We don't need LVT to explain the obvious. The price of the land reflects that. Just like land was worth a mint in Detroit in the 60's and now is worthless because American barely manufactures anything anymore. LVT is not needed to express that. The price a person is willing to pay will. That is my logic I don't need a tax to remind me why an area is really nice, although I am consistently reminded of that in the price of everything here in Orange County, CA.

A citizens dividend from the surplus of the land tax would allow for this..

Yeah and the State of California issues IOU's.

If you've bothered to read Geolibertarian's other reform threads, you'll find he advocates the exact opposite of centralising power. The LVT would be collected at the local level first, then passed on as necessary.

I've bothered. You assume local governments aren't evil and corrupt. In Orange County, CA we had a former Controller named Robert Citron. Search it and tell me if you still want our "pristine" local governments to have even more collection power. This is why I do not bother. All government is highly corruptible on every level. LVT will not stop that. The more of anything a government has the more it will abuse it. So don't give it more power on any level! This is why I and most have considered not reading it a second time.

If it can be taxed you don't own it! It's just the illusion of ownership. Property must be free of any claim (reoccuring tax, fee, association, or any other).
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian September 22, 2010, 12:55:35 PM
That would be like telling someone who purchased a stock that did well that they owe extra for capital gains because they made a profitable decision.

No it wouldn't, because stocks are usually shares of ownership in something that would not exist in the absence of human labor, whereas land titles represent government-recognized "ownership" of that which would (and does) exist in the absence of human labor.

       http://www.progress.org/fold238.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold238.htm)

Arguments against the LVT are usually little more than long-winded attempts to blur this fundamental distinction.

LVT to me just centralizes more power to the government that cannot manage ANYTHING properly.

The LVT does not grant managerial powers over land to the government, so it's not even the LVT you're arguing against, but a straw man of your own making.

I'm still not buying LVT personally.

And I'm still not buying the Austrian School's discredited argument against it (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=69&rn=335&action=show_detail), so we'll simply have to agree to disagree.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: birther truther tenther October 22, 2010, 12:58:24 AM
bump

I support LVT, and I am so glad you posted this mega-thread Geolibertarian.

F**k Royal Libertarians.  I hate them more than commies, socialists, and fascists combined, because they are elitists posing as patriots.

If there were no property taxes, the elites would buy up every parcel of land and hoard it, (just like they do with their metric tonnes of gold, then want a gold standard as a backup false solution to their cashless cybersystem --- side issue).  With land being hoarded, you would have no property available to buy at all, or it would become such a ridiculous price due to scarcity that only the elite would be able to buy it, so property taxes would be the least of your concern, as you wouldn't be a landowner under this system anyways!

Environmental destruction would be off the charts, outdoor recreation would be considered trespassing, and we would all be serfs renting from the elite, and all working for unaccountable monopolized mega-corporations if the Austrian School had their way.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: africknamerican October 30, 2010, 03:14:28 PM
bump

F**k Royal Libertarians.  I hate them more than commies, socialists, and fascists combined, because they are elitists posing as patriots.

Be mad at the priesthood and the "popes." Don't be mad at the common lay people.

If there were no property taxes, the elites would buy up every parcel of land and hoard it ... so property taxes would be the least of your concern, as you wouldn't be a landowner under this system anyways!

Actually that is largely the situation now, since taxes on the really valuable land  are so comparatively low.

The majority of home"ownership" is an illusion (as many have found out the last few years). In part this is because of the system Geolib talks about, inflating land value (often the major component of home price), to the point where you can't own a home without going into hock for 30 years.

It's to the mutual benefit of landowners (most of all the really really big ones) and the banks.
: Thanksgiving Day - the True Story
: Geolibertarian November 23, 2010, 02:47:46 PM
http://www.progress.org/fold65.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold65.htm)

Thanksgiving Day - the True Story

by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The Progress Report
November 1998

The Thanksgiving Day that millions of Americans celebrate, with turkey and stuffing, is a myth. The true history was forgotten long ago, and even most of the history books have it wrong.

The myth goes like this: The Pilgrims landed in 1620 and founded the Colony of New Plymouth. They had a difficult first winter, but survived with the help of the Indians. In the fall of 1621, the grateful Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving Day and invited the Indians to a big Thanksgiving-Day feast with turkey and pumpkins.

There was indeed a big feast in 1621, but it was not a Thanksgiving Day. This three-day feast was described in a letter by the colonist Edward Winslow. It was a shooting party with the Indians, but there was no Thanksgiving Day proclamation, nor any mention of a thanksgiving in 1621 in any historical record.

The history of the colony was chronicled by Governor William Bradford in his book, Of Plimouth Plantation, available at many libraries. Bradford relates how the Pilgrims set up a communist system in which they owned the land in common and would also share the harvests in common. By 1623, it became clear this system was not working out well. The men were not eager to work in the fields, since if they worked hard, they would have to share their produce with everyone else. The colonists faced another year of poor harvests. They held a meeting to decide what to do.

As Governor Bradford describes it, "At last after much debate of things, the governor gave way that they should set corn everyman for his own particular... That had very good success for it made all hands very industrious, so much [more] corn was planted than otherwise would have been". The Pilgrims changed their economic system from communism to geoism (http://www.progress.org/archive/fold251.htm); the land was still owned in common (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html) and could not be sold or inherited, but each family was allotted a portion, and they could keep whatever they grew. The governor "assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number for that end."

Bradford wrote that their experience taught them that communism, meaning sharing all the production, was vain and a failure:


Their new geoist economic system was a great success. It looked like they would have an abundant harvest this time. But then, during the summer, the rains stopped, threatening the crops. The Pilgrims held a "Day of Humiliation" and prayer. The rains came and the harvest was saved. It is logical to surmise that the Pilgrims saw this as a was a sign that God blessed their new economic system, because Governor Bradford proclaimed November 29, 1623, as a Day of Thanksgiving.

This was the first proclamation of thanksgiving found in Bradford's chronicles or any other historical record. The first Thanksgiving Day was therefore in November 1623. Much later, this first Thanksgiving Day became confused and mixed up with the shooting party with the Indians of 1621. And in the mixup, the great economics lesson was forgotten and then discarded by the time the Plymouth Colony merged with the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1691.

The Pilgrims recognized that the land itself was and should be their common community property, but that it is proper for the fruits of the labor of each person and family to belong to those who produced them. This was the great economics lesson the Pilgrims learned, a lesson that so impressed them that they commemorated it every year thereafter. This should have been a day to remember their vital economics lesson, but this lesson was later forgotten in the mixup with the shooting party with the Indians!

This bitter lesson would be learned all over again by the people of the Soviet Union, where socialism and communalism of production failed again. Fortunately the Pilgrims, a smaller community in simpler times, were able to switch quickly and realize the great prosperity that comes from applying the geoist principle of the common ownership of land and the individual ownership of labor.

Thanksgiving Day should be remembered not just as a day when we give thanks for our abundance, but more deeply and historically when we recall why we have this abundance. In our Thanksgiving Day celebrations, let us therefore tell one another the true origins of the thanksgiving and the great economic lesson that it rightfully should remember.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian February 15, 2011, 02:50:34 PM
I just heard Alex and Paul Craig Roberts talk about how "land speculators" are artificially driving up the price of farm land.

I hope everyone realizes that this is the inevitable result of not having Henry George's Single Tax (http://schalkenbach.org/henry-george/the-single-tax/) in place.

------------------------------

http://web.archive.org/web/20100901004001/http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm (http://web.archive.org/web/20100901004001/http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm)

(http://www.henrygeorge.org/images/bust.gif)

A theory of economic boom and crash is one of Henry George's (http://schalkenbach.org) two great purposes in Progress and Poverty. What is the root cause of the "paroxysms of industrial depression"?

The root cause, says Henry George, is the speculative rise of land prices, which cuts into the earnings of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm). Land rents and prices rise at a faster rate than general economic growth, because of two unavoidable facts:


When sufficient numbers of workers and capitalists cannot afford to produce at the higher rents (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm) brought about by growth and speculation (http://www.progress.org/fold43.htm), production begins to stop.

Let us examine some of the implications of this fact for modern economies:

New Construction is Limited. If builders must pay too much for building sites, it takes from their profit by raising their costs. Their profit on investing in the building itself is what stimulates investing, which in turn is what makes jobs and incomes.

Business Costs Go Up. Businesses that rent their premises also get squeezed by rising rents. Here's an example: A merchant goes into a new shopping center with a long term lease. His rent is often too high, but he pays it to hold his position for the later term when he hopes the rent will be a bargain. Landlords writing long-term leases get used to this, and hold out for high rentals.

Nonproductive Investments Become More Profitable than Productive Ones. Let’s say that you own some land, which you might decide to improve. But, you have the option of selling the land to a speculator. Why improve the land if the profits on your improvements would yield little more than merely collecting the speculation-hyped value of the vacant site? Landowners will "site-sit" and wait, if they believe future development will be much more gainful than development for the current market. When the workaday facts of today begin looking dull and prosaic next to the gleaming expectations of tomorrow, look out.

Banking and Credit is Destabilized. Builders needing land borrow to buy it, even though the price is too high, gambling that future rises in rents will let them repay the loan. If these rent rises fail to happen, they go bankrupt. Their buildings are not destroyed, but the capital they used to build on them was misdirected, so much of it is economically lost: the buildings lose their market value.

Unlike items of wealth, which are priced according to their cost of reproduction at the present time, land is not produced -- so it has no cost of production. Yet it is bought and sold, like articles of wealth. The selling price of land is determined by comparing its income potential with that of an equivalent value of wealth, through a process called capitalization. Here's how that works (http://www.henrygeorge.org/mike.htm). However, the capitalization of current rent is only the beginning. With land, there is nearly always an added premium reflecting expected price increases in the future.

Speculation raises land prices beyond the sites' current use values. Credit is extended farther in order to accommodate this. That is, banks lend on overpriced land, counting on a further rise. When the rise slows, they extend the loans, sometimes even granting new loans for paying interest on old loans. They use political pressure to get governmental agencies (e.g. the World Bank) to extend or underwrite these risky loans (e.g. in Latin America). When the bubble bursts, the loans are not repaid. This destroys capital. The Savings & Loan fiasco of the 1980s is a case in point, but the basic dynamics are there in every recession.

This is not a new phenomenon. John Stuart Mill (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Mill.html) had written (before Henry George) of a tendency of lenders, when legitimate demand for loans dries up, to "lower the quality of credit" by accepting high-risk loans they would have spurned before. Because land value is such a large part of collateral on loans, and land values fluctuate wildly in business cycles, the tendency toward these volatile, high-risk lending practices is very strong.

Why don't capitalists needing land simply join in the speculative game? Couldn't they buy land at speculative prices and use it while it continues to rise in value? Actually, that's what they all do. No one can justify buying and holding land at today's prices without counting the future advance in price or rent as part of his or her gain. Thus everyone is hooked, forced by the market to participate in the speculative game, once it gets started. All become implicated and habituated, emotionally and politically, whether they like the principle or not. Eventually people forget that there could be any other way of doing business.

How do labor and capital resist advances in land value, when they must have land in order to produce? By ceasing production. What does this mean in real life? Labor and capital decline to buy or rent land at the high asking prices. Some will rent or buy less land, and use it more intensively. Some will sleep on the street, or sell from the sidewalk. Some will retreat to little patches of marginal land. Some will buy as much land as ever, but thus use up funds they otherwise would have used to improve it, becoming withholders themselves. Some will organize and pass counterproductive rent-control laws. The economy-wide net result will be less production, more unemployment.

The question that many modern-day economists fail to ask is this: How do investors react to a set of incentives where expected changes in land value are made part of the overall return on investment -- and land price is part of the investment on which return is figured?

This has several results:


Land Speculation and Inflation?

(http://www.henrygeorge.org/images/money.jpg)

There are as many different theories of the basic cause of inflation as there are for depressions. But since today's business cycle seems to involve a constant tension between periods of inflation and periods of unemployment/recession, the two phenomena clearly are linked.

George said almost nothing in Progress and Poverty about inflation; in his day industrial depression was a much more serious problem. However, inflation was not unheard-of in those days, and a strong connection is implied in George's reasoning. Consider the following statement regarding George's remedy (which this course is soon to consider): "Taxes may be imposed upon the value of land until all rent is taken by the state, without reducing the wages of labor or the reward of capital one iota; without increasing the price of a single commodity, or making production in any way more difficult."

What has this to do with inflation? George identifies land rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm) as an income that does not come from production; it is, in effect, a tax on production, the burden of which increases as production increases -- due to rising demand for the fixed supply of land. The tendency of this process is, as we have seen, to raise land rents beyond the marginal ability of labor and capital to pay them -- and depression is the result.

This process can be forestalled, temporarily at least, by increasing the money supply. Remember, the income of landowners increases as overall production increases, even though landowners make no contribution to production! The buying power that landowners gain, laborers and capitalists lose. But the effect of this can be blunted by increasing the money supply. When the supply of money increases faster than the supply of actual wealth, that's called inflation. An increase in the money supply can stimulate demand for goods, for a while -- if people have a certain amount of money to spend, they will try to spend it before it loses its value. Thus, an increase in the money supply, via lowered interest rates, can keep a period of economic growth alive -- at least until after the next election.

However, even this expediency is thwarted by the process of land speculation. As we explained here (http://www.henrygeorge.org/mike.htm), land prices are arrived at via the process of capitalization. Essentially, the annual rent of a site is divided by the current rate of interest, and this capitalized rent is the basis for the selling price (most often a speculative premium will be added). Now, if the central bank lowers interest rates to free up the money supply, this means that the divisor, the capitalization rate, is a lower figure -- and therefore land prices will increase!

Many analysts, for example, note that the persistently low interest rates maintained by Alan Greenspan's Federal Reserve in the early 2000s played a key role in the "housing boom" that followed. Of course, in the real world a great many factors influence financial markets, and particular market situations are extremely complex. However, this by no means denies the pivotal, fundamental role played by land rent and land speculation. Eventually, in a growing economy (even if the growth is only a short-term blip brought about by fiscal stimulus), increased rents will consume the extra buying power. Then, one of two things must happen: either the money supply must be increased further, risking runaway inflation -- or there must be a recession.

[Continued... (http://web.archive.org/web/20100901004001/http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm)]

------------------------------
: Rebuttal to Arguments Against Land Value Taxation
: Geolibertarian February 28, 2011, 01:34:48 PM
http://www.progress.org/2011/fold706.htm (http://www.progress.org/2011/fold706.htm)

Rebuttal to Arguments Against Land Value Taxation

by Fred E. Foldvary, Senor Editor
The Progress Report
February 28, 2011

On 18 October 2010 I wrote on "Arguments Against Land Value Taxation" (to see it, click here (http://www.progress.org/2010/fold687.htm) ). I now provide the rebuttals.

1. Critics say that the supply of usable land can be expanded by filling, clearing, and leveling. No, because that does not change the cubic meters of space within the boundaries of the area. The improvements are capital goods, not land. Taxing land value does not tax the improvements.

2. Critics say that the supply of land offered in the market is not fixed. Yes, the quantities offered for sale are not fixed, but the total amount of land available is fixed. The sale of land just changes the persons who have title. The total quantity is important in setting the market rent and price of land. The fixed total quantity, and the fact that land was provided by nature, makes land rent an economic surplus that can be tapped with no economic damage.

3. Critics say that there is plenty of bare land, so there is no shortage of land, and no land problem. Yes, there is much unused land, but what matters is the scarcity of land in locations people want to use.

4. Critics say that much of the value of land comes from services and improvements such as streets, parks, and security, so land-value taxation would tax the capital goods along with land. No, because if the added value comes from privately provided works, the payment would go to the providers by contract. If the public works are provided by government, then the added rental goes to the government to pay back value received and avoid a subsidy to landowners.

5. Critics say that people have much of their asset value in land, and LVT would result in great losses and also wreak financial markets as much of lending is for mortgages. Not if those with net losses are compensated with bonds. To see "How to end stinking taxes immediately" click here (http://www.progress.org/2006/fold461.htm).

6. Critics of LVT claim that speculation (http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm) is an essential part of a market economy, as entrepreneurs seek the best timing for development, and LVT results in premature redevelopment and causes too much building. No, because the tax on land value is independent of its actual use, based only on its potential in its highest and best use, and it is the lack of LVT that in some cases causes premature development expecting higher land value, and in other cases causes speculators to avoid developing, waiting for higher land values. LVT promotes the optimal timing as the opportunity cost of not developing is in money and thus has a greater impact. What is bad is not speculation as such but subsidized land value, distorting incentives.

7. Critics say that LVT redistributes wealth from landowners, but there is nothing morally wrong with an inequality in wealth and income. But when government provides public goods paid for by taxes other than on land, this pumps up rent and land value, redistributing wealth from workers to landowners. And for land value provided by nature, geoist ethics say that human equality requires an equal benefit from natural resources. Inequality in market wages respects equal self-ownership, while an unequal benefit from the natural heritage does violate our creation as moral equals.

8. Critics say that LVT is not fair to homeowners whose land goes up in value and whose wages do not rise. But LVT would provide an opportunity for companies to provide insurance against an unexpected increase in the land value tax. The insurance would have a cost at the time of purchase, so that the new titleholder would know if he could afford the payments. Also, retired folks with low incomes could postpone the payments until the property is sold or inherited.

9. Critics of LVT claim that much of wages is due to luck, connections, and talents, so a portion is wages is unearned. But as Henry George wrote, justice is the end, taxation only the means. It is just for the benefits of natural resource to be shared, and for landowners to pay back the rental generated by public goods. Self-ownership is also just, even if some have greater wealth due to luck. Nobody is coercively harmed if one person has more talent than others. If others own your luck, you become a slave to them, violating self-ownership.

10. Critics of LVT claim that rent is often earned as landlords actively seek out the best tenants and the best use of a site. But this is not rent; the return on this exertion is wages. Those seeking the best tenants and sites are in the role of entrepreneur, not landlord. Some of the rental that tenants pay is wages to the entrepreneur and to the manager.

11. Critics say that the tax burden should be shared by everyone, not concentrated on landowners, and that since tenants don’t pay taxes, they will vote for bigger government. But the rent tapped for public revenue is what is paid by tenants. The rent could be taken directly from tenants, skipping the landlord middleman. A “citizens’ dividend (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.msg958487#msg958487)” or distribution of some of the rent to all residents would provide an incentive for people to avoid wasteful government spending, as that would reduce their cash dividend.

12. Critics claim that there is no precise method of separating land value from improvement value. They have not talked to professional real estate appraisers. Land value appraisal is needed for fire insurance, mortgages, the purchase of land with a building to be demolished, and other private transactions. Techniques to appraise site value include comparable sales of bare lots or lots sold for demolition, calculating the replacement costs of buildings minus depreciation, and maps of neighborhood properties.

13. Anarchist critics claim that LVT would finance government tyrants. But geoism is not just the taxation of land but equally sharing the benefits. Geoism opposes landlord tyranny.

14. Socialist critics claim that LVT leaves intact capital inequalities. But much of the historical inequality of wealth has come from land tenure. Over time, inherited wealth other than land dissipates or gets donated to charity. With good education and equal access to natural opportunities, inequalities in financial assets are not unjust so long as there is no force or fraud.

15. Critics of LVT claim that property ownership promotes civil values and stability. This has been disputed (http://www.progress.org/2010/fold676.htm), but if true, the ownership of one’s human capital, future wages, buildings, and personal property should provide similar benefits.

For more detailed rebuttals, read the book Critics of Henry George (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=75&rn=304&action=show_detail).
: Mass Privatization as the "Final Stage" of Neoliberal Doctrine
: Geolibertarian March 14, 2011, 11:01:29 AM
http://www.globalresearch.ca/wisconsin-death-trip-mass-privatization-as-the-final-stage-of-neoliberal-doctrine/23664 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/wisconsin-death-trip-mass-privatization-as-the-final-stage-of-neoliberal-doctrine/23664)

“Wisconsin Death Trip.” Mass Privatization as the "Final Stage" of Neoliberal Doctrine

by Prof Michael Hudson and Prof Jeffrey Sommers

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/123664.jpg)

Global Research
March 12, 2011

On Wednesday evening, in a veritable Night of the Long Knives, Wisconsin's integrity was brutally murdered on the floor of the state Capitol in Madison. On 9 March, integrity and trust built up over a century was obliterated as Wisconsin state senators quickly reversed course and cleaved its budget "repair bill" in half. Financial items require a quorum, thus, collective bargaining was split off from the budget repair bill and voted on separately so as to permit its being voted on now. Even so, this still broke the state's open meeting law requiring 24 hours' notice to ensure transparency. Instead, the Wisconsin senate Republicans pulled out this new legislation without advance notice and began voting, leaving only a stunned Democratic legislator, Peter Barca, to read the open meeting law out loud to prevent the senators from voting. The senate voted over his objections anyway.

The Wisconsin brand has always centered on integrity. This was really about the only distinctive comparative advantage the state could lay claim to. Now, it is gone. With collective bargaining abolished, huge issues remain beyond labor. The privatization of public assets is now on the agenda, with the yet-to-be-voted-on budget repair bill.

Wisconsin is a state that invented Progressive Era Republican rule in the 19th and early 20th centuries under such progressive populists as Robert LaFollette. Under their tenure, rent-seeking (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rent-seeking) from the public domain and similar insider corruption were checked by a strong public sector anchored in integrity. The state's long history of reforms nurtured a prosperous middle class and made it a model of clean government, solid infrastructure, trade unionism and high value-added industry managed by socialists and the LaFollette Progressives.

Fast-forward to Scott Walker today. Representing a new breed apart from Wisconsin's earlier Republicans, he is seeking to re-birth the asset-grabbing Gilded Age (http://books.google.com/books?id=U3eG_QoBRzsC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_navlinks_s#v=onepage&q&f=false). A plague of rent-seekers (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html) is seeking quick gains by privatizng the public sector and erecting tollbooths to charge access fees to roads, power plants and other basic infrastructure.

Economics textbooks, along with Fox News and shout radio commentators, spread the myth that fortunes are gained productively by investing in capital equipment and employing labor to produce goods and services that people want to buy. This may be how economies prosper, but it is not how fortunes are most easily made. One need only to turn to the 19th-century novelists such as Balzac to be reminded that behind every family fortune lies a great theft, often long-forgotten or even undiscovered.

But who is one to steal from? Most wealth in history has been acquired either by armed conquest of the land (http://www.barefootsworld.net/nockoets4.html), or by political insider dealing, such as the great US railroad land giveaways of the mid 19th century (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr3b.htm). The great American fortunes have been founded by prying land, public enterprises and monopoly rights from the public domain, because that's where the assets are to take.

Throughout history the world's most successful economies have been those that have kept this kind of primitive accumulation in check. The US economy today is faltering largely because its past barriers against rent-seeking (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Rent-seeking.html) are being breached.

Nowhere is this more disturbingly on display than in Wisconsin. Today, Milwaukee – Wisconsin's largest city, and once the richest in America – is ranked among the four poorest large cities in the United States. Wisconsin is just the most recent case in this great heist. The US government itself and its regulatory agencies effectively are being privatized as the "final stage" of neoliberal economic doctrine.

[Continued... (http://www.globalresearch.ca/wisconsin-death-trip-mass-privatization-as-the-final-stage-of-neoliberal-doctrine/23664)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian April 07, 2011, 04:23:11 PM
http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/landvalue/ (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/landvalue/)

Land Value Tax

Conventional property tax falls mostly on improvements.

To levy a conventional property tax, assessors normally determine the value of the land and the additional value of the improvements. The two values are added together and the total value is taxed. As a result, property tax falls mostly on improvements.

As a result, property tax penalizes most home owners, who usually improve and maintain their homes better than absentee owners. The property tax on improvements also discourages construction while it rewards those who milk run-down properties or sit on vacant properties with light taxes.

(http://www.savingcommunities.org/graphics/landtax/doublehouseproptaxcolor.gif)

Land value tax (LVT) untaxes improvements

Jurisdictions that levy land value taxes charge lower rates (or no tax at all) on improvements. Taxes burdens on well developed and well maintained properties fall and burdens on blighted and vacant properties rise until identical lots pay the same taxes no matter what the improvements on those lots are worth.

LVT is easier to assess

Land lies out of doors, and all features are fully visible. In contrast, assessors have no right to inspect the interior or buildings without the building occupant's consent, and considerably more skill is required to assess the value of structural integrity and amenities. Land can be assessed more accurately than buildings, at a fraction of the cost of assessing buildings.

LVT fosters honesty

Conventional property tax encourages people to hide improvements, sometimes by secretly remodeling without filing building permits. Such dishonesty to avoid an assessment hike can create fire and health hazards, as the main purpose of permits is to insure that safety codes are respected. Other taxes encourage people to conspire to not report, or under-report, income, sales, etc. These corrupting incentives work not merely on taxpayers, but on government itself. Who is to know when a tax collector has "looked the other way" or brokered a deal if the tax information is private? Land values are entirely public information, and the factors that determine land values are also public information.

Location, location, location

Land values vary tremendously according to location. A square yard of prime Manhattan land is worth more than a typical acre of New York State farmland. The value of land in the most affluent residential neighborhoods can easily exceed 100 times the value in the poorest neighborhoods, especially where undertaxation of land has encouraged speculation.

Most home owners pay less

Dozens of studies in dozens of cities have shown that most home owners pay less under land value tax than under property tax, and much less than under income taxes. The only exceptions we have seen are where only a small minority of residents can afford home ownership or where businesses have been so overtaxed that demand for business properties has been discouraged.

LVT encourages growth

Hundreds of taxing jurisdictions around the world have experienced increased construction and renovation after shifting to LVT, including over 20 taxing jurisdictions (mostly cities) in Pennsylvania. Pittsburgh, which had higher taxes on land than on buildings from 1913 to 2000, enjoyed a major "renaissance" after World War II, despite an abrupt reduction in the demand for armor plate, most of which had been produced in Pittsburgh. This renaissance was the subject of articles in at least 27 magazines (http://www.savingcommunities.org/docs/williams.percy/gradedtaxtables.html#magazines). Another major surge in construction occurred in the early 1980s after Pittsburgh dramatically increased its tax rates on land value, despite the closing of its largest employer in 1979, Jones & Laughlin Steel. This second surge, dubbed "Renaissance II," was featured in the 1983 Fortune article, "Higher Taxes that Promote Development (http://www.savingcommunities.org/articles/fortune/hightax.html)."

LVT helps small business

Small businesses are more land-effficient, while big businesses are more labor efficient. Shifting to land value tax gives a competitive advantage to neighborhood business districts over shopping malls, small merchants over chain stores, and full-time family farms over agribusiness. By keeping land prices low, it also helps new businesses, which must buy or rent land, compete with established businesses that own their land free and clear.

LVT keeps housing affordable

LVT has such a powerful dampening effect on idle land speculation that even the land portion of the real estate tax keeps housing affordable. Cities with the highest real estate taxes have the most affordable housing. Texas and California were the two fastest growing states in the second half of the 20th century. Texas (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilityrank.html), which relies heavily on property tax, having no personal income taxes, has four of the six most affordable cities (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilityrank.html) in the nation. California (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilityrank.html#california), which dramatically curtailed its property taxes, has 23 of the 25 least affordable cities (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilityrank.html#r219).

It is only logical that a tax on buildings would discourage construction and reduce the supply of buildings, increasing real estate prices and rents. However, LVT is such a potent disincentive to idle landholding that it has a much stronger opposite effect. We found a strong correlation (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilitycharts.html) between high real estate taxes and housing affordability.

LVT reduces foreclosure

Keeping house prices stable and affordable reduces foreclosures. Also, any real estate tax must be born by the bank or mortgage company that forecloses. This makes mortgagors more willing to negotiate in order to avoid taking possession of the tax obligations. Beyond that, tax impact studies in Pittsburgh, Clairton, Duquesne and McKeesport have shown that LVT saves mortgaged home owners even more than other home owners.

LVT costs renters nothing

Economists agree that LVT is not passed on to renters, because rents are determined by what the market will bear, not by landlords' costs. LVT benefits landlords by encouraging higher density and attracting more tenants, not by gouging existing tenants. Other taxes drive productive tenants away and depress rents by more than what the landlord would have paid under a land value tax. All taxes eventually come out of rent, and LVT is the only one that does not discourage economic growth.

LVT is naturally progressive

LVT is most burdensome to those who hold valuable urban land they are not using. Clearly, these owners have no cash-flow problems, or else they would sell their unused land to people who would develop it. It also shifts the tax burden from home owners to corporate-owned and absentee-owned property, although corporations and absentee owners who fully develop their properties still save. Because land value tax is not passed on to renters or consumers, and because it keeps housing prices low for home buyers, it is the most progressive of all taxes.

LVT helps keep government local

One of the excuses for centralizing government is that other taxes chase residents and businesses out of local taxing jurisdictions. Because land is the one thing that does not cross borders to escape taxation, it creates no rationale for shifting government to state and federal jurisdictions.

LVT reduces sprawl

The need for government services is naturally highest in urban areas, where land prices are also highest. Higher taxes in cities and inner suburbs drive development outward, and land speculation also causes development to leapfrog over better urban and suburban sites into rural areas.

Replacing taxes that drive people away with a tax that discourages land speculation draws development inward, reducing sprawl. Places that have adopted LVT enjoy not only more development, but more compact development.

LVT streamlines government

Encouraging growth reduces the rationale for economic development subsidies. Growth also creates jobs, reducing the costs of unemployment compensation and public welfare expenditures. Reducing sprawl reduces the need for transportation expenditures. Keeping housing affordable reduces the need for housing subsidies and public housing.

Every proposed public expenditure should increase land values by more than its cost. Governments that fund themselves from a land value tax tend to make more rational spending decisions.

LVT reflects taxpayer benefits

The value of land is the only value that is created by access to community-created and government-created advantages. Under a land value tax, every taxpayer pays in proportion to the benefits he receives, and does not pay on the fruits of his own labors.

LVT is the most endorsed tax

From the seventeenth century to this day, and from across the political spectrum, LVT has been endorsed by more outstanding icons of economics, philosophy and statesmanship than any other tax.

LVT has a rich and strong history.

LVT was a centerpiece of classical liberalism, the progressive movement and the early labor movement. It was embraced by many of America's founding fathers and written into the Articles of Confederation. The first two tax rebellions in the United States were led in opposition to taxes that shifted the tax burden off of early land monopolists.

LVT is fundamentally fair

Whether the criterion is ability to pay or reflection of benefits received, LVT is the most fundamentally fair broad-based tax available. The biggest obstacle to adopting LVT is that interest groups try to get benefits for themselves at the expense of others. Under LVT, everyone pays in proportion to the benefits they ultimately receive.

Privileged interests oppose LVT

The great difficulty in advancing LVT is that it shifts the tax burden onto those who not only have the most ability to pay, but have the most ability to influence political leadership and public opinion. Yet LVT has often been supported by wealthy people who put public interest ahead of their personal enrichment.

LVT is gaining momentum

The economic successes in cities that have adopted LVT, and the economic consequences of productivity taxation, have led more and more cities to embrace LVT in Pennsylvania, where it is already permitted, and has led other states to consider it as well. It also enjoys increased support in several other countries.
: The Failed Explanation
: Geolibertarian April 18, 2011, 10:20:13 AM
http://www.progress.org/2011/fold713.htm (http://www.progress.org/2011/fold713.htm)

The Failed Explanation

by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The Progress Report
18 April 2011

Weekly “alternative” newspapers throughout the USA on 13 April 2011 published an article by David Cay Johnson on “The failed experiment” (SF Bay Guardian) or “Tax the Rich!” (East Bay Express) or “9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes” (Willamette Week; To see the whole article, click here (http://www.wweek.com/portland/article-17350-9_things_the_rich_dont_want_you_to_know_about_taxes.html)).

The author claims that “misplaced faith in tax cuts” and other “economic myths” are destroying the economy of the USA. He is correct that the economy of the USA, and other countries also, are being destroyed, but this not because of tax cuts. What has caused wreckage and will cause future economic catastrophes are huge subsidies to land value. But this economic reality is not obviously observable, and understanding it requires a knowledge of economic theory that very few journalists have.

The author claims that the US government has conducted an economic experiment in “supply-side economics.” He describes this policy as tax cuts that stimulate investment and growth, which then generates more tax revenue than before. But real supply-side economics only proposes that a reduction in the cost of production results in more production. Supply-side theory cannot claim whether tax revenues will increase or decrease, since that is an empirical result that has to be found from application.

There is indeed a revenue curve theorized by the Arab economist Abu Said ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), popularized by economist Arthur Laffer. The Khaldun or Laffer curve says that at very high tax rates, there will be less tax revenue than at lower rates, because if almost all income gets taxed away, there is less production. If tax rates are low, then higher tax rates do generate more tax revenue. But where the US economy is or has been on the Khaldun curve is an empirical matter; supply-side theory cannot provide any particular maximum-revenue tax rate.

Actually, tax revenues did rise substantially after tax cuts. There were tax cuts during the administrations of presidents Kennedy in the 1960s, Reagan in the 1980s, and GW Bush during the 2000s, and all resulted in more economic growth and lower unemployment. The problem was not the tax cuts, but that the economic growth got misdirected into speculative real estate booms. The misdirection was caused by massive subsidies to land values.

The author talks about the rich and the poor without differentiating or examining where the money comes from. He does say that “Big real-estate investors enjoy tax-free living” because they can deduct “paper losses like depreciation” against income. But the author does not mention the greatest subsidy of all, the generation of land rental from public works and civic services, paid for mostly from taxes on labor. Worker-tenants pay twice for public goods, once in higher rental, and again in taxes. Landowners get subsidized by getting higher land value, along with low tax rates on real estate, legal-fiction depreciation, tax-free property sales, and tax-deductible mortgages and property taxes.

The author complains about the rich who pay no taxes, but does not provide the most effective remedy: tap land value for public revenue. Advocating higher income taxes on the rich ignores the fact that many of the rich get the funds back via the government subsidy to their land value. The alleged purpose of the income tax was to get the rich to pay most of the taxes, and the rich do pay much of the income taxes, but there are other taxes such as on goods that the poor pay, and the rich will have the political clout to obtain tax deductions, credits, and exemptions.

The remedy is a constitutional provision that requires the collection of the economic rent of all land. Unlike income and financial capital, land does not hide, flee, or shrink when taxed. The real estate assessments would be a public record for all to see.

Supply-side economists are correct in saying that lower tax rates on labor and enterprise will generate more production, investment, and growth. They usually avoid taking the concept to its logical conclusion: have no taxes on labor and capital yields, but do tap the full economic rent of land. Taxing or tapping land value promotes the most productive use of land, since it is based on the rent paid when land is optimally used, regardless of current use or current tenant payments. But the author is evidently unaware of, or else ignores, land-value taxation.

The author states that the incomes of most Americans have stayed about the same, while the income of the very rich rose substantially. But there is no examination of the cause: much of the gains from economic growth is captured by higher rent. That is why the few who own much of the valuable real estate, such as commercial land, get rich, while most folks break even. When wages do go up, the increase is eaten up by higher payments for housing. Some middle-class homeowners thought they were benefitting from rising real estate prices, only to suffer great losses from the inevitable Crash of 2008.

The author finishes by advocating “a tax system that benefits the vast majority,” but does not say what that would be. Unfortunately, readers are left with the impression that the remedy is to hike up income tax rates. But if high tax rates are so good, Kennedy would not have advocated the tax reduction that created prosperity during the 1960s, until the country got infected by the Vietnam war, higher inflation, and a real estate boom that crashed in 1973.

An opportunity to provide real economic education was missed. “The failed experiment” was a failed explanation. Interestingly, the fact that the author, a writer for the web site tax.com, did not explicitly advocate higher income tax rates, indicates that perhaps he may be conflicted, perhaps knowing the truth, but not daring to exclaim it.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Protean April 18, 2011, 11:23:59 AM
Related--

Once in a century rip-off

Real News Network Interview with Economist Michael Hudson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdsnIYurpSM

&

Reaganomics Sucked Wealth Up, Did Not Trickle It Down

Real News Network Interview with Economist Michael Hudson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBZdpYdEmgY

&

Inquiry Doesn't Call Crisis Systemic Fraud

Real News Network Interview with Economist Michael Hudson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0YDpM-_mU0
: The ruling-class parasites pulling Obama's strings want to tax your driving
: Geolibertarian May 07, 2011, 10:08:51 AM
The carbon tax has also been in the news. The economic snake-oil salesmen who shamelessly peddle this ridiculous scheme routinely claim that it will "curb emissions" while helping to "strengthen" our economy. Now, since it is the wealth (http://www.politicaleconomy.org/speII_1.htm)-producing process of applying labor (http://www.henrygeorge.org/def2.htm#blec) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) to land (http://www.landandfreedom.org/econ/econ2f.htm) that generates much of the man-made carbon (http://www.populartechnology.net/2008/11/carbon-dioxide-co2-is-not-pollution.html) emissions that global warming (http://www.wnho.net/global_warming.htm) cultists incessantly wax alarmist about, what the aforementioned salesmen are essentially claiming is that -- even though labor and capital are taxed to death already -- if we tax them even more, that will magically improve our collapsing economy. 

The truth, of course, is the very opposite...

http://www.prisonplanet.com/barack-obama%e2%80%99s-plan-to-tax-americans-for-the-number-of-miles-that-they-drive-is-part-of-the-radical-green-agenda-being-shoved-down-the-throats-of-the-entire-world.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/barack-obama%e2%80%99s-plan-to-tax-americans-for-the-number-of-miles-that-they-drive-is-part-of-the-radical-green-agenda-being-shoved-down-the-throats-of-the-entire-world.html)

Barack Obama’s Plan To Tax Americans For The Number Of Miles That They Drive Is Part Of The Radical Green Agenda Being Shoved Down The Throats Of The Entire World

The American Dream (http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/barack-obamas-plan-to-tax-americans-for-the-number-of-miles-that-they-drive-is-part-of-the-radical-green-agenda-being-shoved-down-the-throats-of-the-entire-world)
May 7, 2011

Do you know what a trial balloon is?  It is when politicians will float an idea in the media to see what the reaction of the public will be.  Well, right now one trial balloon that is being floated is the idea that we should tax Americans for the number of miles that they drive.  This proposal showed up in a draft bill that was being circulated within the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Office of Management and Budget.  You can view a copy of this draft bill here (http://thehill.com/images/stories/blogs/flooraction/Jan2011/draftdot.pdf) [.pdf].  Of course the Obama administration is denying that this proposal will be in the final draft of the legislation.  The Obama administration is stressing that this was just “a draft” of the bill.  But this is what happens very often with trial balloons.  They are put out there and the politicians will say things like “this is being studied” or “this isn’t a serious proposal yet” and then one day we all wake up and it is suddenly being implemented.  The fact that there is even draft legislation that would tax Americans based on the number of miles that they drive should be incredibly sobering for all of us.  If the global warming alarmists have their way, there are going to be lots of these kinds of taxes in our future.

The following is how an article posted on The Hill (http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/159397-obama-floats-plan-to-tax-cars-by-the-mile) describes some of the specifics of this proposal….


Doesn’t that just sound lovely?

How many of you are going to line up to be the first ones to have this tracking equipment installed in your car?

Sadly, if this ever does become law, the tracking equipment will probably be installed on all new vehicles.

This is just another example of how our politicians love to tax things that they don’t like.

The Obama administration is full of global warming alarmists that want to penalize Americans for anything that increases emissions of carbon dioxide.

It doesn’t matter to them that carbon dioxide is one of the basic building blocks of life on planet earth, and that our atmosphere is already starved of carbon dioxide.

It doesn’t matter to them that reducing levels of carbon dioxide will make it harder for crops to grow and could set off a global famine.

It doesn’t matter to them that carbon dioxide has nothing to do (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100037784/whoops-co2-has-almost-nothing-to-do-with-global-warming-discovers-top-us-meteorologist/) with global warming.

It doesn’t matter to them that over 95% of all carbon dioxide emissions would still occur even if humans were not present on Earth.

For those that are “true believers” in the radical green agenda, no amount of common sense will stop them from pressing forward with their militant crusade.

In Europe, the European Commission has unveiled a plan to ban all cars (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8411336/EU-to-ban-cars-from-cities-by-2050.html#) from major European cities by the year 2050.

Yes, you read that correctly.

In Europe, the mantra that “carbon dioxide = evil” has become gospel.  This banning of cars from city centers is all part of a draconian master plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Europe by 60 percent over the next 40 years.

The sad truth is that the radical green agenda is at the very heart of the tyrannical New World Order system that the global elite very much desire to impose on every nation on earth.

Just watch the video posted below.  It was originally produced by the Forum for the Future, a major NGO funded by big corporations such as Time Warner and Royal Dutch Shell.  In this video, the Forum for the Future presents their chilling version of the future.  Are you ready to live in a “Planned-opolis”?  Are you ready to use a “calorie card” and to have what you eat determined by a “global food council”?  This is the kind of tyrannical future that these radical environmental organizations want to impose on you and I….

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/barack-obama%e2%80%99s-plan-to-tax-americans-for-the-number-of-miles-that-they-drive-is-part-of-the-radical-green-agenda-being-shoved-down-the-throats-of-the-entire-world.html)]
: California tells online retailers to start collecting sales taxes from customers
: Geolibertarian June 30, 2011, 03:27:31 PM
http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html)

Sales Tax Destroys Commerce

by Dan Sullivan

Pennsylvania has virtually no shopping malls within 15 miles of Delaware, even though population density in that area is higher than anywhere else in Pennsylvania (and, for that matter, higher than in Delaware). Why the dearth of shopping malls? Because Pennsylvania has a 6% sales tax (7% in Philadelphia), and Delaware has no sales tax at all.

[Continued... (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html)]

http://www.progress.org/fold130.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold130.htm)

Taxes: 19th-century Sales versus 21st-century Rent

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
2000

The sales tax is a 19th-century tax that is becoming ever more unsuited for our global mobile 21st century economy. There is no logical or economic reason whatsoever for taxing sales. Yet there are those who advocate expanding this antiquated tax and forcing high transaction taxes on the global commerce of the internet.

It is unfortunate, and may even be a tragedy, that some USA tax reformers, seeing the evil of the income tax, advocate shifting to a national sales tax. This misguided movement for consumption and sales taxes is splitting the tax-reform movement and diverting energy and time away from realistic and beneficial tax reform.

[Continued... (http://www.progress.org/fold130.htm)]

http://www.prisonplanet.com/california-tells-online-retailers-to-start-collecting-sales-taxes-from-customers.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/california-tells-online-retailers-to-start-collecting-sales-taxes-from-customers.html)

California tells online retailers to start collecting sales taxes from customers

Marc Lifsher
Los Angeles Times (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-tax-20110630,0,4344787.story)
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Reporting from Sacramento — Shopping at Amazon.com Inc. and other major Internet stores is poised to get more expensive.

Beginning Friday, a new state law will require large out-of-state retailers to collect sales taxes on purchases that their California customers make on the Internet — a prospect eased only slightly by a 1-percentage-point drop in the tax that also takes effect at the same time.

Getting the taxes, which consumers typically don’t pay to the state if online merchants don’t charge them, is “a common-sense idea,” said Gov. Jerry Brown, who signed the legislation into law Wednesday.

The new tax collection requirement — part of budget-related legislation — is expected to raise an estimated $317 million a year in new state and local government revenue.

Full story here. (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-amazon-tax-20110630,0,4344787.story)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense June 30, 2011, 03:41:26 PM
Heh, could be worse, could have a sales tax of 20% on everything from food to plumbing supplies (like the UK does).
: Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?
: Geolibertarian July 12, 2011, 04:05:26 PM
http://www.progress.org/archive/fold239.htm (http://www.progress.org/archive/fold239.htm)

Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
2002

Some critics of the use of rent for public finance claim that real estate transactions are voluntary, so no damage is done when the land rent is kept by the owner instead of being shared by the community. So let's examine the question, is the rent paid voluntarily?

Critics of community rent claim that the payment of rent by a tenant is a voluntary payment for the service of finding tenants and allocating the best use of land. There are two issues involved in the issue of whether this is truly voluntary. First, is it voluntary not just for the agents involved, but for all society? Second, is it in fact voluntary for the agents?

Take the example of pollution. If Bob the buyer pays Peter the polluter for a product Peter makes, this is voluntary between Bob and Peter. But in making the product, Peter has polluted the neighborhood, something that is not voluntary for the residents. Economists call this a "negative externality" as a cost imposed on others, not compensated by the polluter.

The basic question here is, who is the morally proper owner of the land rent? If we agree that human beings are morally equal as persons and have equal natural rights, then the proper owner of natural land rent is all humanity in equal shares. In that case, when the landowner keeps all the land rent, he is stealing property that belongs to others, even if it is done legally. It is involuntary even if the members of the community do not claim this as their legitimate property, just as if a thief steals my radio and I don't know it is missing, the theft is still involuntary to me, as I did not consent to this taking.

The second moral question is whether a land transaction is voluntary even for the landlord and the buyer or renter. It is true that nobody is pointing a gun at them and ordering them to rent the land from the landlord. But suppose someone put you in prison and there were several empty cells you could be put into. The guard says, choose one of the cells. Is this choice voluntary? Relative to the cells, yes, you choose one. But the greater context of being in prison is involuntary, so the choice of cells is also involuntary. The higher-level coercions flows down to the lower-level choices. It is like asking you, if you are to be executed, whether you would prefer to be hanged, shot, gassed, or electrocuted. If your higher-level preference is to live rather than die, these choices are coerced, since you would rather not make such choices in the first place.

All land is monopolized, since new land cannot be created or imported. The landlords give you choice: which plot of land do you wish to be located in? You the tenant have no choice as to having to live on some land. Your only choice is which monopolist will take the rent that naturally and properly belongs to you in the first place as a member of the community. It is similar to the choice of prison cells. It is only superficially and by appearance a free choice, but the higher-level context of landlordism, of the landlords keeping rentals that do not properly belong to them, is mandated by the legal system imposed by government. So long as you are subject to that regime, you the tenant or buyer of land have no choice in substance.

The slave trade was also a voluntary transaction between a seller and buyer of slaves, but it was not voluntary to the slave, who morally was the proper owner of his own labor. It may not have been even voluntary to the buyer of slaves if everyone else in the neighborhood owns slaves and it is impossible to compete with them unless you too are a slave owner.

So only the overthrow of landlordism, the land tenure system where the title holder keeps all the natural rent, will make real-estate transactions truly voluntary. When the natural rent, due to the natural resource value, is shared by the community, including by using it for public revenue, then when a landlord rents to a tenant, this is truly voluntary, because the landowner is not taking what belongs to others. Then when a buyer purchases land, the purchase price is voluntary and also lower, because the rents belonging to others are not capitalized in the purchase price.

Don't blame all the landlords. Most are locked into the prison system just as much as the tenants. Blame the system. Blame the ignorance of the public, the greed of politicians and the landed interests who actively prevent rent sharing, and the apathy of voters who don't want to be bothered to improve their knowledge of ethics, economics, and government.
: Re: Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?
: Geolibertarian July 12, 2011, 04:15:53 PM
http://www.progress.org/archive/fold239.htm (http://www.progress.org/archive/fold239.htm)

Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?

Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from the above article is that, contrary to what right-wing critics of Henry George’s Single Tax would have everyone blindly believe, the payment of land rent is “compulsory” regardless of whether or not it’s diverted into the public treasury. Why? Two reasons.

First, because land itself is fixed in both supply and location. If you go to a furniture store and buy, let’s say, 20 square feet of carpeting, is there automatically that much less carpeting to go around for everyone else? Of course not. Why? Because new carpeting is being produced all the time. The same principle applies to all other products of human labor. But with land it’s the very opposite: since land is fixed in both supply and location, if I appropriate so many acres or square miles of it, then there is that much less for everyone else. Hence Adam Smith’s conclusion that:


-- The Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 11

Thus, if the Queen of England gets to assert exclusive, unconditional “ownership” of the billions of acres of land (http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/) to which she holds title, then every other overprivileged aristocrat and absentee landlord gets to do likewise. The end result? An artificial scarcity of available land. And it is this artificial scarcity that allows landlords and slumlords to continually rent gouge (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4) landless wage-earners to such an extent that the latter rarely have more disposable income than is needed just to survive (many times not even that much -- hence the growing trend of college graduates having to move back in with their parents).

Secondly, because access to land is a universal precondition to life itself. Thus, in a world in which all land has been appropriated (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr8a.htm) by a mere subset of the population, and in which billions of people are continually driven by the threat of either starvation or harsh weather into competing for access to it, land rent gets paid either way -- and is paid under penalty of "force" either way (as any sheriff who’s had to evict unemployed tenants at gunpoint will readily attest).

Reactionary defenders of privilege (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/) often object to this by asserting that, since wage-earners get to choose "who" they pay land rent to, it’s a “voluntary” payment. But as Dr. Fred Foldvary explains in the above article, this is misleading at best, because it conveniently ignores the fact that -- due to the two reasons just mentioned -- they have no real “choice” as to whether they pay, since the only “alternative” to paying is to either beg and grovel for charity or (if no charity is granted) simply starve.

     (http://media.npr.org/programs/newsnotes/features/2006/mar/carter/blurb200_lg.jpg?t=1248631160)

This may be easier for some to understand if we consider the issue of chattel slavery. Would a chattel slave in the 19th century have been any less of a slave if he got to “choose” who his slavemaster was? Of course not. Why? Because he still wouldn’t have been free to choose whether he had a slavemaster to begin with.


-- James Bovard, Freedom In Chains (http://books.google.com/books?id=I6KPP6x8IHcC), p. 132

Same principle here. A person isn’t truly free unless he has not only the choice of who gets to exact tribute from him in exchange for a mere place to stand without being threatened or shot at, but the choice of whether he has to pay such tribute to anyone in the first place. And the bottom line is: in an Austrian School economy, millions if not billions of people would have only the former choice, not the latter -- that is to say, they’d have only the choice of to whom they pay feudal tribute, not whether they pay.

Thus, since the payment of land rent is compulsory regardless of whether it’s collected publicly or privately, the only question is, Does such payment constitute “feudal tribute” regardless of who the recipient is?

The short answer is “no.” To understand why, consider the following analogy.

Let’s say I invent a one-of-a-kind machine that generates unlimited electricity, and that I will it equally to my five sons. Once I pass away, the question immediately arises as to how to adjudicate disputes over who gets access to it, and on what terms. If the eldest son insists on enjoying exclusive possession of my machine, then the government-enforced payment of rent to the other four is, in that context, not a tribute for using that machine, but a fee for the state-sanctioned privilege of denying use of it to those who have an equal right to it. But what if we’re in an Austrian School economy, and what if, realizing this, the eldest son “mixes his labor” with the machine by cleaning it and painting it a different color? Then the court system will likely rule that any and all rental value that is generated by the ongoing competition for exclusive access to the machine is the “private property” of the eldest son. In that context, the payment of rent to the eldest son is not a fee for the privilege of denying use of the machine to those who are thereby dispossessed of their birthright, but a tribute paid by one of the dispossessed for mere access to that which, in reality, he has as much a “right” to as the one receiving tribute. In the former context there is justice, because all five sons are treated as moral equals. In the latter context there is injustice, because they’re not treated as moral equals.

Thus, whether the payment of land rent (returning now to the issue at hand) constitutes feudal tribute or not depends on to whom it’s paid. If it’s paid to titleholders, then it’s feudal tribute, because it’s based on the aristocratic (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr7a.htm) notion of the earth being that to which titleholders have an exclusive right of access. If it’s paid instead (whether directly as a citizen’s dividend (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.msg958487#msg958487) or indirectly through the rent-financed provision of public goods and services) to those who’ve been dispossessed of their natural birthright, then it’s mere compensation, because it’s based on the recognition that the earth is that to which all humans (not just titleholders) have an equal (http://www.schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/grundskyld/23-Perplex-Ch4.html) right of access.

To understand just how absurdly immoral and anti-“liberty” the Austrian School alternative is, imagine if someone proposed allowing wealthy rent-seekers to buy up all the air “with their hard-earned money” and begin charging everyone else rent for breathing “their” property. Most people, of course, would instinctively object to such a ridiculous proposal. But why they would object? Because they’d realize that the air we breathe is not provided or “allocated” to us by any person or group of persons presuming to “own” it all, but is made available to us by nature -- or by God, if you're religious -- and that to be denied access to it for failing to pay feudal tribute to an airlord is to have the property you have in yourself violated.

Georgists simply apply the same principle to land, because, just as air itself is a free gift of nature, so too is land; and just as access to air is a universal precondition to life itself, so too is access to land. (I realize land and air have different physical characteristics, but in the two key respects I just mentioned, they’re very much the same.)

As for the privatize-everything Austrian School, the bottom line is: if speculators could hoard the air the way they hoard land, and thereby confer to themselves the power of exacting a monthly ransom fee from those needing access to it to live, then, as long as there was a “free market” in the sale and purchase of air titles, there’d be slogan-parroting Austrians all over the place proudly defending this extortion racket in the name of (you guessed it) “liberty” and “private property rights.” They’d be saying things like, “Airlords aren’t parasitizing people through a form of legalized extortion as certain freedom-hating socialists and collectivists have claimed; they’re merely ‘allocating’ the air to the most productive breathers.”  ::)

As ridiculous as that sounds, the sad reality is that, as long as those spouting such aristocratic nonsense were wrapped in the American flag or the flag of “liberty,” millions of gullible people would actually fall for this and start blindly defending the very system that’s parasitizing them -- insisting all the while that only those who hate liberty and private property would so much as question the legitimacy of that system. It’s right out of a George Orwell novel.

Unfortunately, these are the kinds of reactionaries who’ve territorialized the anti-NWO (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO24XmP1c5E) (i.e., anti-war/anti-police state/anti-eugenics/anti-global government) movement, which no doubt pleases the global elite (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=162212.msg967898#msg967898), because that means the number of people who compose this movement will never reach critical mass (since most of the millions of non-reactionaries out there simply have better things to do with their time than listen to label (http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-socialism.htm)-obsessed reactionaries call them liberty-hating “socialists” and “communists” all day long).

I can only hope that threads such as this one help to reverse that trend.
: Tens Of Thousands Of Formerly Middle Class Americans Are Sleeping In Their Cars
: Geolibertarian July 13, 2011, 03:05:26 PM
"Queen Elizabeth II, head of state of the United Kingdom and of 31 other states and territories, is the legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface.

"She is the only person on earth who owns whole countries, and who owns countries that are not her own domestic territory. This land ownership is separate from her role as head of state and is different from other monarchies where no such claim is made – Norway, Belgium, Denmark etc.

"The value of her land holding. £17,600,000,000,000 (approx)."

-- http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/ (http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/)


“Given a stationary population and private ownership of all land, improvements in manufacturing methods do not, in the long-run, increase the earnings of labour and capital, but are absorbed by rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm).”
 
-- Max Hirsch, Democracy vs. Socialism (http://books.google.com/books?id=PHlDAAAAIAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false), p. 446


"I am using the word wages not in the sense of a quantity, but in the sense of proportion. When I say that wages fall as rent rises, I do not mean that the quantity of wealth obtained by laborers as wages is necessarily less, but that the proportion which it bears to the whole produce is necessarily less. The proportion may diminish while the quantity remains the same or even increases."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html), p. 216


"Place one hundred men on an island from which there is no escape, and whether you make one of these men the absolute owner of the other ninety-nine, or the absolute owner of the soil of the island, will make no difference either to him or to them.

"In the one case, as the other, the one will be the absolute master of the ninety-nine--his power extending even to life and death, for simply to refuse them permission to live upon the island would be to force them into the sea.

"Upon a larger scale, and through more complex relations, the same cause must operate in the same way and to the same end--the ultimate result, the enslavement of laborers, becoming apparent just as the pressure increases which compels them to live on and from land which is treated as the exclusive property of others. Take a country in which the soil is divided among a number of proprietors, instead of being in the hands of one, and in which, as in modern production, the capitalist has been specialized from the laborer, and manufacturers and exchange, in all their many branches, have been separated from agriculture. Though less direct and obvious, the relations between the owners of the soil and the laborers will, with the increase of population and the improvement of the arts, tend to the same absolute master on the one hand and the same abject helplessness on the other, as in the case of the island we have supposed. Rent will advance, while wages will fall (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/pp036.html#p-30)."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html), pp. 347-8


"A family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year, in order to afford a modest rental home, according to a report released April 21 [2010] by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Despite the recession, the report finds that rents continue to rise, while wages continue to fall across the country."

-- http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4 (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4)


Keep the above in mind as you read the following:

---------------------------------

http://www.prisonplanet.com/outcasts-tonight-tens-of-thousands-of-formerly-middle-class-americans-will-be-sleeping-in-their-cars-in-tent-cities-or-on-the-streets.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/outcasts-tonight-tens-of-thousands-of-formerly-middle-class-americans-will-be-sleeping-in-their-cars-in-tent-cities-or-on-the-streets.html)

Tonight Tens Of Thousands Of Formerly Middle Class Americans Will Be Sleeping In Their Cars

The Economic Collapse (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/outcasts-tonight-tens-of-thousands-of-formerly-middle-class-americans-will-be-sleeping-in-their-cars-in-tent-cities-or-on-the-streets)
July 13, 2011

(http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Outcasts-Tonight-Tens-Of-Thousands-Of-Formerly-Middle-Class-Americans-Will-Be-Sleeping-In-Their-Cars-In-Tent-Cities-Or-On-The-Streets-250x187.jpg)

Economic despair is beginning to spread rapidly in America.  As you read this, there are millions of American families that are just barely hanging on by their fingernails.  For a growing number of Americans, it has become an all-out battle just to be able to afford to sleep under a roof and put a little bit of food on the table.  Sadly, there are more people than ever that are losing that battle.  Tonight, tens of thousands of formerly middle class Americans will be sleeping in their cars, even though that is illegal in many U.S. cities.  Tens of thousands of others will be sleeping in tent cities or on the streets.  Meanwhile, communities all over America are passing measures that are meant to push tent cities and homeless people out of their areas.  It turns out that once you lose your job and your home in this country you become something of an outcast.  Sadly, the number of “outcasts” is going to continue to grow as the U.S. economy continues to collapse.

Most Americans that end up living in their cars on in tent cities never thought that it would happen to them.

An article in Der Spiegel (http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,712496-2,00.html) profiled one American couple that is absolutely shocked at what has happened to them….


How would you feel if you had a 3 year old kid and a 5 year old kid and you were sleeping in a car?

Sadly, if child protective services finds out about that family those kids will probably be stolen away and never returned.

America is becoming a very cruel place.

Unfortunately, what has happened to that family is not an isolated incident.

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/outcasts-tonight-tens-of-thousands-of-formerly-middle-class-americans-will-be-sleeping-in-their-cars-in-tent-cities-or-on-the-streets.html)]

---------------------------------

If anyone thinks this privilege (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/)-induced trend of people being rack-rented (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Rack-Rented.html) out of their homes started only a few years ago, think again:

---------------------------------

High California rents push working poor to cheap motels

CNN.com
October 30, 2000

ANAHEIM, California (CNN) -- Home for Yolanda Miramontes and her five children is a cheap motel room in Anaheim, California, a thriving city where the average apartment rents for $1,200 a month.

Southern California's booming economy has pushed rents so high that most apartments are far out of reach for low-income families. And that's contributing to a growing trend: entire families living -- permanently or semi-permanently -- in motels.

In Anaheim, population 310,000, as many as 2,000 people are full-time motel residents. "It's hard on the kids," Miramontes told CNN. "Although they call this home, I still can't accept it."

With few low-income housing projects underway, the working poor have been squeezed out of the housing market and into small motel rooms renting for $600 a month -- roughly $20 a day.

"I think this is the best place for us to be right now while we are looking for somewhere else," said Ebony Green, another motel dweller in Anaheim.

Renters 'are no longer the unemployed'

The Covered Wagon, a 70-unit motel in Anaheim, gets most of its business from locals. "What's different is that the people who are staying here are no longer the unemployed," said owner Jim Parkin.

His renters include parents who work at restaurants, amusement parks, gas stations and other service establishments in Orange County, home to such tourist magnets as Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

"There's no one here collecting cans," Parkin told the Los Angeles Times.

While there are no precise statistics on motel dwellers, motel owners in Anaheim, Long Beach and Van Nuys told the newspaper they've seen dramatic increases in the number of long-term motel residents.

"We are reaching an unparalleled crisis in our housing," said Gary Squier, a consultant and former head of the Los Angeles Housing Department.

[Continued... (http://web.archive.org/web/20081209031527/http://archives.cnn.com/2000/US/10/30/motel.families/index.html)]

---------------------------------

Yet what do privilege (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr7a.htm)-worshipping right-wingers propose as a solution? Make socially-created land rent (http://progress.org/archive/fold221.htm) even more privatized (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/underpop/rent_as_private_property.htm) than it already is, even though this will not only make the rent-wage gap (http://articles.latimes.com/2001/oct/03/business/fi-52643) even wider than it already is -- and thereby make the society-destroying wealth-and-income gap (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=160459.msg1297086#msg1297086) even wider than it already is -- but ensure that governments continue to impose job-destroying taxes on the privately-created values of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm)!  ::)
: Bill O’Reilly Calls For New National Sales Tax
: Geolibertarian July 14, 2011, 11:05:57 AM
http://www.prisonplanet.com/bill-oreilly-calls-for-new-national-sales-tax.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/bill-oreilly-calls-for-new-national-sales-tax.html)

Bill O’Reilly Calls For New National Sales Tax

You Tube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BiB7aSVINw&feature=player_embedded)
July 13, 2011

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BiB7aSVINw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BiB7aSVINw) (Bill O'Reilly: We Need New Revenue)

O’Reilly calls for Americans to be hit with a 1% national sales tax, moving closer to a European-style system where people not only have some of the highest income taxes in the world, but also pay 20% or more in sales taxes (VAT).
: Michael Hudson on the importance of economic rent
: Geolibertarian July 14, 2011, 12:46:32 PM
In the following clip Professor Michael Hudson (http://michael-hudson.com) talks about the importance of economic rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm):

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elg6i3NxvdE (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elg6i3NxvdE)
: Proudhon on Land
: Geolibertarian August 01, 2011, 05:43:04 PM
http://www.progress.org/2010/fold676.htm (http://www.progress.org/2010/fold676.htm)

Proudhon on Land

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
August 01, 2010

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (http://anarchism.pageabode.com/anarcho/pierre-joseph-proudhon-reader) is known for his provocative statement, "Property is theft," in his book, What is Property? (1840).

In economics, Proudhon was partly a crackpot, but in the ethics of property in land, he was brilliant. His moral premise was the moral equality of human beings. He stated that he was not establishing any political system, but only asking for an end to privilege, an equality of rights, nothing but justice.

Proudhon wrote that if the will of the people, the majority of votes, is sovereign, that is despotism. Justice has to be derived rationally. If we have a right to property, then the taxation of that property is theft.

Proudhon examined the justification of property in land. He wrote that people have a right to use the wealth of nature, and the first claimant may claim possession. But possession is not complete ownership, as it should not include the ownership of the land rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm).

Proudhon demolishes the justification of property in land, meaning the ownership of the rent. Agreements justify only the right of use, since the agreement has to be unanimous, and if any one person disagrees, the social contract is abolished.

The state cannot justify landed property by fiat law. Proudhon wrote that whether the state is a dictatorship or a democracy, it is always tyranny, unless people are free, which requires equality in natural opportunities. States, since the Roman Empire, have established property in land rent (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/pp032.html) without looking at the consequences.

Human labor, wrote Proudhon, cannot establish property in land. He asks, "Who is entitled to the rent of the land? The producer of the land, no doubt. But who made the land? God. Therefore, proprietor, retire." Proudhon adds, "But the creator of the land does not sell it, he gives it; and in giving it, he is no respector of persons (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/respecter_of_persons). Why, then, are some of his children regarded as legitimate and others as bastards?" (p. 71)

The occupation of land, said Proudhon, can justify only possession, not property in land, i.e. the ownership of its rent. "The right of property was the origin of evil on earth." (p. 75) But that is the philosophy of the status quo and of conservativism. What preserves this? Ignorance.

Proudhon demolishes the case for the first comer being entitled to land. If occupation creates a land title, why is the renter not the owner? When one stops occupying, why should he continue to be the owner? The "traveller does not appropriate the highway which he travels, so the farmer does not appropriate the field in which he cultivates.“ (p. 113)

In trying to justify the unequal property in land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold160.htm), "the destable competes with the absurd." (p. 123) Property in land has its origin in violence. As fast as the economy grows, so do proprietors increase the land rent they get from tenants. Property in land results in failures, bankruptcies, and periodic economic catastrophes. The reestablishment of equilibrium distracts attention "from the real causes of the economic distress." (p. 141)

By taxing labor, the state says, "THIS IS YOUR WORK. YOU SHALL NOT HAVE IT" (p. 145, all caps in the original). When government taxes wages (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm), the consumption by workers is less than their production. His wage cannot buy what the worker produces.

Many who call for radical social change remain "zealous defenders of property [in land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm)], a radical proof that they know neither what they are doing nor what they want." (p. 158)

However, Proudhon carried the concept of equality too far. He argued that wages (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/pp012.html) should be equal, and that capital goods (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) should be socialized. There, his economic arguments are crackpot.

But Proudhon's moral reasoning regarding land ownership is brilliant and anticipated the clearer thought of Henry George (http://schalkenbach.org/on-line-library/works-by-henry-george/), who was more careful in distinguishing the equal rights (http://www.schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/grundskyld/23-Perplex-Ch4.html) to the benefit of the land, which is rent. Proudhon remains perhaps the first to analyze the unequal appropriation of land rent, and to say that such "property is theft."

Reference: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. 1840 [1994]. What is Property? Ed. and trans. by Kelley and Smith. Cambridge University Press, UK.
: Tax the Poor because they have rich people items like A/C and Refrigerators.
: Jordan August 23, 2011, 02:37:54 PM
Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the Taxman
Yeah I’m the Taxman….

– George Harrison

If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would have thought it to be a work of darkly twisted, comical fiction. But it wasn’t. In fact it was all too real. During a Friday morning appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, a pathetic shill from the Heritage Foundation named Robert Rector was being interviewed by a moderator who miraculously manged to keep a straight face throughout. He really should be called “Robert Rectal”. The guy is that much of an donkey.

I almost spit out my coffee, sitting there listening to this fool vomiting out the latest right wing talking point which was this: The poverty-stricken in America have got a really good deal. According to this loathsome jackass, a high percentage of poor people in this country are in the possession of “luxury items” that poor people just shouldn’t posses. I’ll give you two examples of what what he was referring to. Are you ready for this???

Refrigerators and air conditioners!

How the hell is a family expected to store food (which we all need in order to live as you probably know) without a freakin’ refrigerator? And air-conditioning? A luxury??? In a lethally hot summer – not quite unlike the one we’re experiencing right now – an air-conditioner is the only thing that stands between life and death by dehydration for some people – particularly the elderly. Maybe the poor can compromise. Maybe they can spend those long, hot summer nights taking turns sitting in the fridge. Then again, maybe not.

Here’s another statistic Mr. Rector is whining about: Sixty-three percent of the “poor” (Fox Noise now puts that word in quotation marks) have cable television. Didn’t these assholes get the memo? You can’t get television reception without an antenna anymore. Cable TV is no longer an option, it’s mandatory. Poor people are like most of us. They rely on television – not only for their entertainment – but for their news and information. They really shouldn’t (No one should) but they do.

TV also keeps the kids indoors. While that may not be such a healthy thing if you live in Bel Air or Palm Beach, in high crime neighborhoods that’s a lot more preferable to being outside, getting some “fresh air” while dodging a stray bullet or two. I wonder what the Poverty/Cable percentages were before the airwaves went digital? Much lower, no doubt. Obviously none of these factors were taken into consideration by Rector or any of the geniuses over there at the Heritage Foundation.

And it’s not just Robert Rector who is mouthing this kind of nonsense. In recent weeks Republican politicians and conservative talking heads have been dropping ominous hints as to what’s in store for this diseased country if the American people are stupid enough to ever again hand over all three branches of their government to that disgusting party. You see, the poor (or “the moocher class” as some reprehensible piece of dung on Fox Noise referred to them last week) don’t pay any taxes.

Therefore, instead of extracting badly needed revenue from a class of people who already have more money than they’ll ever be able to spend in a lifetime, the party of the plutocracy plans on taking from that other class of people; most of whom barely get by: The poor. Not just the working class – not just the vanishing middle class, mind you – the poor. Was this a great country or what?

According to these people, the tax code simply isn’t fair. People who live at or below the poverty level have to start chipping in! A family of four making $22,000 a year or less needs to shell out to the Feds. Can you believe that? Think about it: That single mother who barely scratches out a living assembling Big Macs at the McDonald’s down the street? If these hideous bastards and bitches have their way, she will now have to send a check (assuming she has a checking account) to the IRS every April 15. Of course that will mean she and others in her income bracket will have a lot less money to pump back into this already feeble economy – a fact that apparently has not been taken into consideration by the jerks who govern us.

And they call us “elitists”!

First of all, let me dispel the myth they just love to propagate as fact: that the poor pay no taxes. Everybody pays taxes. The eight-year-old kid who walks down to the corner store to purchase an Almond Joy candy bar pays taxes. Remember that the next time you pay $4.31 for a $3.99 pint of Nicolai Vodka. Do you wonder why cigarettes are now over ten dollars a pack in certain states? It isn’t really that difficult to figure out. The wealthy in this country are not contributing their share to the maintenance of society. Certain corporations are not contributing at all! Revenue is badly needed. Most smokers are not rich, and the ones who are can afford to pay ten bucks a pack. Cigarettes are so addictive that they know the smoker – no matter how poor – has a serious nicotine jones and will pay whatever needs to be paid to get his or her fix. It really is a no-brainer if you think about it.

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” – Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 25:45

Let’s not let scripture’s inconvenient truth get in the way of the agendas of these hypocrites.

We are now living in a plutocratic dictatorship.

Oh, what the hell. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em as the old adage goes. Besides, it’s about time those obnoxious poor people start paying their fair share of the tax burden. Screw those people. They’ve had it far too damned easy for far too damned long. They’ve got it made in the shade, baby – what with not having to worry about monthly mortgages, health insurance payments and where to invest their quarterly dividends. It’s high time those wretched assholes learn a thing or two about the real world. It’s time for the lazy and irresponsible “moocher class” to tighten their cardboard belts. f**k ‘em all.

They say that they can’t afford to be taxed? They say that they have bills to pay and children to feed? No problem. Back in the age of Charles Dickens and human bondage they had a place for worthless, deadbeat dung like that: Debtors Prison! It’s high time we bring that institution back into being. Of course, it goes without saying that those prisons will be privately owned by corporations – corporations that will be able to anonymously donate untold sums to corrupt politicians who will pass harshly punitive laws that will make goddamned sure that those prisons are filled to utter capacity forever and ever. They will then build more prisons – and more and more and more prisons – until finally there will be only two classes left in this sick country: The ruling class and the prison class. That dripping noise you hear in the distance is the sound of the Koch brothers drooling. Speaking of the Koch brothers:

“Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good. This is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.” –Charles Koch, as quoted on AlterNet


Charles and David Koch and are billionaires many times over. Unlike most multi-billionaires, who have more money than they possibly know what to do with, the Kochs know damned well what to do with their fortune. They’re working overtime to ensure that America’s middle class is destroyed. They don’t merely want most of America’s wealth and treasure – THEY WANT IT ALL! Would you like them to have it? Then vote for the Republican party next year. You’ll deserve everything that happens to you.


http://www.laprogressive.com/economic-equality/tax-the-poor/
: America's Most Famous Forgotten Man
: Geolibertarian September 02, 2011, 03:09:15 PM
http://www.progress.org/2011/georgeh.htm (http://www.progress.org/2011/georgeh.htm)

America's Most Famous Forgotten Man

Henry George (1839-1897), Social Reformer

If dedication inspires you, check out the life of this thinker. You might not go on to experience all the adventures he had, but you might win more real world victories. An earlier version of this article appeared in The News-Press, Santa Barbara CA's major daily, on Labor Day in 1994.

by Jeffery J. Smith
The Progress Report
2 September 2011

While the issues of 1886 were similar to today's -- jobs, wages, benefits, working conditions -- the voters were different. A successful writer, as was Henry George, could become a working class hero. The factory worker of the last century, often less than a generation removed from the farm, understood the connection between available land and available jobs.

Henry George did not initiate his 1886 campaign for mayor of New York but was drafted by the unions. Even then he tried to avoid the pressures of a campaign by challenging the unions to collect 30,000 signatures in the few weeks before the filing deadline. The challenge seemed insurmountable; George felt safe. However, for his birthday, September 2, the workingmen broke all records in rising to the occasion. Henry George was their man.

The Republican candidate was Teddy Roosevelt (whose face now is on Mt. Rushmore). Later as president, TR borrowed a page from HG. Where George proposed sharing Earth, Roosevelt made Yosemite a park and signed the National Park Service into law. Where HG proposed shifting taxes from labor and capital to land, TR proposed a reform of the property tax so it'd fall less on improvements, more on location.

The Democrat was a puppet of Boss Crocker. Crocker, an acquitted murderer, headed the Tammany Hall political machine. Henry George outpolled both opponents, "upsetting all the plans of the powers that be," said Boss Crocker. The next morning, ballots for George could be seen floating down the Hudson River. Tammany Hall had fixed another election, making the Democrat mayor, a crime Boss Crocker confessed to on his deathbed 30 years later.

George may have been history's only populist economist. (While alive, Marx was not well-known outside of intellectual circles.) George authored Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html) (1879), the all-time best-selling work on economics in the English language. He proposed that society quit taxing human effort and start sharing the advantages of nature.

Born in Philadelphia in 1839, George ran away to sea at 14, saw Australia before it was colonized, saw the degradation of India where corpses rotted in streets and floated in the rivers, and prospected for gold in British Columbia.

Back in post-Gold Rush San Francisco, he married his first love, a young Australian of better means with whom he lived the rest of his life. On the brink of starvation while supporting his wife and kids, George was desperate enough to swallow his pride and go begging. If the one richly dressed man he stopped had not donated, George had been ready to mug him.

Working himself up from printer to newspaperman, George visited New York, representing his newspaper, to negotiate a deal with one of the major corporations of his day. The telegraph monopoly, Associated Press, refused to grant his paper a fair price. In the city, the wealthiest in the world, he was appalled and puzzled by the squalor amid the opulence.

George was a fiery orator, immensely important in an era before radio and television. At the peak of his fame, he was the third most popular public figure in America after Tom Edison and Mark Twain who wrote an article for George's newspaper. For his critique of economics, George was offered a professorship at the University of California - Berkeley, despite being a high school dropout. Later, for his criticism of economists, the offer was rescinded.

Nicknamed the “Red Rooster”, George corresponded with and debated the famous figures of his era. He lectured to packed houses all over the world. In Ireland, where absentee English lords owned the country, George was arrested on trumped up charges and barely escaped with his life.

In 1897, George ran again for mayor of New York. Four days before the final election, this insomniac and chain-smoker of cigars collapsed on stage. The next day he died.

His funeral was the biggest ever accorded a private American citizen, surpassed only by those of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. To glimpse his coffin, 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City. The over-loaded transit system kept another 100,000 from entering Manhattan. It took all day for the procession to get to Brooklyn, where George's remains lie today.

His follower had some success. His son was elected to Congress. His granddaughter, Agnes de Mille, the choreographer, helped preserve his ideas. But times were changing. Society's focus was shifting urbanward, losing sight of the role of land in economies. Land became a blind spot for the public, while remaining the prime driver behind favor and fortune.

Modern Americans may yet rediscover George’s insights about the flow of payments for land and nature, how it creates winners and losers. Having lost so much -- environment, neighborhoods, commons, family time, economic opportunity and security -- more people are beginning to ask questions and seek answers about fairness. These open minds, know it or not, are bound to discover the Georgist understanding of how economies work, why they fail, and what we can do about it.

[Continued... (http://www.progress.org/2011/georgeh.htm)]

(http://www.henrygeorge.org/LIFEofHG/LHGP/lhgpG.jpg) (http://www.henrygeorge.org/LIFEofHG/LHGP/lhgpG.htm)
  Henry George (http://schalkenbach.org/on-line-library/works-by-henry-george/) when learning to set type in Philadelphia. 1857
: The last resort: More and more Americans are calling long-stay motels home
: Geolibertarian September 07, 2011, 02:26:30 PM
"A family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year, in order to afford a modest rental home, according to a report released April 21 [2010] by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Despite the recession, the report finds that rents continue to rise, while wages continue to fall across the country."

-- http://www.nlihc.org/detail/article.cfm?article_id=6962&id=48 (http://www.nlihc.org/detail/article.cfm?article_id=6962&id=48)

[...]

Yet what do privilege (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr7a.htm)-worshipping right-wingers propose as a solution? Make socially-created land rent (http://progress.org/archive/fold221.htm) even more privatized (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/underpop/rent_as_private_property.htm) than it already is, even though this will not only make the rent-wage gap (http://articles.latimes.com/2001/oct/03/business/fi-52643) even wider than it already is, but ensure that governments continue to impose job-destroying taxes on the privately-created values of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm)!  ::)

http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-last-resort-more-and-more-americans-are-calling-long-stay-motels-home.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-last-resort-more-and-more-americans-are-calling-long-stay-motels-home.html)

The last resort: More and more Americans are calling long-stay motels home

Guy Adams
London Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-last-resort-more-and-more-americans-are-calling-longstay-motels-home-2346963.html)
Saturday, September 3, 2011

A long way down the US housing ladder, beneath the grisly ‘projects’ of The Wire and the trailer parks hymned by Eminem, beneath the slums of New Orleans and the ghettos of Detroit, you’ll find the long-stay hotel. Cheap, not very cheerful, and pretty much a last resort, these institutions provide four walls and a roof, for a few hundred bucks a month. It’s some of the cheapest accommodation you’ll find anywhere in the US, aside from a cardboard box.

Long-stay hotels can be found in almost every major American city. They offer none of the privacy of trailer parks, and even less of the permanency. Guests make do with postage stamp-sized rooms, paper-thin walls, and nylon sheets. You’ll rarely find them listed in tourist guides, even the section of a Lonely Planet devoted to ‘rock-bottom dives’. Staying in one isn’t exactly what you might call a holiday. It is, however, an experience. So says Kalpesh Lathigra, whose compelling photo-essay on the Wilmington Hotel in Long Beach, Southern California, is published on these pages.

A British documentary photographer, he stumbled upon the place while looking up relatives during a family holiday to Los Angeles (it is owned by his uncle, Bachu), and has since re-visited for extended periods, building close relationships with its most colourful and well-established residents.

“The hotel is one of those places with a feel that you know just has to be recorded,” he says. “There’s something in the ether. I remember walking in for the first time, and straight away realising that it had this weird character that cried out to be photographed.

Full story here. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/the-last-resort-more-and-more-americans-are-calling-longstay-motels-home-2346963.html)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense September 07, 2011, 05:34:19 PM
I figure since this won't change soon, I may as well take advantage of the pro-owner bias in the system. Why pay obscene rents when a mortgage is cheaper and interest rates are historically low (along with falling prices)?
: Here's the guy who invented populism
: Geolibertarian October 20, 2011, 03:36:50 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1)

Forget 9-9-9. Here’s a Simple Plan: 1

by Jill Lepore
New York Times
October 15, 2011

Jill Lepore is a professor of history at Harvard and the author of “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History.”
 
Cambridge, Mass.

IN the Republican debate on Tuesday, the restaurant industry executive Herman Cain, deftly countering a quip, said his “9, 9, 9” economic plan (http://www.progress.org/2011/fold739.htm), which calls for a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax, “didn’t come off a pizza box.” Asked where it did come from, he said “the American people,” but added that he also has a team of economic advisers.

“One of my experts that helped me to develop this is a gentleman by the name of Rich Lowrie out of Cleveland, Ohio,” Mr. Cain said. “He is an economist.” Mr. Lowrie, a licensed stockbroker, is a wealth management consultant for Wells Fargo.

Lately, Mr. Cain has risen in the polls, buoyed by Tea Party populism, which is curious because when the word “populism” was coined, in 1890, it meant opposition to a monopoly on wealth held by businessmen and bankers.

Henry George, the most popular American economic thinker of the 19th century, was a populist before populism had a name. His economic plan was known as the Single Tax. His plan wasn’t 9-9-9; it was just: 1.

George was born in Philadelphia in 1839. He left school at 14 to sail to India and Australia on board a ship called the Hindoo. At the time, a lot of people were writing about India as a place of jewels and romance; George was struck by its poverty.

Returning to Philadelphia, he became a printer’s apprentice. He went to New York where he saw, for the first time, “the shocking contrast between monstrous wealth and debasing want.” In 1858, he joined the crew of a ship sailing around the Cape Horn because it was the only way he could afford to get to California. In San Francisco, he edited a newspaper; it soon failed. He spent most of his life editing newspapers, and, as with every other industry in the 19th century, many of them failed. In 1865, George was reduced to begging in the streets.

The 19th century was the Age of Progress: the steam engine, the power loom, the railroad. (Awestruck wonder at progress animated that era the way the obsession with innovation animates American politics today.) George believed that the other side of progress was poverty. The railroad crossed the continent in 1869. From the West, George wrote an essay called “What the Railroad Will Bring Us.” His answer: the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. In a Fourth of July oration in 1877, George declared, “no nation can be freer than its most oppressed, richer than its poorest, wiser than its most ignorant.”

In 1879, George finished a draft of his most important book. “Discovery upon discovery, and invention after invention, have neither lessened the toil of those who most need respite, nor brought plenty to the poor,” George wrote. He thought the solution was to abolish all taxes on labor and instead impose a single tax, on land. He sent the manuscript to New York. When no one would publish it, he set the type himself and begged publishers simply to ink his plates. The book, “Progress and Poverty,” sold three million copies.

George was neither a socialist nor a communist; he influenced Tolstoy but he disagreed with Marx. He saw himself as defending “the Republicanism of Jefferson and the Democracy of Jackson.” He had a bit of Melville in him (the sailor) and some of Thoreau (“We do not ride on the railroad,” Thoreau wrote from Walden. “It rides upon us.”) But, really, he was a Tocquevillian. Tocqueville believed that democracy in America was made possible by economic equality: people with equal estates will eventually fight for, and win, equal political rights. George agreed. But he thought that speculative, industrial capitalism was destroying democracy by making economic equality impossible. A land tax would solve all.

In 1886, George decided to run for mayor of New York. Democrats urged him not to, telling him he had no chance and would only raise hell. “You have relieved me of embarrassment,” George answered. “I do not want the responsibility and the work of the office of the Mayor of New York, but I do want to raise hell.” The Democrat, Abram Hewitt, won, but George got more votes than the Republican, Theodore Roosevelt.

In the 1880s, George campaigned for the single tax, free trade and ballot reform. The last succeeded. George is why, on Election Day, your polling place supplies you with a ballot that you mark in secret. This is known as an Australian ballot, and George brought it back from his voyage halfway around the world.

George ran for mayor of New York again in 1897 but died in his bed four days before the election. His body lay in state at Grand Central. More than 100,000 mourners came to pay their respects. The New York Times said, “Not even Lincoln had a more glorious death.” And then: he was left behind.

[Continued... (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1)]
: The Third Way
: Geolibertarian December 24, 2011, 07:17:25 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNKHSpalLjM (The Third Way - part 1 of 3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bF_VBhnopo (The Third Way - part 2 of 3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-FUsvKmEZc (The Third Way - part 3 of 3)
: Re: Here's the guy who invented populism
: Satyagraha December 24, 2011, 08:36:09 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1 (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1)


George was neither a socialist nor a communist; he influenced Tolstoy but he disagreed with Marx. He saw himself as defending “the Republicanism of Jefferson and the Democracy of Jackson.” He had a bit of Melville in him (the sailor) and some of Thoreau (“We do not ride on the railroad,” Thoreau wrote from Walden. “It rides upon us.”) But, really, he was a Tocquevillian. Tocqueville believed that democracy in America was made possible by economic equality: people with equal estates will eventually fight for, and win, equal political rights. George agreed. But he thought that speculative, industrial capitalism was destroying democracy by making economic equality impossible. A land tax would solve all.


[Continued... (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1)]

Geo - thanks for this; and the videos.
: Re: Here's the guy who invented populism
: Geolibertarian December 24, 2011, 02:05:56 PM
Geo - thanks for this; and the videos.

I live to share this information, so no need to thank me.  8)
: Prices and Taxation
: Geolibertarian March 05, 2012, 10:58:32 PM
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold757.htm (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold757.htm)

Prices and Taxation

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
26 February 2012

Punitive taxes are those which harm the economy and society. All “taxes in substance” are punitive. Taxes in form are compulsory payments to government; taxes in substance are payments to government having no direct link between the payment and any benefit.

One way that punitive taxes are destructive is by changing the information conveyed by market prices. A price is not just what one pays for stuff. The market-based price is a particular amount for a reason. Students of economics learn that the market price is set by supply and demand, at the quantity for which the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied. That is the equilibrium, where all the gains from trade have been exhausted at that moment.

But let’s go deeper into the dynamics of market prices. Supply is based on the costs of production. The market price at some quantity comes from the cost of producing an extra amount of the good, the “marginal cost”. This cost is not just the cost of the scarce inputs for the firm, but more broadly the marginal cost of society’s resources.

Demand is based on the buyers’ willingness to pay, the most they are willing to pay for a good. The marginal willingness to pay at various quantities determines the demand, which plotted on a graph becomes the demand curve. Just as with supply, the demand more broadly reflects society’s marginal willingness to pay at various prices.

A free-market price reflects the interplay of scarcity and desire. At the market price, society’s willingness to pay for an extra amount just equals society’s cost of providing an extra amount. At a lower quantity, society’s willingness to pay is greater than society’s marginal cost of the resources, so it increases social wellbeing to produce more. At a quantity greater than equilibrium, the marginal cost is greater than the marginal benefit, so society should produce less. At the equilibrium price and quantity, society maximizes its welfare or wellbeing.

Now enters the punitive tax. The tax rudely interferes with the equilibrium price and quantity. Like a robber holding a gun, a sales tax forces they buyer and seller to hand over some money. The seller passes some of the tax on to the buyer, raising the purchase price. The tax reduces the gains from producing, which drives down the land rent that producers are willing to pay.

That sales tax does not just reduce the benefits to consumers and gains to producers and land-rent owners, but distorts the market signals provided by the price. At the higher price and lower quantity, the after-tax equilibrium no longer balances desire and scarcity. People would have benefited from more goods, and sellers would have employed workers to produce more, but the tax has voided the information provided by a free-market price. The price paid by the buyers is a distorted, skewed, falsified signal of desire and scarcity.

Suppose you were reading an instruction booklet, and somebody changed the wording, so that instead of inserting part A into tab X, you did something different. The product would become messed up. Free-market prices are instructions to producers and consumers on whether to produce and consume more or less. Punitive taxes change the instructions, creating a waste of resources and economic damage such as unemployment.

Even worse than the waste caused by punitive taxes are the distortions caused by rent-taking subsidies. By changing prices and moving away from the free-market equilibrium, subsidies cause a welfare loss similar to that of punitive taxes. But even worse, the explicit and implicit subsidies to land value generate an artificial speculative boom and subsequent bust (http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm) that results in massive economic damage.

This deadweight loss (http://www.progress.org/2007/fold535.htm) or excess burden of punitive taxation and rent-seeking (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html) subsidy can be avoided by replacing taxes with the economic rent of land (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm). Tapping the land rent is not a tax in substance but rather the prevention of an implicit subsidy to landowners as public goods generate land rent and site values. It is economically possible to finance government without the distortions caused by fiscal interventions.

The worst tax of all is the sales tax, because at least the income tax is zero if the profit is zero. The sales tax makes profit go negative if it is low or zero to begin with, forcing the company to shut down. If your wage is zero, you still have to pay sales taxes on what you buy. If you have to borrow funds, the sales tax forces you to borrow even more and then pay more interest.

Therefore what the national sales tax advocates are calling the “Fair Tax” is not only untrue, but deliberately deceptive. There is nothing fair about forcing people to pay much more for the goods they buy, and distorting the economic information provided by market prices. The “Fair Tax” advocates make false claims when they declare that sales taxes are better for the economy than land value taxes. They have not backed this claim with arguments, because they cannot.

The two real reasons for sales taxes are to force the poor to pay taxes, and to subsidize land values. The hidden agenda of sales-taxers is the subsidy to land value provided by public goods financed from sales taxes. Tenant-workers pay twice for public goods, once in taxes and then again in higher rent, while landowners get a rent and land value subsidy. There is no logical reason to want a sales tax other than to force a redistribution of wealth from workers to landowners.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: africknamerican March 23, 2012, 02:07:08 PM
NYT article says: "But he thought that speculative, industrial capitalism was destroying democracy by making economic equality impossible. A land tax would solve all."

Well, not exactly. George didn't blame "industrial capitalism" nor speculation on commodities or capital. He blamed speculation in nature. And he didn't believe that a land tax would "solve all," but that it was the first necessary reform, without which no other major reforms would hold (or even be possible).

After fixing the land question, his program reads very much like conventional libertarianism:  abolition of taxes on production and trade; abolition of all private monopolies or other special privileges of any kind whatsoever ("privatization," corporate welfare, individual welfare, special exemptions from laws or regs, patent monopoly, private money monopoly, etc); and small, decentralized government.

Not left, not right -- just out in front. (http://Not left, not right -- just out in front.)
: Only Austrian "economists" predicted the 2008 financial collapse, right? WRONG!
: Geolibertarian March 31, 2012, 12:25:13 PM
Max Keiser: Now let's talk to the renegade economist, Fred Harrison (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng). Fred, welcome to the Keiser Report.

Fred Harrison: Hi Max, good to be with you today.

Max Keiser: Thanks for joining us on the Keiser Report. Okay, let me kick this off by asking you: In 1997 you predicted that a global housing bubble would ensue in ten years -- the global depression of 2010 would happen. How did you do that?

-- The Keiser Report, Episode 12, January 28, 2010 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpVgkRuq2mc)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: EvadingGrid March 31, 2012, 01:02:32 PM
Only Austrian "economists" predicted the 2008 financial collapse, right? WRONG!

Amusing title  ;D
: Progress and Poverty
: Geolibertarian March 31, 2012, 05:56:11 PM
“Out upon nature, in upon himself, back through the mists that shroud the past, forward into the darkness that overhangs the future, turns the restless desire that arises when the animal wants slumber in satisfaction. Beneath things, he seeks the law; he would know how the globe was forged and the stars were hung, and trace to their origins the springs of life. And, then, as the man develops his nobler nature, there arises the desire higher yet--the passion of passions, the hope of hopes--the desire that he, even he, may somehow aid in making life better and brighter, in destroying want and sin, sorrow and shame. He masters and curbs the animal; he turns his back upon the feast and renounces the place of power; he leaves it to others to accumulate wealth, to gratify pleasant tastes, to bask themselves in the warm sunshine of the brief day. He works for those he never saw and never can see; for a fame, or maybe but for a scant justice, that can only come long after the clods have rattled upon his coffin lid. He toils in the advance, where it is cold, and there is little cheer from men, and the stones are sharp and the brambles thick. Amid the scoffs of the present and the sneers that stab like knives, he builds for the future; he cuts the trail that progressive humanity may hereafter broaden into a highroad.”

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html), p. 136

I can't help but wonder if the following clip was in some way inspired by my repeated posting of the above quote:

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSwaaiTUaUQ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSwaaiTUaUQ)

Here's another clip of someone (in this case Paula Gloria) reading from the same book:

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kOJVNqHB6M (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kOJVNqHB6M)
: The Destruction of the American Libertarian Party
: Geolibertarian April 02, 2012, 08:48:55 PM
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold761.htm (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold761.htm)

The Destruction of the American Libertarian Party

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
March 26, 2012

The American Libertarian Party is being destroyed in its ideology and philosophy. The moral philosophy of libertarianism was, until very recently, full-spectrum liberty. Libertarianism included full civil liberties, with no restriction on peaceful and honest human action. The libertarian economic policy was a pure free market, with no restriction or tax on acts that do not coercively harm others. The foreign policy was peaceful co-existence, defending the homeland while avoiding foreign interventions.

The core of government power and policy is taxation. Governments get funded by forcibly taking property from people. Since libertarians until recently believed in equal self-ownership, they regarded this taking as morally wrong. The slogan was “taxation is theft!” But what that really meant was appreciated only by the Georgist branch of the movement, the geo-libertarians who recognized that the provision of public goods by government generates higher land values, and that if the generated rentals are not paid back, that constitutes a subsidy. A pure free-market policy avoids subsidies, and thus requires that these rentals be paid back to society by landowners. So geo-libertarians recognized that “taxation is theft” applies to taxation in substance, not merely taxation in form, thus not to the repayment of value received.

But in 2012, American libertarians began committing ideological suicide. Today’s libertarians have not been as well educated as those in previous times. They don’t understand the moral philosophy of natural rights, and the economic effects of taxation. American libertarians today are embracing the violation of free trade (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=190382.0), the subsidy to land values, and the quantum destruction of private enterprise that is entailed in a national sales tax.

Most libertarians are not anarchists. They are minarchists, favoring limited government. That implies a need for some revenue. Libertarians are aware of the moral and economic objections to the taxation of income, but they have rejected the source of public revenue that is compatible with self-ownership and a free market – public revenue from land rent. This rejection is described in the book by Harold Kyriazi, Libertarian Party at Sea on Land (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=69&rn=335&action=show_detail). American libertarians have even rejected the replacement of much of government by private communities financed from the rentals that they generate. No, the doctrine increasingly being embraced is domestic tariffs on trade.

There is a movement in the USA that advocates a national sales tax. Cleverly, they label this a “fair tax,” although there is nothing just or fair about violating free trade (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/protection-or-free-trade/preface-index.html). The explanation for the compulsion to tax goods requires a psychological analysis. I have no credentials in academic psychology, but it seems to me that the core American creed is not liberty, but a combination of Puritanism and land grabbing. If the core American creed were liberty, the USA would not have upheld chattel slavery, nor would it have imposed punitive taxation from the beginning.

Economic puritans believe that consumption is bad. They favor the mercantilist policy of promoting production and exports, while stifling consumption and imports. Economic puritans seek to shift taxation from production to consumption. Secondly, Americans from the beginning have profited from land grabbing, first from the Native American Indians, then from the Mexicans and the Spanish, and then indirectly by overthrowing governments such as that of Guatemala, which did not allow American-owned plantation and mining land grabs. Americans are greedy for stolen land because they know it offers one of the best avenues to becoming rich with other people’s money.

Libertarians were once proudly counter-cultural, advocating the legalization of victimless acts, and opposing the welfare-state culture that has become a global religion. But now, US libertarians have succumbed to the core American cultural values, Puritanism and land grabbing. That is why libertarians have rejected explicit subsidies of money and price controls, but not the implicit and much greater subsidy to greater land values. Libertarians framed this policy as allodialism, the complete ownership of land and its rent by those who are “first claimants” by having title, ignoring the fact that imposed taxation pumps up that land value.

Having rejected public revenue from land rent, even from free-market private community rentals, libertarians have replaced liberty with economic Puritanism, the tax attack on consumption. The leading candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination is promoting a national sales tax of 30 percent of the pre-tax price of goods. Endorsed by many state parties, he will surely be the Libertarian Party candidate. As taxation is the core issue, the American Libertarian Party will have been transformed into a national sales tax party. What was once the “Party of Principle” will have degenerated into the party of the ugly side of American culture, Puritanism and land grabbing.

Because the libertarian party is the public face of the libertarian movement, the implicit party slogan, “tax goods, not land” will infect the movement and philosophical base. Perhaps a million sales taxers will join the Libertarian Party, making it a permanent national sales tax party.

There are still some libertarians, especially geo-libertarians, who believe in pure economic freedom. Frustrated by a movement that is libertarian in name but no longer in substance, they may well join or form other parties such as Free Earth or a “Taxation is Theft” party. One can only hope that the attack on consumption by American pseudo-libertarians will not be copied by classical liberals in other countries.

Fortunately, Mason Gaffney has shown in his writing on “sales tax suicides (http://www.progress.org/gaffney/salestax.htm)” that governments such as that of pre-revolutionary Russia and France, which adopted high national sales taxes, committed economic and political suicide, and even puritan Americans will balk at the hardship and tax cheating that would be imposed by a high national sales tax on top of state sales taxes. Thus the American Libertarian Party is headed towards both philosophical and political ruin. It may well be that just as the term “liberal” became disassociated with liberty, the term “libertarian” will too become so corrupted by taxed trade that true liberty seekers will have to call themselves “classical libertarians” or free-earthers, and no longer just plain “libertarian.”
: Taxing Mail Orders and Barter
: Geolibertarian April 17, 2012, 10:35:23 AM
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold764.htm (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold764.htm)

Taxing Mail Orders and Barter

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
16 April 2012

Where there is a sales tax, in order for it to be effective, it has to be consistent. This is why, for example, in California, the state sales tax applies also to mail orders. If you purchase goods from a company that has no presence in the state, the buyer is legally obligated to pay the sales tax even if the seller does not charge it. This is called a "use tax," but few people pay it on goods personally imported except for cars.

The state does not bother to enforce the use tax, because the enforcement would be expensive and intrusive. But if the federal government switched from income taxation to a national sales tax, then the tax evasion would be much greater, and the benefit-cost ratio would swing to the national enforcement of taxes on personal purchases from abroad.

With a national sales tax, goods directly purchased from a firm in another state would be taxed, and the federal tax records would be used by the US states to enforce their sales taxes, so the evasion of use taxes by mail order from other states would end. However, there would be a problem with goods directly purchased from foreign sellers.

The US federal government is spending $6.3 trillion dollars in 2012. The gross domestic product is $15.4 trillion. The ratio of federal spending to GDP is about 40 percent. Half of that is for transfer payments, so private spending for goods is 80 percent of GDP, or $12.3 trillion. If all the $6.3 federal spending is from sales taxes, the sales tax rate on the $12.3 trillion spending is 51 percent. Add a national state sales tax average rate of over 9 percent, and the sales tax rate becomes 60 percent.

However, the "Fair [Sales] Tax" movement says that business-to-business purchases would be exempt from the national sales tax, because it is "fair" to tax households, but "unfair" for firms to pay sales taxes. Congress would also make spending by government tax exempt. Since household spending is 70 percent of GDP, business and government spending is 30 percent. Since 70 percent of $15.4 trillion is $10.8 trillion, to pay for the federal spending of $6.3 trillion, the private sales tax rate would have to be 6.3/ 10.8 = .58, or a sales tax rate of 58 percent. Add the state sales tax of 9 percent to get the total sales tax rate of 67 percent. If some states switched from taxing income to higher taxes on sales, the combined rate would be even greater.

With a tax rate of 67 percent on goods, there would be massive tax evasion. People would order goods directly from foreign firms. To prevent tax evasion, the federal government would have to open all packages shipped in from abroad. There would also be colossal amounts of smuggling of goods. To fully enforce the "Fair Tax," the government would have to randomly send FBI agents into people's homes. If you did not have a sales receipt, you would be presumed to be a tax cheater, and have to pay the tax plus a big fine. There would also have to be intrusive audits on enterprise to make sure they are not buying goods tax-free for personal use.

It would be political suicide for any establishment political party to advocate a national sales tax. Only minor parties such as the Libertarian Party would be foolish enough to campaign for a national sales tax that would so greatly destroy privacy. Moreover, the combined tax rate of 67 percent would destroy millions of firms that are unable to pass sales taxes on to customers.

But it gets worse. Barter transactions are subject to both income and sales taxes. If you make shoes that sell for $100, but trade them for carrots, you pay the same income tax as you would selling them for cash, and the same sales tax. But many such informal exchanges currently escape both taxes. But with the federal government depending on sales taxes, the federal government would have to prevent barter tax evasion with extreme penalties along with rewards for snitches who inform on others. As with snitching for drug-law enforcement, snitching would be so lucrative that there would be much fraudulent snitching. Only minarcho-capitalist allodial libertarians would favor such a destruction of public trust.

Thus the switch from federal income taxes to a national sales tax would be so ruinous to the economy and to personal liberty that even state socialists are opposed to it. The real reason why the "Fair Tax" movement and its libertarian allies are for a national sales tax is to prevent a discussion of land value taxation. For that goal they have been successful, because the national debate on tax reform only discusses economy-crushing sales versus income taxes, and utterly ignores the free-market economy-enhancing policy of public revenue from land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm).
: Holy shite!
: Geolibertarian April 24, 2012, 08:56:33 AM
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist:_Moving_Forward) has over sixteen million views on one youtube channel alone:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w)
: A geolibertarian review of "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward"
: Geolibertarian April 24, 2012, 08:57:44 AM
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeitgeist:_Moving_Forward) has over sixteen million views on one youtube channel alone:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w)

A geo-libertarian review of Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

POSTED APRIL 24, 2012 BY EDWARD B MILLER

by Dan Sullivan (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html),

(Reprinted with permission. Originally published 07 February 2012 at LVT. You can find him at Saving Communities (http://savingcommunities.org))

(https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3653/3438830273_62d24fe649_o.jpg)
                       Green Supercomputer | Argonne National Lab

Two hours and 41 minutes, and it’s just half-truths from beginning to end.

It’s easy to buy into the idea of rich people being obsessed with wealth and acquisition if you don’t actually know any rich people. This is the starting premise of their half-truths.

Then they get into a long digression about genetics vs. environment, partly to set up an “ain’t it awful” mentality, and partly to lull half the audience and to drive the thinking half away. I noticed some very unscientific statements, so I suspect these are not neurobiologists at all, but people picked because they contribute to the point they are eventually going to make.

They completely misinterpret Locke (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#proviso), and then substantially misinterpret Adam Smith (http://livingeconomiesforum.org/Adam-Smith). From this they launch into a confused (essentially Marxist) interpretation of money that jumps from point to point as if they were connecting dots, but they overlook the obvious questions of where money came from in the first place.

They make a huge deal about GDP being a poor indicator of well-being, as if everyone in economics didn’t already know that, and [then] they treat *all* increases in GDP as detrimental.

There’s more “ain’t it awful” moaning, in terms of the environment, but no cause and effect. They call our economy an “anti-economy,” but they ignore privilege (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/) and complain about competition. They condemn “cost efficiency” without having a clue as to what might distort cost efficiency. Will they suggest taxing the creation of social costs and untaxing labor? I suspect not, since they would not need such a long time to set up such a straightforward idea.

They make a naked assumption about “planned obsolescence,” and “cyclical consumption,” again without a clue as to what causes these. But ain’t it awful? The strategy of dwelling on how awful something is will induce people to buy into a proposal no matter how illogical it is.

Over an hour into the movie and they haven’t suggested a single solution, yet, since they’ve already smeared Locke and Smith, you can bet that their solutions will involve a lot of command and control, and the elimination of private property (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/THE-CONDITION-OF-LABOR.html).

They complain about advertising, just as Marxists did a century ago, and, then as now, without a clue as to why this happens. Then they launch a gratuitous attack on several right-wing economists, including [drum roll] John Maynard Keynes! Is this some other John Maynard Keynes than the one all the right-wingers themselves attack?

They trash money demand, but they have no idea why there is a disconnect between money demand and need. Rather than to get to the bottom of that, they seem to be just into trashing monetary demand generally.

Oh, wait! They are talking about the debt money! Will they propose the direct issue of currency and the elimination of the fractional reserve! That would be so cool, because then very little else (other than land tax) would be necessary.

Nope, now they are on to something else – how evil it is to *trade* debt. They just glossed over the obvious solution that if there were no artificial debt, there would be no trade in artificial debt. Never mind that… more robots!

So let’s get this straight, rich people are acquisitive robots, consumers are robots, and investment traders are robots. So clearly we need more robots!

Oh, now we are off to public health, having talked about banking and a bunch of other things without actually proposing anything. Now we are talking about “inequality.” Will they go to the root (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=160459.0), or are they just going to say, “ain’t poverty awful?”

It’s the “Monetary-Market System!” But what does that mean?

Project Earth! Now maybe they are going to talk about a solution! Only 60% into the movie!

“Science has no ego. It holds onto nothing and accepts everything.” (Really? Where did we get these egoless scientists?) But, I smell a solution coming!

“We” locate, identify and track all the resources in the world. “We” identify how fast trees grow, etc., and “track” the inventory of the world’s resources. “A global resource management system.” The ultimate in central planning. “There is simply no alternative.” This is the old left vs. right lie that either “we” must control everything or “they” must control everything, and “they” will screw it up. (That second part is true, no matter whether “they” are the plutocratic monopolists of the right or the bureaucratic monopolists of the left.)

Now they are going to govern how computers are designed. A central computer will tell us “the absolute best method for sustainable production.” They never heard of GIGO, I suppose.

The supercomputer will tell us to reduce the travel of goods as much as possible. Couldn’t a tax on fuels accomplish the same things without centralized coercion? It’s as if we couldn’t have an egalitarian, resource-efficient world without a supercomputer.

I’m sorry; I mean a “demand distribution tracking system” to prevent overages and shortages. But the true progressives knew that there was no such thing as excess production as a long-term phenomenon.

No ownership. “Strategic access” will replace it. “Centralized and regional access centers” will work like libraries. Then they show speedboats and water skiers. So, we will take speedboats out whenever we want and then return them. If only speedboats needed no more care and maintenance than books need.

Global abundance results. No explanation of *how* it results.

“The free enterprise system was great 35 years ago,” they say. No mention of what changed. They throw in some more nonsense about how objective scientists are. (We’re talking about economic science here.) This is exactly what Marx said in 1850. Free enterprise had its place, and we are grateful for the innovations, but now that we have the steam engine, what more is there to invent?

Now they are designing cities as a circle. No credit for Ebeneezer Howard, who designed exactly the same things in 1919. Never mind that Howard’s circles had lots of problems, and never mind that most of the world is not nice and flat. Most of all, never mind that the worst development patterns came on the heels of zoning (http://www.progress.org/archive/fold189.htm) laws.

Now we have a visage of total mechanization, as if that is somehow an improvement over craftsmanship. Never mind that mechanization consumes far more resources than craftsmanship – not only in the running of robots, but in the building of them. Robots can make robots that make robots that make chairs, consuming fuels and non-renewable resources at every step, or a craftsman can make chairs with hand tools. I guess once they put all the inputs into their supercomputer, they will see that. Or, perhaps not. Both monopoly capitalism and socialism are based on the myth of corporate efficiency, a myth that these people have swallowed.

They will have no money at all! Or so we are told. Centralized planning will tell me whether I would rather eat at a restaurant or go to a movie. I can have unlimited amounts of both! A computer will cook for me (exactly the way I like it), and make my life wonderful in every way. Obesity anyone?

Their example of “sustainable” automation shows a factory stamping out big plastic containers. If someone could make clues out of plastic, maybe they could buy one.

Next they trash incentives, as if the problem were that people were naturally rewarded for their efforts. Money is only a reward for “competitive mundane actions” that their supercomputer would replace. Yet I have done many jobs that, while not in the league of Thomas Edison, were quite creatively pursued, and I did them because they earned money.

The Wright brothers never showed a monetary incentive? They ran a bicycle shop for profit, and their interest in flight grew out of their professional and *profitable* business, making (and motorizing) profit.

Having not solved so many other problems, they are now not solving crime. What can’t they do?

They show really obnoxious Archie Bunker types calling these ideas Marxism, but it is more exactly and precisely Marxist than anything I have ever seen, outside of the tracts that had Marxism right on the header. They make the point that Marx hadn’t contemplated the reality of limited resources, but this is a trivial detail. The solution of abolishing profit, abolishing monetary choices, and ultimately abolishing labor, is right out of Marx. So far, I haven’t seen a word in their proposal that doesn’t fit into the phrase, “We must control the means of production.”

They condemn printing money with no collateral, which is exactly the right thing to do. Ain’t it awful, we’re running out of oil! Well, we are running out, and it is awful, but they are clueless about what to do about it – other than that they must control everything. Wouldn’t a stiff oil extraction royalty and a cut in income taxes let me make my own choices as to how I would use less oil?

There is no profit in resource efficiency. Well, why not? No clue. It’s just too awful to consider any approach less than complete centralized planning and the end of profit itself. So terribly awful.

As we drift into the last 15 minutes of the film, the “explosions of awfulness” increase in rapidity like the grand finale of a fireworks display. It’s an all-out “us vs. them” revolt of the masses. Then, magically, everyone has a love-fest and the rich withdraw all their money and throw it away in contempt.

Flash to the vision of utopia, orgasm and close. Their final lines are “This is our world. The revolution is now.” Yet they seem to have no clue what “This is our world” really means, and certainly no clue that we could each enjoy the world without some dictatorship of the super-computer telling us what our allotment is.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense April 24, 2012, 02:20:11 PM
I haven't watched the film, but I'll take Sullivan's word for it.

"It’s easy to buy into the idea of rich people being obsessed with wealth and acquisition if you don’t actually know any rich people."

That one statement is a little off though. The Rockefellers and Rothschilds of the world are using their (ill-gotten) gains as a means to an end, more control. The way the economy is set up by these types usually prohibits any significant wealth being acquired through hard work, so we end up with the wealthy inevitably being more of the same aristocracy.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian May 08, 2012, 12:37:26 PM
I haven't watched the film, but I'll take Sullivan's word for it.

"It’s easy to buy into the idea of rich people being obsessed with wealth and acquisition if you don’t actually know any rich people."

That one statement is a little off though. The Rockefellers and Rothschilds of the world are using their (ill-gotten) gains as a means to an end, more control.

I've known Dan long enough to know that he wasn't referring to the parasitic super rich -- i.e., to multi-billionaires and trillionaires (http://www.infowars.com/rothschilds-rockefellers-trillionaires-of-the-world/) -- but rather to millionaires, who are a much more diverse lot.

To make a long story short, there's a world of difference between (a) a retired small business owner with a net worth of, say, $6 million and (b) a born aristocrat (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr7a.htm) like Queen Elizabeth II (http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/).

Speaking of Mr. Sullivan, he was recently interviewed on American Freedom Radio. Fast-forward to the beginning of the second hour:

     http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Truth-Jihad-32k-050412.mp3 (http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Truth-Jihad-32k-050412.mp3)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense May 08, 2012, 04:57:28 PM
I've known Dan long enough to know that he wasn't referring to the parasitic super rich -- i.e., to multi-billionaires and trillionaires (http://www.infowars.com/rothschilds-rockefellers-trillionaires-of-the-world/) -- but rather to millionaires, who are a much more diverse lot.

To make a long story short, there's a world of difference between (a) a retired small business owner with a net worth of, say, $6 million and (b) a born aristocrat (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr7a.htm) like Queen Elizabeth II (http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/).

Fair enough, because a lot of folk don't seem to make that distinction. In the UK, it's pretty much open season on the working class\unemployed right now, I'm considering emigrating at the earliest opportunity, it's that bad. The wealthy continue to be worshipped like demigods and private banks are still free to choke the real economy by continuing to reduce the credit and\or money circulated.

I can't see the British public wisening up enough to demand sensible policy changes - property owners and other vested interests are too busy feeding at the trough, and a mixture of corporate-fascist and nanny state policies are pretty much entrenched. On top of that I have to be an expert in many fields to earn even an average salary here, which does not go far.

Speaking of Mr. Sullivan, he was recently interviewed on American Freedom Radio. Fast-forward to the beginning of the second hour:

     http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Truth-Jihad-32k-050412.mp3 (http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Truth-Jihad-32k-050412.mp3)

I'll have a listen later, I'd be interested to hear what he has to say.
: Political Parties and Taxation
: Geolibertarian May 10, 2012, 03:08:59 AM
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold766.htm (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold766.htm)

Political Parties and Taxation

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
April 30, 2012

It is curious but understandable why none of the American political parties on the ballot are proposing the sound tax policies that would spur the U.S. economy to grow faster than China.

The mantra of the Democratic Party is “tax the rich.” They want to increase the marginal tax rates, the rate on extra income, of the wealthy. They say the rich can pay more without being affected. That flies against both economic theory and the evidence of history. Theory and experience say that the higher the tax rate, the greater the reaction of less production and less investment, and the reduction is proportionally greater than the tax increase. Theory says the ideal tax is on things that do not get reduced when taxed, the prime example being land. But the Democratic Party ignores economics, exploiting the ignorance of the masses to cater to the landed interests.

The chiefs of the Republican Party understand the concept of marginal tax rates, and seek to reduce them to spur growth, but to pay for this, they reject a tax shift to land value, and instead seek to cut government welfare to lower-income folks. If the Republican policy is implemented, we will see mass protests, violent occupy movements, general strikes, and an increase in crime. The Republicans don’t understand that before we remove the roof from a poor man’s house, we should first lay the foundation for a new house.

The Green Party seeks to stop the destruction of the environment, yet instead of a pollution tax, its members seek a wasteful welfare state financed by a graduated income tax high enough to prevent “excessive” wealth. They don’t seem to understand that the deadweight loss from high tax rates results in a waste of resources. They reject the free-market environmental policies that would protect nature with incentives and property rights.

The Constitution Party wants to abolish the income tax and levy excise and import taxes. In addition, that party would enact a "state-rate tax," with revenues apportioned among the states in accordance with their proportion of population. With the abolition of the income tax, and the shift of government spending more towards the states, it would be more difficult for the states to have their own income taxes, so tax competition would move them towards property taxes. The party also approves of taxing corporations, which legally taxes the privilege of incorporation. This is a much better tax proposal than that of the Democrats, Republicans, and Greens.

The most ridiculous tax proposal is that of the National Sales Tax Party. They seek what they call a “fair tax” on goods bought by households and governments. Used goods would not be taxed. The federal tax rate would be 30 percent. State sales tax rates have a national average of 6 percent, thus the combined rate would be 36 percent, leaving out higher rates caused by the conversion of state income taxes to sales taxes, and the added tax due to tax evasion.

The exemptions for used goods and businesses would cause huge distortions. For example, a new coin or bar with $1000 worth of gold would sell for $1360, so nobody would buy it at that price, since one could buy gold bought prior to the adoption of the national sales tax for $1000 as a used good. There would be massive tax evasion for new coins sold as used goods, as well as smuggling gold and silver from foreign sources. As for real estate, a new building that has a cost of production of $100,000 would be a new good, and sell for $136,000, while a similar building built prior to the enactment would have no tax. Real estate construction would come to a halt. In practice, Congress will not levy a ridiculous sales tax on buildings.

The “fair tax” movement recognizes that there would be a big incentive for tax evasion by starting a business and buying goods as a business expense. They acknowledge that there would be audits and registration requirements. There would be massive intrusion into both business and households to prevent tax evasion, but as with illegal drugs, much underground activity would happen anyway.

It is unrealistic to suppose that the federal government would let private enterprise be exempt from taxes, while imposing a tax on government. Under the “fair tax,” a private school’s purchases would be tax free, but a government school would have to pay the sales tax. This tax punishment of governmental schools would be politically impossible. In practice, government spending would be exempt from taxation, resulting in a sales tax rate higher than 30 percent.

Land is, of course, always a used good, and the sale of land would be exempt from taxes. As with the income tax, the tax policy of the National Sales Tax Party would provide public goods that subsidize land value. With the income tax, a business that makes no profit pays no tax. With a national sales tax, if a zero or low-profit firm cannot pass on the tax to customers in the global economy, it would shut down. Professor Mason Gaffney calls this a “quantum leap effect,” as high taxes on gross receipts would result in a massive shift of land use to firms that can pass the tax on, resulting in a massive destruction of production and employment.

The National Sales Tax Party was previously called the Libertarian Party. The party is holding its convention on May 2-6 2012 in Nevada. The party will elect Gary Johnson as its presidential candidate. He is popular as the former government of New Mexico and advocate of legalizing marijuana. Johnson also promotes a national sales tax to replace the income tax.

The federal budget and tax reform are the major issues of the 2012 presidential campaigns. By electing a sales-tax advocate as its presidential candidate, the “Libertarian” party will have transformed itself into a sales-tax party. It was to a large extent that already, as its previous candidates favored tariffs and excise taxes instead of free trade.

Now the transition will be complete, and if they still label themselves the “party of principle,” since the principle in 2012 is to tax goods and subsidize land value, the party should honestly call itself the National Sales Tax (and land subsidy) Party. I’m now confident that Gary Johnson will get millions of votes, but these will be sales tax votes by those fooled by the “fair tax” propaganda, not votes for liberty. Genuine libertarians and free-marketeers will either refuse to vote or else turn in a blank ballot.

[Continued... (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold766.htm)]


http://www.progress.org/2012/fold771.htm (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold771.htm)

A Bad National Sales Tax for the Deficit

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
June 04, 2012

Everybody above the age of 3 now knows that the United States is heading towards a fiscal disaster unless there is a shift to land value taxation, or a big cut in government spending, or a economy-crushing increase in income and sales taxes. It is politically impossible for Congress to enact the best solution: the replacement of income and excise taxes with public revenue from ground rent. There may be some cuts in the growth of spending by not providing social security and medicare to wealthier folks, but that will not solve the deficit. The policy with the least political resistance seems to be the enactment of a national sales tax after 2012.

Members of the Republican Party will block large increases in income taxes. But many conservatives favor taxes on spending, because they want to encourage savings and investment. In the election campaigns of 2012, the biggest push for a national sales tax will come from the Libertarian Party candidate for president, Gary Johnson. Since taxes and the deficit will be the top campaign issues, tied to policy for the economy, the Libertarian Party advocacy of a national sales tax will push it to public discussion and also remove political obstacles, since if free-market Libertarians are for sales taxes, then conservatives can be for it also.

Whereas the “Fair Tax” advocates want a national sales tax to replace the income tax, with an exemption for business spending, the political reality is that Congress will seek to avoid fiscal disaster with a big tax increase rather than a replacement. So Congress will levy a national sales tax on top of the income taxes, and rather than exempting business, they will exempt government spending, to avoid burdening the state and local government which also are in fiscal trouble. There are already sponsors in Congress who have submitted sales-tax bills. There are Republican candidates for Congress who favor a national sales tax, and Democrats will go along as a tax increase that has Republican support.

Sales-tax advocates that wanted to shift taxes from investment to consumption will find instead that their advocacy will result in the worst of both, greater burdens on business from taxes on their purchases as well as on income. Governments see business as cows to milk and bulls to subsidize. Of course the US already has excise taxes on goods; higher national sales taxes would bring us back to the 1800s when the federal government relied on taxing goods.

The national sales tax will start with a three percent rate, just as did the first sales state sales taxes. They will say it is a small sacrifice, but the sales tax in California grew to nine percent, including local additions. It will be easy for Congress to start at 2 or 3 percent and then increase the rate gradually until it consumes a tithe of spending.

Another source of support for a national sales tax will come from the example of Canada, which has a national goods and services tax. We can be assured that a US national sales tax will exempt politically favored interests. There will be no sales tax on lawyer fees, but I will not be surprised if medical goods and services are taxed to help pay for medicare.

Can anyone doubt that a national sales tax will not be flat rate, but be as complicated as today’s state sales taxes? There will be various tax rates on different goods and services. Government will become ever more intrusive to catch sales-tax evaders. Many small businesses will have to shut down, as the will be unable to pass on the tax, due to global competition. There will be ships offshore that will seek to sell goods without sales taxes, and tax collectors all along the shore to inspect your goods to make sure you are not smuggling in goods tax-free, as all imports will be subject to the national sales tax.

These intrusions and costs could be avoided by accepting nature’s offer to pay for public goods. Nature provides a source of public finance in ground rent, which expands as the population grows. Tapping land rent or land value for public revenue would promote growth and reduce poverty. When people hear about the option of tapping land value, their reaction is not opposition but wonder, why they have not heard about this before.

The political pressure will increasingly be for a national sales tax, and Congress will pass it to avoid both huge spending cuts and the prospect of a Greek-style fiscal crisis. Get ready to lower your standard of living, because goods will become much more expensive. And don’t forget to thank the US Libertarian Party for promoting bigger government with a national sales tax.
: Proposition 13
: Geolibertarian May 23, 2012, 04:50:05 PM
If anyone thinks California's economic woes are in spite of, rather than because of, Proposition 13, think again:

---------------------------

http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Prop13.html (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Prop13.html)

Proposition 13

Property taxes are the most common way to fund many local services. In California in 1978, the voters opted for Proposition 13, which (a) limited the sales tax to 1% of the assessed value of each property; and (b) limited annual increases in assessed values to the lesser of 2% or the increase in the cost of living for the year, with the exception that upon the sale of a property, the assessment would be updated to the transaction price. The effects of this have been widespread and of great impact on the well-being of Californians.


The negative effects are wide-ranging. The injustices produced and the large land fortunes protected, are directly related.

[Continued... (http://wealthandwant.com/themes/Prop13.html)]


http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_WHWASRSIPT.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_WHWASRSIPT.html)

Proposition 13: What Happens When a State Radically Slashes its Property Tax

by Mason Gaffney

[Excerpts from a paper, "Big Plans to Stir the Blood and Steer the Course," delivered at a conference on Land, Wealth and Poverty, Jerome Levy Institute, 3 November 1995]

California can show you 17 years of experience. Here is what has happened since California passed Proposition 13 in 1978. The obvious direct results have been to cut public services, raise other taxes, and lose credit rating.

Our school support fell from #5, nationally, to #40 in 1985 when last seen, still falling. County road maintenance is down to where my county (Riverside) is repaving its roads at an annual rate of once every 130 years. Once in 20 years is recommended here, and up north you generally need higher frequency. You can't just build infrastructure and then stop paying for it, it's a perpetual commitment. Thanks to urban scatter, a high fraction of our population now depends on these county roads.

In 1978 we had a surplus in Sacramento. Since then we have raised business taxes, income taxes, sales taxes and gas taxes, but go broke every June, even as other states are in the black again. Now our State bond rating is last among the states. One of our richest counties (Orange) has gone bankrupt; Los Angeles is on the brink of it, saving itself by closing emergency rooms and hospitals that serve as a last resort for the uninsured poor. We are ill-prepared for Congress' current move (right or wrong) to shift more functions back to the states. The private sector fares no better. Raising income taxes, business taxes, and sales taxes is no way to stimulate an economy; each is a drag on work and enterprise. Our income per capita was down from #7 to #12 among the states by 1992, then fell more: from 1992-94, California was one of three states where median household income fell. Our unemployment rate is 9%, 50% higher than the national mean of 6%. Our poverty rate is 18%, compared to 14.5% nationally. That helps explain why the only government function that grows now is building and operating prisons. One of our few rebounding industries is cinema. Another thriving trade is auctioning off used machinery for export to the east.

In 1993 there was net outmigration (including international migration) from this state that has symbolized American growth since time immemorial. It is unheard of: 426,000 people were lost, nearly 2% of the population. This is a watershed change: imagine, of all states California, America's trend-setter, our El Dorado, The Golden State, our Horn of Plenty, the safety-valve for job-seekers and retirees and entrepreneurs from everywhere, the end of the rainbow, losing population! It's enough to make a person ask "What are we doing wrong?". The fall of our income per capita is greater than appears from the purely monetary measure. Real pay (in constant $) has fallen more, because of the drastic rise of shelter prices. In San Francisco, shelter takes 50% of the median income, with many other cities, especially coastal ones, not far behind. It is unusual to find livable quarters for less than $600/month. The median home price rose 163% during the 1980s, to $258,000 (that is just the median - the mean is higher). These rises are part of the C.O.L. of all renters and new buyers, a part not fully incorporated in standard CPI measures (for various foolish reasons too technical to open up now).

Some cities are in desperate straits. San Bernardino in 1976 was chosen an "All-America City, a City on the Go." Go it did: today, 40% of its people are on welfare.

California has always been earthquake country, but has always renewed itself, routinely. It was different after the Northridge quake in the San Fernando Valley, January, 1994. This is the upper-middle neighborhood of Los Angeles, but now large pockets of ruined buildings remain, unreconstructed, inhabited only by vagrants and criminals: an instant Bronx West. These blighted sections, ominous portents, spread more blight around them.

It should give one pause. It is, however, if you think about it, the expectable result of what the voters did. They turned property from a functional concept into a sacred one; from a commission to be enterprising, hire people, produce goods, and pay taxes into a welfare entitlement. They rejected the concept of taxing inert wealth in favor of the alternative: taxing liquidity, cash flow, work, production, and commerce. The predictable result is to inhibit economic activity, and encourage holding wealth inert and stagnant.

We had a construction boom in the 1980s, but it was not healthy. It was marked by extreme scatter, and extreme instability. Downtown L.A. was to become a great new financial capital, but now has nearly the highest office vacancy rate in the U.S., with of course a high rate of builder bankruptcies. Speculative builders were led on to overbuild, in part, by anticipated higher land rents and prices. This Lorelei effect was magnified by national income-tax provisions, luring on speculative builders, but we have to ask why California fell harder than other states, even with the object-lessons of the oil states in clear view.

David Shulman tersely summarized the distributive effects of Prop. 13 as he left us to become Chief Equity Strategist for Salamon Brothers in Manhattan: "it breached the social compact." Alienation is the result, and the results of alienation are the Rodney King riots, arson and looting. The Watts riots, you may object, preceded Prop. 13, and you are right.

However, the Watts riots were part of a national epidemic. By 1967 there were riots with arson and looting in 70 or more American cities. The Rodney King riots were endemic to California, and they spread over a much wider area of Los Angeles than the Watts riots did. The looters and arsonists were not all black, and the targets were not all white, but mainly Korean-Americans who just happened to be there minding their stores.

Conventional wisdom now blames our California bust on the end of the Cold War. Surely that is a factor, but as a causal explanation it is too pat, too easy, and too convenient. It shifts the load off ourselves onto impersonal historical forces - the Marxist worldview. Let us see if it can survive analysis. Compare today with 1945.

Los Angeles' economy depended much more on The Hot War, 1940-1945, than it ever did on The Cold War. Los Angeles' wartime boom had swelled its population as no other great city, 1940-45. After 1945 the U.S. pulled the plug on defense spending, more than today. Jane Jacobs, in The Economy of Cities, tells us what happened to military spending in Los Angeles after 1945. It lost 3/4 of its aircraft workers, and 80% of its shipbuilders. It lost its military and naval overseas supply and replacement businesses. Troops stopped funneling through. It got worse: petroleum and cinema and citrus, its traditional exports, all declined.

Pundits then forecast a regional collapse, but Los Angeles boomed, instead. The wartime immigrants stayed. They formed creative, innovative small businesses in large numbers, giving L.A. its deserved reputation for having the most dynamic, flexible, adaptable industrial base in the nation. Besides exporting goods, L.A. also became more self-contained, providing itself with more of the goods it previously imported. How could this be? Angelenos had access to land, the basis of all supply and demand in any economy.

1/8 of all new businesses started in the U.S. were in L.A., 1945-50. These were small, creative, flexible, miscellaneous, and too varied and dynamic to classify. No Linnaeus could sort them in static conventional boxes; they were the despair of traditional economic geographers and base theorists, who were at a loss to explain the region's thriving economy. The new Angelenos stayed and startedproducing everything for themselves, some things previously imported, and others never seen before.

Eastern firms established branch plants here. Top eastern students came to California's great university system, and stayed behind to make careers and jobs here, and send their children through California's excellent public schools. California became famous for supporting outstanding higher education at three tiers, K-12 education, adult education, highways, water supplies, public health, public safety, and other public services, all without repelling business by taxation. There was a kind of regional "El Dorado Effect," as demand and supply grew together, and growing local demand allowed for economies of scale serving local markets. Food and shelter were cheap and abundant. Land for business was accessible, providing a basis for the whole self-contained phenomenon. A "continental tilt" developed in both interest rates and wage rates, drawing in eastern capital and labor.

Why is that not happening today, 1995? An invisible, pervasive change is Proposition 13, which makes it possible to hold land at negligible tax cost. In 1945 land was taxed at 3% every year, building a fire under holdouts to turn their land to use. Today that same tax cost is well below 1%. Using Gwartney's Rule of Thumb (see below under #2,A, "Reassessing Land Frequently") it is about 1/8 of 1%: a rate of 1% applied to 1/8 of the true value. Landowners are only taxed now if they use their land to hire people and produce something useful. Then they meet the drag of our high business and employment and sales taxes, necessitated by the fall of property taxes. A handful of oligopolistic landowners control most of the market; small businesses are squeezed out.

This helps us segue from being at the cutting edge of industrial progress to a third-world economy - with little relief in sight.

What was different then? One obvious difference was the lower burdens of sales tax, business tax, and income tax. We had high property tax rates, but they were more focused on land than now, less on new buildings. California was more hospitable to Georgist (http://schalkenbach.org) thinking than perhaps any other state then, shown by its long run of Georgist political action in the prior thirty years. Most people today are totally numb on this subject, which has been blanked out of our history books.

[Continued... (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_WHWASRSIPT.html)]

---------------------------
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: africknamerican May 28, 2012, 02:54:18 AM
Geolib, FYI on the Gaffney piece: your "continued" link leads to a Wealthandwant version of Gaffney's paper (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_WHWASRSIPT.html), which also appears to be an abbreviated version.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian June 09, 2012, 05:16:14 AM
Geolib, FYI on the Gaffney piece: your "continued" link leads to a Wealthandwant version of Gaffney's paper (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_WHWASRSIPT.html), which also appears to be an abbreviated version.

You're right. The unabbreviated version can be read at:

     http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_PTBaR.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_PTBaR.html)

Here's an interesting interview of Scott Baker (editor of OpEdNews.com) by Max Keiser:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9sjt5F-mbg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9sjt5F-mbg)
     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG6mkodioOc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG6mkodioOc)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: bento June 11, 2012, 09:22:51 AM
Should note that along with the natural monopoly of land the natural monopoly of printing money should be put back in the hands of government for the benefit of all not just the private bankers and speculators. There are other natural monopolies, but not many, and anything that is not a natural monopoly should should not be taxed or "overly?" controlled. Some people I have noticed take the term in the constitution "coin" literally to only mean metal like gold and silver. They conveniently forget about the "continental currency" which has had a major campaign to demonize it as "devaluing" and not taking any other factors into account. Note the most of the sources that demonized the debt free money system have connection to one of the federal reserve banks. Funny that a fractional reserve is criticizing a debt free system.
: A Critique of a Critique of Georgism
: Geolibertarian June 17, 2012, 03:29:38 AM
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold772.htm (http://www.progress.org/2012/fold772.htm)

A Critique of a Critique of Georgism

by Fred E. Foldvary (http://www.progress.org/archive/foldvary.htm)
The Progress Report
June 11, 2012

In February 2012, economist Bryan Caplan wrote “A Search-Theoretic Critique of Georgism” summarizing a working paper by him and Zachary Gochenour. This paper is interesting both because the authors deem Georgism important enough to critique, but also because the critics of geoism keep on having the same misunderstandings.

Bryan’s summary critique is that “A tax on the unimproved value of land distorts the incentive to search for new land and better uses of existing land.” This is false. By economic definition, what is “nature” is what is prior to human action. Land means natural resources, and the value of a natural resource is apart from the value added by human action. The economic rent of land is the market rental paid by a tenant minus the costs needed to put the land to its best use. Those costs include the search, analysis, and organization provided by the entrepreneur.

Caplan writes, “Imagine the long-run effect on the world's oil supply if companies stopped looking for new sources of oil.” It is a waste of time to imagine this, because a tax on rent would not have that effect.

Oil has a global market price, and the profit from oil extraction is the revenue -- the price of oil times the quantity sold -- minus the costs. The economic rent of the land containing the oil is the market value of the oil minus all the typical costs involved in extracting the oil. This is put into practice by a competitive leasing of areas containing oil to companies that explore for and extract the oil. When an oil firm bids a lease amount, the lease rent is its estimate of the surplus left after accounting for the typical costs of production.

Much of the production of oil, natural gas, and minerals comes from long-established sites. The exploration costs have long been amortized or paid for, and now the economic rent is the value of the resource minus the on-going typical costs, including the normal return on capital goods. There is no disincentive to explore new lands or to improve the productivity of existing operations, because a tax on economic rent only taps the surplus beyond normal costs.

Critics of Henry George have also made the opposite claim, that taxing most of the land rent would make companies extract water, oil, natural gas, and coal too quickly. If a firm has to pay a tax on the value of materials in the ground, they will extract it as quickly as possible. But that assumes a simplistic and foolish implementation of land-value taxation. These critics think that Georgists or geoists are fools who can’t even do the economic analysis that a student would do on the third week of his first economics course.

Properly tapping the economic rent of material land requires a sophisticated policy. A tap on that land value would include bids for leasing land and a lump-sum monthly tax on the estimated economic profit of the current extraction, based on the current price of the resource. The economic profit equals the revenue minus all costs, both explicit and implicit, including normal returns on assets. Possibly the economic profit could be zero, the operation providing only a normal return on the labor and capital goods.

The periodic lump-sum (a fixed amount of money) payment would provide an incentive to be efficient, since the marginal tax rate during that time would be zero, i.e. there would be no tax on extra profits, thus providing an incentive to minimize costs and maximize productivity. So the tap on the economic rent of oil extraction would not be based on the value of the oil reserve but on the anticipated surplus -- the leasing bid -- and on the economic profit from the extraction.

Caplan writes, “Suppose you could find a $1 [million] well by spending $900 [thousand] on exploration. With a 99% Georgist tax, your expected profits are negative $890 [thousand]." This is just another example of Tolstoy’s observation that nobody really argues against Henry George; these arguments are based on misunderstandings. The value of the land would be apart from the human action that costs $900,000. The $1 million of site value would be composed of $900,000 of capital goods and $100,000 of land. Evidently Caplan uses a physical definition of land, the physical oil, rather than the economic definition of land value, i.e. apart from the value of the human action needed to put the oil into productive use.

In their working paper on the same topic, Bryan Caplan and Zachary Gochenour write, “we have not complicated the models by differentiating between improvements and the land's ‘unimproved’ value. Information about the land can be considered an improvement in its own right.” Yes, information about land from search is capital good improvement, and the essence of George’s analysis is to differentiate labor and improvements from the value not provided by the title holder. By omitting the essence, the authors are beating up a straw man.
: Re: A Critique of a Critique of Georgism
: Geolibertarian June 17, 2012, 03:54:30 AM
In their working paper on the same topic, Bryan Caplan and Zachary Gochenour write, “we have not complicated the models by differentiating between improvements and the land's ‘unimproved’ value. Information about the land can be considered an improvement in its own right.”

This ongoing refusal on the part of Austrian School "economists" to distinguish (as Adam Smith and all the other classical economists did) between the value of land and the value of improvements is a perfect illustration of both (a) the fact that, if you start with a false first premise, every conclusion drawn from that premise will be equally false, and (b) the fact that economic royalists (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html) will, if desperate enough, turn reality on its head in order rationalize economic free-riding by rent-seeking (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html) aristocrats.

"Land value represents the present market value of the land. It does not include the value of improvements. Land value is arrived at through an analysis of current sales of comparable land in the general area. It is computed separately because land is not depreciable." [Emphasis original] -- William L. Ventolo, Jr., Ralph Tamper & Wellington J. Allaway, Mastering Real Estate Mathematics, p. 115
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense June 17, 2012, 04:35:03 AM
Applies to the majority of the people that went through public education in the West, to be fair. It would be a serious threat to the current elite for the general public to realise that a) there is a fairer taxation method available and b) that it would de-power monopolies that are hampering us in various ways, not just economically.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: EvadingGrid June 17, 2012, 11:36:44 AM
Applies to the majority of the people that went through public education in the West, to be fair. It would be a serious threat to the current elite for the general public to realise that a) there is a fairer taxation method available and b) that it would de-power monopolies that are hampering us in various ways, not just economically.

I'm in favor in principle.

Trouble is that "Land" is not the be all and end all of modern life. For example, a web domain is in practical terms real-estate.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian June 17, 2012, 12:19:01 PM
I'm in favor in principle.

Trouble is that "Land" is not the be all and end all of modern life.

Of course not, but that isn't even a premise of the pro-LVT argument anyway. It's not that land itself is the be all and end all of "modern" life, but that access to land is a universal precondition to human life.

To "be" is to be -- "somewhere." That's as true today as it was a thousand years ago.

For example, a web domain is in practical terms real-estate.

Not really, because (a) access to web domains isn't a precondition to life itself, whereas access to land is, and (b) you can always create more web domains, but as real estate investors are always the first to point out, no one is making more land. That's why the cost of silicon chips goes down as demand goes up, while the cost of Silicon Valley goes up as demand goes up.

Even Bill Gates must have a naturally-occurring geographic location to occupy. That applies no less to him than it does to any other human being (primitive or otherwise).

Hence the following "modern" day trend:

"A family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year, in order to afford a modest rental home, according to a report released April 21 [2010] by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Despite the recession, the report finds that rents continue to rise, while wages continue to fall across the country."

-- http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4 (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense June 18, 2012, 01:30:05 AM
Artificial scarcity of land and money causes a lot of the other problems we have. You can double that figure Geo quoted to make it relevant to the United Kingdom. Yet the few jobs that are available rarely pay more than 10 bucks an hour, if you can even secure one.

I wonder how less qualified and less well spoken people manage, if I personally am struggling to get by...the rent on a below-average 1 bedroom apartment in an undesirable suburb is now more than the minimum wage after tax, but there are still "right-wing" folk intent on worsening conditions for those unfortunate enough to be out of work which is quite a large number now.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: EvadingGrid June 18, 2012, 12:40:31 PM
Artificial scarcity of land and money causes a lot of the other problems we have. You can double that figure Geo quoted to make it relevant to the United Kingdom. Yet the few jobs that are available rarely pay more than 10 bucks an hour, if you can even secure one.

I wonder how less qualified and less well spoken people manage, if I personally am struggling to get by...the rent on a below-average 1 bedroom apartment in an undesirable suburb is now more than the minimum wage after tax, but there are still "right-wing" folk intent on worsening conditions for those unfortunate enough to be out of work which is quite a large number now.

Life in the UK

They invent artifical scarcity of land, to create inflated demand, to increase the production of money through mortguages.... They are also driving people into the megacities for there agenda 21.

/me  gnashes fangs

Total NWO agenda bullshit.

While they tell us the land must be protected from developers, at the same time, they are paying farmers to take land out of production.
: William F. Buckley talks about Georgism
: Geolibertarian June 22, 2012, 09:30:51 PM
Fast forward to 2:39:00 to hear Buckley's interesting response to a question about Henry George:

     http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/156252-1 (http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/156252-1)
: The Single Tax: A Refutation of a "Refutation"
: Geolibertarian June 23, 2012, 12:31:38 AM
http://dailyanarchist.com/2012/06/21/the-single-tax-a-refutation/comment-page-1/ (http://dailyanarchist.com/2012/06/21/the-single-tax-a-refutation/comment-page-1/)

At the above link Wendy McElroy displays her mastery of the art of bashing straw men of one's own making and then pretending to have "refuted" the viewpoints in place of which one knowingly erected those straw men.

Excerpted from the comments section of that article is the following response by long-time geolibertarian activist, Dan Sullivan (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html):

-----------------------------

The Single Tax: A Refutation of Wendy McElroy's "Refutation"

by Dan Sullivan (http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html)
June 21, 2012

The problem with the question and answer format is that it implies false “straw man” positions that are not actually Georgist positions at all, answering questions that are not Georgist questions, but questions that are wrongly assumed to be Georgist.

This probably stems from promising a refutation without having actually written one, and publishing a refutation without first privately running it past some actual Georgists to see if the refutation actually addresses the Georgist position or just addresses misconceptions about that position, and to see if it brings up anything new or unasnwerable, or just rehashes refutations that have themselves been refuted, over and over again.

There is also the problem of throwing a lot of arguments against the wall to see if any of them stick. I am inclined, therefore, to take each assertion, one at a time, in a separate thread.

False Georgist Question:

“How can someone justify claiming property by the ‘right of first occupation’ when everyone else has a similar claim to the same property?”

As I wrote in reply to the first half of this article, people at the extreme ends of the political spectrum tend to think in simplistic absolutist terms that prevent them from understanding people who set out to reconcile conflicting claims. To both Marxists and Miseans, something is either absolutely owned by the individual or absolutely owned by the collective, each denying any legitimacy in the other.

Wendy alludes to Locke’s idea of claiming a property by mixing one’s labor with it, not realizing that George repeatedly and enthusiastically endorsed Locke’s views on property, exactly and precisely as Locke wrote them.

http://www.constitution.org/jl/2ndtreat.htm

Neolibertarians, on the other hand, jump at Locke’s endorsement of property through “mixing one’s labor” (a term Wendy used above), while pretending not to notice the qualifications Locke put on his endorsement. This is like being a Christian except for the parts about the poor being blessed and the rich man having to pass through the eye of a needle (which need not be so hard, because it actually means humbling himself). Just as the religious right contain many a la carte Christians, so does the neolibertarian right contain many a la carte Lockeans. Here is Locke’s essential statement, from Chapter 5, “On Property”:

Sec. 27: Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, AT LEAST WHERE THERE IS ENOUGH, AND AS GOOD, LEFT IN COMMON TO OTHERS [emphasis added].

This emphasized text is called “The Lockean Proviso,” and Locke makes reference to it no less than 15 times in 28 paragraphs. (It is actually one of two provisos, the other being that taking up land and wasting it makes one a “spoiler of the commons” and vitiates his claim. Some neolibertarians do recognize this lesser proviso, which got far less attention from Locke.)

Most neolibertarians who cite Locke are oblivious to his main proviso, and those who begrudgingly acknowledge it try to reduce it to a meaningless absurdity by saying there must only be enough left to others at the time of the claiming.

Well, of course there is enough left to others at that time, or else someone else would have already claimed it. If that is all that Locke had meant, then he was dwelling on a meaningless triviality. However, an honest reading of Locke shows that he meant that his proviso continues to apply long after the claim, and Locke gives an example that clarifies this.

Sec. 34. God gave the world to men in common; but since he gave it them for their benefit, and the greatest conveniencies of life they were capable to draw from it, it cannot be supposed he meant it should always remain common and uncultivated. He gave it to the use of the industrious and rational, (and labour was to be his title to it;) not to the fancy or covetousness of the quarrelsome and contentious. He that had as good left for his improvement, AS WAS ALREADY TAKEN UP, needed not complain, ought not to meddle with what was already improved by another’s labour: if he did, it is plain he desired the benefit of another’s pains, which he had no right to, and not the ground which God had given him in common with others to labour on, and whereof there was as good left, as that ALREADY possessed, and more than he knew what to do with, or his industry could reach to.

Here Locke clearly applies his proviso to land that has already been taken up, and says that the rival claimant should be denied because “there was [still] as good left, as that already possessed.”

In Sections 45-51, Locke acknowledges that this system (which was, in fact, the prevailing system under ancient Common Law) worked well enough until population growth made land scarce, and the use of money taught people that they could hold land in order that others would pay them to use that land, or would work on that land for the landholder’s benefit, which amounts to the same thing.

“[Prior to the use of money] what reason could any one have there to enlarge his possessions beyond the use of his family, and a plentiful supply to its consumption, either in what their own industry produced, or they could barter for like perishable, useful commodities, with others? Where there is not some thing, both lasting and scarce, and so valuable to be hoarded up, there men will not be apt to enlarge their possessions of land, were it never so rich, never so free for them to take:…”

That is, the homestead principle works fine prior to money, because nobody would rush to take up land in order charge others to work that land. However, with money, or what we would call a monetary economy, people will naturally take up more land and better land than they need, in order that someone else will pay them to let go of it. This is precisely where the Lockean Proviso becomes violated, and is also precisely where rent arises.

This is also where Locke precisely agrees with George, for it is at this point, says Locke,

“the several communities settled the bounds of their distinct territories, and by laws within themselves regulated the properties of the private men of their society, and so, by compact and agreement, settled the property which labour and industry began; and the leagues that have been made between several states and kingdoms, either expresly or tacitly disowning all claim and right to the land in the others possession, have, by common consent, given up their pretences to their natural common right, which originally they had to those countries, and so have, by positive agreement, settled a property amongst themselves, in distinct parts and parcels of the earth….”

Note that Locke endorses, neither of the tacit agreement nor the loss of a common right to land. He is just saying that people tacitly consented to whatever arrangements the state made, not that the consent was without duress. But rent arises at precisely the point where good land becomes scarce and money is in circulation, and arises all the same whether under an egalitarian system of governance or under a state.

That rent is also a precise economic measure of the difference between the desirability of the rentable land and the best land that can still be taken up for free. When the community, under whatever mechanism, collects that rent, the Lockean proviso is still in force. That is, the rentable land, after rent is paid to the community, has no greater market value than the best free land. The newcomer who has access to the free land has no valid claim on the occupied rentable land because, once the rent is deducted, the free land is as good.

This put’s George foresquare in alignment with Locke, for “mixing one’s labor” with land is essentially the same as improving the land, and George would exempt all improvements, all exchanges, and all non-harmful activity from any tax, restriction or prohibition.

Now, you might say that Locke did not actually endorse George’s single tax on land, and indeed he didn’t – in this particular treatise. However, Locke did write,

“It is in vain in a Country whose great Fund is Land, to hope to lay the publick charge of the Government on any thing else; there at last it will terminate. The Merchant (do what you can) will not bear it, the Labourer cannot, and therefore the Landholder must: And whether he were best do it, by laying it directly, where it will at last settle, or by letting it come to him by the sinking of his Rents, which when they are once fallen every one knows are not easily raised again, let him consider.”

http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=LocCons.xml&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all

The essential point is that George never denied a right of first occupancy. To the contrary, he explicitly endorsed it.

“Were there only one man on earth, he would have a right to the use of the whole earth or any part of the earth.

“When there is more than one man on earth, the right to the use of land that any one of them would have, were he alone, is not abrogated: it is only limited. The right of each to the use of land is still a direct, original right, which he holds of himself, and not by the gift or consent of the others; but it has become limited by the similar rights of the others, and is therefore an equal right. His right to use the earth still continues; but it has become, by reason of this limitation, not an absolute right to use any part of the earth, but (1) an absolute right to use any part of the earth as to which his use does not conflict with the equal rights of others (i.e., which no one else wants to use at the same time), and (2) a coequal right to the use of any part of the earth which he and others may want to use at the same time.

“It is, thus, only where two or more men want to use the same land at the same time that equal rights to the use of land come in conflict, and the adjustment of society becomes necessary.

“If we keep this idea of equal rights in mind — the idea, namely, that the rights are the first thing, and the equality merely their limitation — we shall have no difficulty.”

-- George, Henry, *A Perplexed Philosopher* [referring to Herbert Spencer] cited in “Common Rights vs. Collective Rights”

http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#collectiveproperty (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#collectiveproperty)

Locke also had two general provisos to people who undertook to discuss his book in an honest fashion, and I hope they will prevail here:

“If any one, concerned really for truth, undertake the confutation of my Hypothesis, I promise him either to recant my mistake, upon fair conviction; or to answer his difficulties. But he must remember two things.

“First, That cavilling here and there, at some expression, or little incident of my discourse, is not an answer to my book.

“Secondly, That I shall not take railing for arguments, nor think either of these worth my notice, though I shall always look on myself as bound to give satisfaction to any one, who shall appear to be conscientiously scrupulous in the point, and shall shew any just grounds for his scruples.”

Wendy’s Socialist Gambit:

Putting incorrect words in George’s mouth….

“As a matter of principle, you cannot claim a right to something you do not own – land – simply because you mix it with something you do own – your labor.”

As I already showed, George stated just the opposite, that you can indeed claim a right to something you do not own. You just cannot claim OWNERSHIP of something you do not own. This is hard for neolibertarians to grasp, because they are so absolutist about property that they have fallen into the trap of thinking that liberty flows from property, when in fact property flows from liberty.

For example, there are countless examples of saying a person must have liberty “because he owns himself.” No, he IS himself, and is not subject to ownership at all. His liberty and his rights derive from the fact of his existence, not from some self-ownership construct. Rather, any system of property must derive from liberty, limited only by the equal liberty of others.

In any case, George never said what Wendy claims he said, but now she uses an argument invented by socialists to muddy the waters:

“If this is true, then it proves more than I believe Georgists wish to accept. If I can make no rightful claim to the riches of nature with which I must mix my labor in order to produce bread, clothing, shelter, and the other necessities of life then I can never claim to ‘own’ the loaf I am baking, the dress on my back, the chair in which I sit, the roof over my head. I am in possession of these goods only because I deprived others of their equal claim to the raw materials consumed in their production.”

This is obviously false. Whether I rent space from a private landlord or from the government, what I produce is mine and mine alone. Does Wendy suppose that, because she made a cotton dress from material she acquired at Joanne Fabrics, that Joanne owns part of her dress? No, she paid for the material, and what she did with it is her own business.

Similarly, does she suppose that her dress and the Joanne Fabrics store are both partly the property of the cotton farmers from whose produce the dress was made? Or that all three are partly the property of the landlord on whose land the cotton farmers grew the cotton? No, I am confident that she does not believe any of that, because, when she is not in refutation mode, common sense surely prevails. Yet, mysteriously, if the cotton farmer owed rent to the community, and not to some private landlord, then somehow the cotton farmer, Joanne Fabrics, and her hand made dress are all property of that community. She does not really believe that, but she thinks that, but she says her misinterpretation of George “proves” it to be true, and she quotes Auberon Herbert basing the same argument on the same fundamental misconception.

However, the government has no greater moral right to the fruits of a person’s labor, provided he pays his rent, than the right of a private landlord to the fruits of a tenant’s labor, provided that the tenant pays his rent.

It is true that socialists tried to claim that everything is state property because everything is made from land, but this is just the flip side of misconstruing the labor-mixing argument. George and Georgists vehemently opposed socialism, and rebuked this nonsense, saying that labor owns all it produces:

“Our friend on the other [socialist] side says that the coercion is the monopoly of machinery, the monopoly of capital. Monopoly of what? Monopoly of capital? Well, let us stop a moment and see what is meant by capital. Is a factory capital? I suppose it is, with all its equipment of buildings and machinery. Is the ground on which it stands capital? If it is, then you are speaking of two entirely different things under the same name, and may be charging to capitalism evils that result from landlordism. Now, capital – machinery and all such things – is produced by labor itself, by laborers. How does it get away from them? It is not a question of the history of the past; It is a question of the present hour, because all the capital that exists today would last but a little while if labor ceased utilizing and maintaining it. Labor is producing it all the time. How does it slip away? It is not enough to say that it slips away because somebody has got it monopolized. You have to go deeper and inquire what are the conditions under which it is produced.

“We know that labor produces all that is produced. We also know that labor cannot create it. Then how can it produce it? Only by getting access to the natural source from which it must come. You have got to go to the land.”

-- Louis F. Post, Single Taxers Debate Socialists, 1903

http://savingcommunities.org/docs/post.louisf/debatesocialists1903.html#producing (http://savingcommunities.org/docs/post.louisf/debatesocialists1903.html#producing)

So, yes, Wendy, those who produce anything should own it, and that is the Georgist position (and the reason George would abolish all taxes on productivity). Yet we see that those who have monopolized land (and those who have used banking privilege to monopolize money) collect rents (and debt interest) that do not rightly belong to them. In this way, they monopolize labor. Socialists would take the fruits of the laborer, and neolibertarians would allow landlords to take the fruits of the laborer. It’s just two roads to the same serfdom.

(My parenthetical comments about banking are just an acknowledgement that there is more than one fundamental injustice.)

The inseparability gambit:

“In Free Life (1898) Auberon Herbert commented on the adverse impact of such a tax. ‘The community is entitled to all values arising from land…that are not due to labor. But…it would surpass the skill of men to disentangle these intermixed values. It could only be done by guess work of a very coarse kind. If the principle were just in itself, it would still be used as a mask for taking from others….All taking of so-called unearned increment would be a farce—and a very mean farce.’”

This is simply not true. Assessing is a refined science, and easily can reach such a quality that disparities between the assessed value an the subsequent selling price can be traced to errors or lopsided pressures on the two parties. For example, it is well known that estates tend to liquidate properties for about 30% less their market value, and that out-of-town buyers tend to pay between 10-15% above market value. Yet good assessors predict future sales with a median variation of less than 10%. Were assessing is bad, it can be traced to political pressures and corrupting influences from large landlords – the same people who insist that taxes must not fall on real estate.

Moreover, the standard assessment practice is to assess land and buildings separately, even when they are only taxed in the aggregate. This is because the only way to get “comparables” in a complex community is to use matrix equations that separate variables. Unless one building is misplaced, meaning located where there is an inadequate market for such a building, the building values should be similar for similar buildings in different neighborhoods. By the same token, adjacent land values should be nearly equal regardless of the structures on them.

There are complications that need explaining to novices, but they pose no great problems to assessors. Market value is rather easily deduced, not arbitrarily imposed, in any community that has a genuine commitment to taxing real estate. There are also multiple appeals processes and other protections for the landholders.

Again, any arbitrary quality comes from the land monopolists themselves. The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, and the price of absolute property in land is eternal cynicism, followed by a landlord class and a tenant class.

A “Key Question” that misses the whole point:

“Herbert then asks a key question – do Georgists advocate making good the losses that occur as well as profiting from the gains? ‘A site falls in value owing to the movement of population—will the believers in unearned increment compensate the owner?’”

After a few paragraphs, I will show why the question is based on a misunderstanding of what Georgists actually propose, because, the landholder does not suffer when land values drop in a Georgist system. He only suffers from such a fate in a non-Georgist system.

But first I want to note the circular reasoning that occurs when apologists for unlimited property in land refer to the landholder as the “owner,” as Auberon Herbert does here. Isn’t the very question whether the landholder is a rightful owner, or just a claimant with rights that are limited by the rights of others?

Marx defined Capital as a device that exploits labor. So, of course, any argument that Capital does not exploit labor is incomprehensible to a dogmatic Marxist. By the same token, if we define the land holder as the owner, then any argument that he must pay rent on “his OWN land” becomes incomprehensible to a dogmatic defender of landlordism.

This kind of circular reasoning abounds whenever an institution is presumed to be just. Anyone who questions that institution is violating the sacred rights of property. In replies to the first half of this presentation, I noted several comparisons between land monopoly and slavery by famous abolitionists, libertarians and others. This same circular reasoning was also used to defend slavery. The defense was satirized by a little-known Georgist named Mark Twain, in Huckleberry Finn:

“Jim talked out loud all the time while I was talking to myself. He was saying how the first thing he would do when he got to a free State he would go to saving up money and never spend a single cent, and when he got enough he would buy his wife, which was owned on a farm close to where Miss Watson lived; and then they would both work to buy the two children, and if their master wouldn’t sell them, they’d get an Ab’litionist to go and steal them.

“It most froze me to hear such talk. He wouldn’t ever dared to talk such talk in his life before. Just see what a difference it made in him the minute he judged he was about free. It was according to the old saying, ‘Give a nigger an inch and he’ll take an ell.’ Thinks I, this is what comes of my not thinking. Here was this nigger, which I had as good as helped to run away, coming right out flat-footed and saying he would steal his children — children that belonged to a man I didn’t even know; a man that hadn’t ever done me no harm.

“I was sorry to hear Jim say that, it was such a lowering of him. My conscience got to stirring me up hotter than ever, until at last I says to it, ‘Let up on me — it ain’t too late yet — I’ll paddle ashore at the first light and tell.’”

When people asked Mark Twain what Huckleberry Finn was about, he said, “superstition.” Circular reasoning is just superstition pretending to be logical.

***

Now, as to compensating the land “owner” if land values fall:

As soon as you start taxing land, the speculative values pretty much disappear, and after that, there is a lot less of a loss to compensate. Don’t take my word for it, though. Look at California, the state that gets the smallest percentage of its tax burden from real estate of any state in the nation, thanks to Prop 13. They had the most unaffordable housing of any state at the peak of the bubble in 2005, and they have had the most foreclosures of any state since that time, and the greatest drop in real estate values.

http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilityrank.html

All across the nation, within population categories, the higher the property tax the greater the affordability (and the fewer the foreclosures):

http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilitycharts.html (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilitycharts.html)

So, if taxes had been falling heavily on land, the landholder would not have had to pay as much to acquire land in the first place, and has less land value to lose. If the full rental value were being assessed and collected, then landholders would have been acquiring land (and the tax obligation) for free, paying only for the value of the previous landholder’s improvements. There is nothing to compensate. Also, where the land value falls, so falls the assessment on which his taxes are based. So, yes, he is automatically compensated if his land value falls. If Auberon Herbert thought otherwise, it is because he did not understand the proposal.

The World Government Gambit:

“But the point remains that natural resources belong equally to everyone.”

Yes, we actually do believe that.

“Again, I doubt that Georgists wish to follow this argument to its logically conclusion because it would necessitate impartially dividing the benefits of all land among all human beings.”

No it would not, for several reasons but let us continue with what Wendy imagines to be the “logical” application of our perspective.

“If one area of the world was gifted with rich soil and abundant water, then it would owe a debt to areas of barren sand and drought. Any line drawn to include some people in the rich area’s advantages while excluding others would violate the Georgists’ own principle that the earth equally belongs to all. Thus, a single tax that benefits a small portion of the global community reveals itself as being inherently and manifestly ‘unfair’. And, yet, a globally ‘fair’ distribution of value would be nigh well impossible to achieve; it cannot even be envisioned without a sprawling global authority that collects data, assesses and taxes far beyond what libertarian-style Georgists would tolerate. Like absurdity, the impossibility of implementing a principle should make you reconsider it.”

First of all, one does not pay rent for using land, but for excluding others from using land. If rent is shared within a community, and there are no barriers preventing outsiders from migrating into that community, then the obligation is satisfied. As a matter of fact, the only barriers to migration into a particular US community are zoning laws, which most Georgists (and all geolibertarians) oppose.

As for international sharing, we would similarly owe nothing to residents of other countries if we allowed those residents to freely migrate to the United States, for we would not be excluding them.

At a deeper, metaphysical level, justice is a congruent relationship between individuals, whether organized into associations, municipalites, states, countries or planets. To say that we cannot be just with each other until the whole world is just with each other is like saying to my family that I should not have to stop beating my wife until all husbands have to stop beating their wives.

Even if global sharing of land and resources were an ultimate goal, it would be unreachable until we had a mechanism of global government that was something other than a federation of tyrannies. But does this mean that the cities of Aliquippa, Altoona, and Clairton PA, which all tax land and have little or no tax on buildings, have to stop being more internally just than other cities?

To the contrary, local reform is the only reform that is consistent with the decentralist principles of Jefferson and Paine (who both advocated taxing land to prevent monopoly, quite apart from its ability to raise revenue).

Stepping away from land and using the slavery example again, the question of what is just is quite separate from some notion that one community, state or country must impose its sense of justice on another. William Lloyd Garrison, the most famous abolitionist in American History, not only opposed talk of a Civil War, but led the draft resistance. Was slavery wrong? Absolutely. Did Garrison suppose that he had a right to forcibly impose his opposition to slavery on the people of the South? Absolutely not.

“Just in proportion as this spirit [of war fever in the North] prevails, I feel that our moral power is departing and will depart. I say this not so much as an Abolitionist as a man. I believe in the spirit of peace, and in sole and absolute reliance on truth and the application of it to the hearts and consciences of the people. I do not believe that the weapons of liberty ever have been, or ever can be, the weapons of despotism. I know that those of despotism are the sword, the revolver, the cannon, the bomb shell; and, therefore, the weapons to which tyrants cling, and upon which they depend, are not the weapons for me, as a friend of liberty. I will not trust the war spirit anywhere in the universe of God, because the experience of six thousand years proves it not to be at all reliable in such a struggle as ours….

“I pray you, abolitionists, still to adhere to that truth. Do not get impatient; do not become exasperated; do not attempt any new political organization; do not make yourselves familiar with the idea that blood must flow. Perhaps blood will flow – God knows, I do not; but it shall not flow through any counsel of mine. Much as I detest the oppression exercised by the Southern slaveholder, he is a man sacred, before me. He is a man, not to be harmed by my hand nor with my consent. He is a man, who is grievously and wickedly trampling upon the rights of his fellow-man; but all I have to do with him, is to rebuke his sin, to call him to repentance, to leave him without excuse for his tyranny."

-- Liberator 1858, cited in “Liberty and the Great Libertarians”

The key point that Wendy misses is that the argument for rent sharing not only requires no global government, but requires no government at all. Wendy is confounding the moral question of what is right with the political question of how (or even whether) such rightness is to be enforced.

Let us suppose an anarchist society where people are governed only by manners, a sense of mutual respect, and a desire to be respected by others. If, by pure reason, these anarchists agree that those who occupy the most desirable land, have a moral obligation to compensate those who are relegated to the most undesirable land. We will even suppose that, through voluntary subscription, they hire an expert to determine what that compensation should be.

Now, to be consistent with anarchist principles, let us further suppose that someone refuses to pay what the members of the anarchist community believe he should pay. There is no state eviction, no “land-assessing, tax-collecting authority [cemented] into the very concept of property.” There is just a shared belief that this person is behaving badly and is unworthy of the respect and esteem that other members freely accord one another.

If the community is truly functioning on these principles, I would expect this person to either make his case to them that he should not have to pay this assessment for whatever reason he has, to go ahead and pay the assessment, or to take some other action to put himself back in the good graces of his peers.

But suppose he does none of these things, and operates in contempt for the mores of the community. Being an anarchist community, it enforces no sanctions against him. But, neither does it enforce sanctions against others who might refuse to deal with him, might trespass on “his” land, or might even set about to take that land. Again, people might informally rebuke those who set about this person, just as others might rebuke the person himself.

The point is that even anarchist communities are not without laws and customs, but are merely without an enforcement hierarchy. People who hold more and better land either have a *moral* obligation to the community and/or the dispossessed members of that community, or they do not. How and whether that obligation is enforced is a separate question from what that obligation is.

The Majority Rule diverson:

Wendy quotes a ranting passage of rhetorical questions by Auberon Herbert, beginning with “Who decides…?

As an ad hominem criticism of Henry George, it has some merit, because George had what seems to be an unwarranted faith in the ability of the people to rise above various political influences and exercise what he considered to be good judgment.

Yet, in addressing the actual proposal, the question of “who decides” is something of a tangent. Whatever the proposal, someone decides, whether or not that someone *ought* to be deciding. John Locke and Adam Smith wrote within a monarchy, and so they made the case that it was in the interests of the landed aristocracy to pay taxes on land. (And, of course, Marx railed against him for doing so.) George, regardless of his unwarranted faith in electoral democracy, had no choice but to appeal to the voters. The golf metaphor for this is “playing the ball where it lies,” and making an economic or moral argument to those in power is not an endorsement of those in power, whether they be kings or the masses.

I happen to share a sense of hopelessness about majority rule, especially when the electorate is too large in number to deliberate with one another, and so are subjected to bombardments of propaganda and the finesse of political machinations. Often the elected candidate was not put in office by a majority at all, but by a majority sub-faction of a majority faction of a majority party, who had only risen enough to be considered through finessing majorities of majorities of majorities at lower offices. It is not the people who are stupid, but the process that is stupid.

Personally, my ideal process is to submit questions to a jury of randomly selected citizens or residents, to give them complete freedom to consider the question and to accept documents and interview experts as they see fit. But, if I must submit to elected officials, or to opinion makers, etc., then I will try to reason with them as I try to reason with anyone. That would certainly be more productive than trying to reason with powerless anarchists, except that I believe in the underlying principles of genuine anarchism, and have a special affinity for the most reasonable, most non-violent, and most non-blustery anarchists. My own sense of justice is enriched by them.

Still, when nasty old elected officials are about to make a decision about taxation, I am not too holy to attempt to reason with them. If we do not make an attempt to show them what we think is the right thing, where do we get moral standing to condemn them for doing the wrong thing?

In Conclusion, the most fundamental error of all:

Wendy’s concluding thought is as follows:

“Claiming a person owns his labor but not the material upon which it is expended is tantamount to denying the person’s ownership of his labor. Or, at the very least, to deny him the benefit of labor. With the exception of purely intellectual endeavor, work is always expended on something; a good is produced out of material that reduces to a natural resource. To say a worker owns the hands that fashion a wooden chair but he does not own the chair because he has no exclusive claim to that natural resource is to make a mockery or a semantic game of anyone ‘owning their labor’. Where is the advantage to owning your labor when you cannot control what it produces in order to feed yourself?”

Wow! Wendy nailed it! She could not have said it any better (or any differently) if she had copied George’s own writings word for word. Indeed, “To each the fruits of his labor” is almost a Georgist anthem. It’s the whole point of the single tax on land values.

For one example among many, Here is what George wrote in *Social Problems*, Chapter 10, “The Rights of Man.”

“Let us consider the matter. The equal, natural and unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, does it not involve the right of each to the free use of his powers in making a living for himself and his family, limited only by the equal right of all others? Does it not require that each shall be free to make, to save and to enjoy what wealth he may, without interference with the equal rights of others; that no one shall be compelled to give forced labor to another, or to yield up his earnings to another; that no one shall be permitted to extort from another labor or earnings? All this goes without the saying. Any recognition of the equal right to life and liberty which would deny the right to property – the right of a man to his labor and to the full fruits of his labor – would be mockery.

“But that is just what we do. Our so-called recognition of the equal and natural rights of man is to large classes of our people nothing but a mockery, and as social pressure increases, is becoming a more bitter mockery to larger classes, because our institutions fail to secure the rights of men to their labor and the fruits of their labor.”

But, amazingly, Wendy writes, “Georgism is not merely a Single Tax but an assault upon the concept of ownership itself.”

Her is the Doublethink that makes such a conclusion possible. She rightly says that a person who does not own the material on which he expends his labor does not own his labor. Yet she says nothing about the fact that, where land is treated as absolute property, the overwhelming majority of laborers do not own the materials on which they labor, nor the facilities in which they labor. She fails to see that her own words are an indictment against unlimited property in land, which inevitably leads to a situation where those who labor pay tribute to those who do own the materials without which they cannot labor.

She supposes that a community that collects the rent and disperses it on a per capita basis is robbing the laborer, but that the landlord who collects the same rent and pockets it is not robbing the laborer. Even if we tie ownership to the homesteading principle, and even if we somehow determine that those who are relegated to poor land can take land back that other people have stopped using, we are left with the fact that two equally talented, equally energetic merchants can have very different returns, or “fruits of their labor”if one happens to hold a prime location while the other is relegated to a marginal location.

But as soon as we concede that a person may continue to acquire more land, so long as he (or his employees) put that land to use, we see that he may collect rent through the differential between what his workers produce and what they are paid. Either that, or we prohibit employers from holding land worked by employees, making such ventures as steel mills impossible without resorting to syndicalism or other artificial socialistic constructs.

As Albert Jay Nock, founding editor of The Freeman and author of Our Enemy, The State, noted,

“The only reformer abroad in the world in my time who interested me in the least was Henry George, because his project did not contemplate prescription, but, on the contrary, would reduce it to almost zero. He was the only one of the lot who believed in freedom, or (as far as I could see) had any approximation to an intelligent idea of what freedom is, and of the economic prerequisites to attaining it…. One is immensely tickled to see how things are coming out nowadays with reference to his doctrine, for George was in fact the best friend the capitalist ever had. He built up the most complete and most impregnable defense of the rights of capital that was ever constructed, and if the capitalists of his day had had sense enough to dig in behind it, their successors would not now be squirming under the merciless exactions which collectivism is laying on them, and which George would have no scruples whatever about describing as sheer highwaymanry.”

-- “Free Speech and Plain Language,” February 1935, p. 159

Nock is not only a giant among libertarians; he is a giant who had read Henry George’s works voraciously and even wrote a biographical essay (a full book, really) about him. I find myself wondering which of George’s books Wendy had read before writing this refuation.

-----------------------------
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: africknamerican June 25, 2012, 10:45:21 PM
Of course not, but that isn't even a premise of the pro-LVT argument anyway. It's not that land itself is the be all and end all of "modern" life, but that access to land is a universal precondition to human life.

To "be" is to be -- "somewhere." That's as true today as it was a thousand years ago.


Weird how the Matrix has woven its web so tightly that even many freedom-lovers and truth-seekers forget, at least part of the time, that they have to stand somewhere!

Too much focus on money, finance, and banksters. (I have been guilty of that in the past, too.) Those are certainly part of the problem, but money is Stage 2. Land is Stage 1, the foundation of everything.

To people who are very concerned about banking and usury, you could say that rent is to land as usury is to money.
 
I wonder about Web domains. They seem analagous to locations on land especially since there are more and less valuable ones. For example, there is only one Sex.com, and that URL is a lot more valuable than kjfwpoib_kwepogt_wifghkwpq.com.

However, taking the limits of a language and analogizing them to the limits of physical space, is an inexact analogy....a domain is more like capital than like land. we can invent many new domain suffixes (not to mention numerical IP addresses); although inconvenient, we can learn another language, or invent a new one -- plus, if we're really serious, we can add to the alphabet.....

Yes, Bill Gates must have a geographic location, and you will find that he owns many locations, and very valuable ones at that.



: Re: The Single Tax: A Refutation of a "Refutation"
: africknamerican June 27, 2012, 01:10:03 AM
McElroy seems to rely entirely on Auberon Herbert, whose arguments are incredibly muddled, showing carelessness. cluelessness, or dishonesty. McElroy posted Herbert's attacks on George at her site a couple years ago and I spent a lot of time trying to compose replies, but got bogged down in refuting all the minutiae; I just didn't have time. Also, I simply couldn't find a place where I could actually post a reply on McElroy's site ... seems she doesn't like debate. So, I just dropped it. But glad someone abler than myself could do it.


"Neolibertarians, on the other hand, jump at Locke’s endorsement of property through “mixing one’s labor” (a term Wendy used above), while pretending not to notice the qualifications Locke put on his endorsement."


Or, some of them just sniff, "Humph! Obviously Locke was wrong on that point." They don't specify why, though, and they continue to quote him selectively as an authority on property.


"but it has become limited by the similar rights of the others, and is therefore an equal right."


Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins; this means we both have the right to equal fist-swingin' space. Same with right to use land of a given quality.  


"Circular reasoning is just superstition pretending to be logical."


I used to believe in the quest for "allodial" landownership too.  However, that -- like the magic of "acceptance for value," or "NESARA" coming to save us, or invoking "Without Prejudice, UCC 1-308" to ward off legal evil -- is patriot superstition.
 


"All across the nation, within population categories, the higher the property tax the greater the affordability (and the fewer the foreclosures):..."


I know that statement has got to make the eyes of most libertarian-minded people pop out and steam come out of their ears. At first glance, it doesn't make sense at all. We Geolibs have got to do a better job explaining why. They "why" is that land is already artificially scarce and thus overpriced; there is no real "market" in land, the gears are all gummed up. The tax stops the activities that lead to artificial scarcity (speculation and waste), allowing the wheels of the market to turn. Values will moderate to "real" values rather than inflated monopoly values. That more modest real value will be paid, in lieu of the myriad of taxes,  to our local community in monthly installments, interest-free, rather than to land/lendlords loaded with interest. When rent is collected by the community the *price* that a landlord/seller can charge falls proportionately.



"Even if global sharing of land and resources were an ultimate goal, it would be unreachable until we had a mechanism of global government that was something other than a federation of tyrannies."


Once we get this working on the local and State level, we'll be in a better shape to get hold of the general government and then -- as other nations follow suit -- we could build a world federation based on opposite principles from the one being erected now by the forces of Privilege.


"The key point that Wendy misses is that the argument for rent sharing not only requires no global government, but requires no government at all. Wendy is confounding the moral question of what is right with the political question of how (or even whether) such rightness is to be enforced."


Yep. Local governments, private communities .... it could even get done via a private initiative of landowners pledging to forgo the land rent and to use it to support public services and/or citizens dividend.


"Still, when nasty old elected officials are about to make a decision about taxation, I am not too holy to attempt to reason with them. If we do not make an attempt to show them what we think is the right thing, where do we get moral standing to condemn them for doing the wrong thing?



Exactly.


 
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense July 11, 2012, 08:45:06 AM
Well, said people were propped up by their parents until they were in the position to buy or rent themselves. It's a shame that it takes severe personal hardship for people to figure it out...
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: TahoeBlue July 11, 2012, 04:30:26 PM
I wonder what Teddy's property tax is?

http://www.tedturner.com/ranches.asp
(http://www.mygen.com/images/turner_ranch_map_web.jpg)

With approximately two million acres of personal and ranch land, Ted Turner is the second largest individual landholder in North America

2,000,000 acre = 3125 mi²

Yes 3000 square miles of land.... and his pal Malone has another 3000 sq miles in tow....

http://www.landreport.com/americas-100-largest-landowners/
No. 1 John Malone 2,200,000 acres

John Malone, the 70-year-old chairman of Liberty Media, is famously reticent when it comes to discussing his business life. There is, however, one subject that makes the Denver businessman open up: his personal land holdings.

Recently, he’s had a lot more to talk about. In 2011, Malone became the largest private landowner in the U.S., wresting the top spot on The Land Report 100 from his friend and longtime business partner, Ted Turner.

...

THE FULL LIST: AMERICA’S TOP 100 LANDOWNERS 2011
 1.John Malone
 2.Ted Turner
 3.Archie Aldis Emmerson
 4.Brad Kelley
 5.Irving Family
 6.Singleton Family
 7.King Ranch Heirs
 8.Pingree Heirs
 9.Reed Family
 10.Stan Kroenke
 11.Ford Family

 12.Lykes Bros. Heirs
 13.Briscoe Family
 14.W.T. Waggoner Estate
 15.Holland Ware
 16.D.M. O’Connor Heirs
 17.Drummond Family
 18.Phillip Anschutz
 19.J.R. Simplot Heirs
 20.Robert Earl Holding
 21.Anne Marion
 22.East Family Foundation
 23.Hughes Family
 24.Collins Family
 25.Patrick Broe
 26.Nunley Family
 27.Fasken Family
 28.Jeff Bezos
 29.Collier Family
 30.H.I. Kokernot Heirs
 31.Babbitt Ranches
 32.Lyda Family
 33.Jones Heirs
 34.True Family
 35.Reynolds Family
 36.Mike Smith
 37.Paul Fireman
 38.D.K. Boyd
 39.The Koch Family
 40.David Murdock
 41.McCoy & Remme Families
 42.Scott Family
 43.Roxana Hayne & Joan Kelleher
 44.Cassidy Heirs
 45.Louis Moore Bacon
 46.Killam Family
 47.Irwin Heirs
 48.Langdale Family
 49.Eugene Gabrych
 50.Bogle Family
 51.Hunt Family
 52.Tim Blixseth
 53.Bidegain Family
 54.Williams Family
 55.Robert A. Funk
 56.Russell Gordy
 57.Broadbent Family
 58.Sugg Family
 59.Benjamin W. Griffith III
 60.Cogdell Family
 61.Leo Drey Foundation
 62.Fanjul Family
 63.Hearst Family
 64.Ellison Family
 65.Bass Family
 66.Emily Garvey Bonavia
 67.Boswell Family
 68.Eddy Family
 69.William Henry Green Heirs
 70.Wells Family
 71.Gerald J. Ford
 72.Mike Mechenbier
 73.Harrison Family
 74.Thomas Lane Family
 75.Issac Ellwood Heirs
 76.JA Ranch Heirs
 77.Monahan Family
 78.Les Davis Heirs
 79.Booth Family
 80.Brite Ranch Heirs
 81.Reese Family
 82.Moursund Family
 83.Scharbauer Family
 84.Clayton and Modesta Williams Jr.
 85.Stan Harper
 86.Frank Leonard Vandersloot
 87.Richard and Victoria Evans
 88.Linnebur Family
 89.Moore Family
 90.Robinson Family
 91.Beggs Family
 92.Milliken Family
 93.Powell Heirs
 94.Walter Umphrey
 95.Yates Family
 96.Butler Heirs
 97.Eshleman-Vogt Family
 98.J. Luther King Jr. & Frank King
 99.Hampton Family
 100.Aubrey McClendon

| - - - -  
As to the original post regarding LVT , I am sure the Queen and her cronies would be exempt....

http://landvaluetax.org/what-is-lvt/
What is Land Value Taxation [LVT]?

Land Value Taxation is a method of raising public revenue by means of an annual tax on the rental value of land. It would replace, not add to, existing taxes. Properly applied, Land Value Tax would support a whole range of social and economic initiatives, including housing, transport and other infrastructural investments. It is an elementary fiscal measure that would go far towards correcting fundamental economic and social ills.

The value of every parcel of land in Britain [or in whichever country LVT is applied] would be assessed regularly and the land value tax levied as a percentage of those assessed values.

"Land" means the site alone, not counting any improvements. The value of buildings, crops, drainage or any other works which people have erected or carried out on each plot of land would be ignored, but it would be assumed that all neighbouring properties were developed as at the time of the valuation; other things being equal, a vacant site in a row of houses would be assessed at the same value as the adjacent sites occupied by houses.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian July 12, 2012, 08:06:54 AM
As to the original post regarding LVT , I am sure the Queen and her cronies would be exempt.

In other words, "resistance" to British royalty "is futile."

If the Founders (http://savingcommunities.org/foundersplan/whyfounders.html) had subscribed to this self-fulfilling belief, America would never have been founded in the first place.

In many if not most parts of the globe, ruling-class monarchs and oligarchs have managed to make themselves "exempt" from laws against pedophilia. Does that in any way justify not having such laws to begin with? Or does it merely justify eliminating the exemption -- or, better yet, eliminating the privileges (see this (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/), this (http://www.monetary.org/review-of-robert-de-fremerys-rights-vs-privileges/2010/12) and this (http://www.progress.org/archive/hgjr8a.htm)) upon which monarchies and oligarchies invariably and desperately rely for their very existence?
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: TahoeBlue October 25, 2012, 01:28:27 PM
bump for:

Ted Turner says "I think it's good US troops are killing themselves?" (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=237428.0)
: Rising rents leave a generation caught in the ‘Rent Trap’
: Geolibertarian January 31, 2013, 02:40:58 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL3n59wC8kk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL3n59wC8kk) (Real Estate 4 Ransom)

http://england.shelter.org.uk/news/january_2013/rising_rents_leave_a_generation_in_the_rent_trap (http://england.shelter.org.uk/news/january_2013/rising_rents_leave_a_generation_in_the_rent_trap)

Rising rents leave a generation caught in the ‘Rent Trap’

31 January 2013
A new report from Shelter shows rents are rising by an average of almost £300 a year in England.

(http://england.shelter.org.uk/__data/assets/image/0017/622610/rent_trap_197.jpg)

With average wages remaining static, many people are left unable to save for a deposit – and are trapped in a cycle of unstable renting.

The Rent Trap report also reveals that:

*  in 1 in 7 local authorities rents rose by more than £500 in a year
*  six areas saw equivalent rent rises of more than £1,500 in a year

As a result, 72% of renters say they are only able to put aside £50 a month or less in savings. 58% report being unable to save anything at all.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: ‘The renters we speak to have never been less hopeful. A relentless stream of rent rises means that most feel they will never move on from a life paying ‘dead money’ to landlords, in a home they can’t make their own.

[Continued... (http://england.shelter.org.uk/news/january_2013/rising_rents_leave_a_generation_in_the_rent_trap)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense January 31, 2013, 11:28:05 PM
Too bad Shelter are poverty pimps/corporate welfare recipients just like most charities. Did I mention the government is drastically cutting welfare over here, even to disabled people? You'd be lucky to come away with more than £100 a week as young person, which is barely enough to cover rent on a typical room, never mind anything else...
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: africknamerican February 10, 2013, 02:33:27 PM
The list of land owners above is significant of course, but that list goes by land area, not value. Remeber the most valuable land per sq ft is in places like Manhattan ....

For New York Real Estate Royalty, No Bust After the Boom (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/nyregion/09families.html)

: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian March 01, 2013, 01:04:00 PM
The list of land owners above is significant of course, but that list goes by land area, not value. Remeber the most valuable land per sq ft is in places like Manhattan ....

Yes, but according to the Austrian School (http://recoveringaustrians.wordpress.com/top-ten-austrian-economic-lies-and-mistakes/) types who unfortunately dominate the "liberty" movement, it's a trillion times more morally offensive to tax the publicly-created value of land (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) than it is to tax the privately-created values of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm), which is why the mere mention of the former invariably elicits hysterical screams of "wealth confiscation," "class envy" and, of course, "collectivism," while the latter (at least comparatively) does not.

Then they have the nerve to wonder aloud why most of the 100-million-plus people who make up the bottom 40% (http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html) are so easily duped into thinking the banker-owned, tax-everything-under-the-sun Democratic Party at least "cares" more about them than its "conservative" and right-wing "libertarian" opponents do.  ::)

       http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=196128.0 (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=196128.0)

Dan put it best when he wrote:


-- http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#marxist (http://geolib.com/sullivan.dan/commonrights.html#marxist)
: New York’s Homelessness Worst Since The Great Depression
: Geolibertarian March 06, 2013, 04:09:35 PM
Despite unprecented levels of labor-saving technology and aggregate wealth, the privilege (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/)-induced rent-wage gap (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4) continues to paradoxically create the deepest levels of poverty precisely where wealth most abounds -- just as Henry George (http://schalkenbach.org/rsf-1/on-line-library/works-by-henry-george/) said it would:

----------------------------

http://www.prisonplanet.com/new-yorks-homelessness-worst-since-the-great-depression.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/new-yorks-homelessness-worst-since-the-great-depression.html)

New York’s Homelessness Worst Since The Great Depression

Zero Hedge (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-03-05/new-yorks-homelessness-worst-great-depression)
March 6, 2013

State and local governments nationwide have struggled to accommodate a homeless population that has changed in recent years – now including large numbers of families with young children. As the WSJ reports (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324539404578340731809639210.html?mod=djemalertNEWS), more than 21,000 children – an unprecedented 1% of the city’s youth – slept each night in a city shelter in January, an increase of 22% in the past year; as homeless families now spend more than a year in a shelter, on average, for the first time since 1987. New York City has seen one of the steepest increases in homeless families in the past decade, advocates said, growing 73% since 2002, and “is facing a homeless crisis worse than any time since the Great Depression.

Homeless advocates said the Obama administration has focused on more visible problems, such as those sleeping on the streets, taking resources away from families. The steep rise has reignited questions about whether New York’s economic turnaround of the past two decades has helped the city’s poorest residents as they note (despite today’s Dow record highs), “the economy is nowhere near where it was.

The blame apparently lies at the cessation of ‘entitlements’ as the DHS adds, since the end – in Spring 2011 – of a state-funded program that subsidized rent for people leaving shelters; homeless families have gone up 35%; but they also added that the city was working to find employment for the homeless, “a long-term solution.” Boston and Washington DC are also seeing homeless numbers surge.

(http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2013/03/20130305_WSJ1.jpg)

Via WSJ,

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/new-yorks-homelessness-worst-since-the-great-depression.html)]

----------------------------

And what does the Keynesian (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_economic-consequences-of-john-maynard-keynes-1983.html)-dominated "Left" propose as a solution? To implement still more cosmetic reforms that, as such, only perpetuate the failed and morally bankrupt policy of taxing the privately-created values of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) and capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) to death while leaving the publicly-created value of land (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) comparatively untaxed, even though that's the very anti-Georgist tax policy that created this mess in the first place!

And what does the Austrian (http://recoveringaustrians.wordpress.com/top-ten-austrian-economic-lies-and-mistakes/)-dominated "Right" propose as a solution? To make publicly-created land values even more privatized than they already are, even though this will not only make the rent-wage gap (http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2010/04/21-4) even wider than it already is -- and thereby make the society-destroying wealth-and-income gap (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=160459.msg1297086#msg1297086) even wider than it already is -- but force governments to rely even more on job- and small business-destroying taxes on labor and capital than they do now!

(http://i1352.photobucket.com/albums/q641/Wolfkindcx/DoubleFacepalm2_zps6e8e47eb.jpg)

How much more ridiculously concentrated (http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html) must wealth and income become in the hands of a privileged (http://www.monetary.org/review-of-robert-de-fremerys-rights-vs-privileges/2010/12) few before a critical mass of people finally awaken to the fact that Democrat-vs.-Republican is not the only "false paradigm (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=192293.0)"?
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian March 28, 2013, 01:33:08 PM
The following video finally starts to shed more light than heat, more reason than emotion, at 21:41:

     http://vimeo.com/45717264 (http://vimeo.com/45717264)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense March 28, 2013, 09:27:15 PM
Try to tell anyone around here that there's homelessness or actual poverty, and they'll laugh in your face. That is how disconnected some members of the public have become from reality.
: Taxes, from Best to Worst
: Geolibertarian June 13, 2013, 01:27:03 PM
http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/ (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/)

Taxes, from Best to Worst

Good Taxes

These taxes have generally beneficial effects on the economy, beyond funding government itself. That is, failure to collect these taxes creates problems. In a sense, they are payments for privileges, and not genuinely taxes at all. They are also the only taxes that can be based entirely on public information or collected in exchange for access to public amenities.

Land Value Tax

Land value tax reconciles free-market principles with the concept of the earth as a commons. It is the most progressive tax, because it is the only tax that is not passed on to users. It prevents the monopolization of land, stabilizes real estate prices, promotes economic vitality and efficient land use, and has been recognized for millenia as the most ethical tax. It is easily assessed and based entirely on public information. It also correlates better with benefits received than any other broad-based tax. All government expenditures that are not complete wastes of money increase or maintain land values.

Resource Extraction Royalties

Royalties take for the public a value that is otherwise a windfall for the owner of the mineral rights. Beyond a certain point, they slow the extraction of non-renewable resources and have a preservation effect. They inhibit economic vitality in the short run less than income taxes, and far less than sales taxes and payroll taxes. In the long run, preserving resources benefits economic vitality.

Pollution Charges

Those who pollute (http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/articles/2-us-department-of-defense-is-the-worst-polluter-on-the-planet/) are, in effect, using public air (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jf0khstYDLA) and water (http://www.prisonplanet.com/government-and-top-university-studies-fluoride-lowers-iq-and-causes-other-health-problems.html) as storage for their toxins. In doing so, they reduce the enjoyment of the air and water for everyone else. They should pay to do so, for the same reasons that people should pay for the land they hold for themselves.

Monopoly License Fees

In many cases, licensed monopolies are unnecessary, and the license restrictions should be abolished. Where licensed monopolies are necessary, the value of the monopoly premium should be collected by the public, not by the monopolist.

Congestion Charges

Congestion charges are the best way to prevent overuse of public amenities. They differ from user fees in that they are adjusted to prevent overuse, not to pay for the amenities themselves.

Bad but Tolerable Taxes

These taxes have good and bad elements, but should be resorted to only when the above options are not available.

Real Property Taxes

The property tax is really two taxes. The portion that falls on improvements is destructive, but the portion that falls on land value is so vitally important that, where a land tax option is not available, it is the best general-revenue tax. It is far more progressive than people realize, because it falls substantially on corporate-owned and absentee-owned property. It is not passed on to tenants, because it is more burdensome to landlords without tenants than to those with tenants. It is the best of the bad taxes.

General Wealth Taxes

Wealth taxes go beyond property taxes to fall on additional forms of wealth and on instruments that claim wealth. They are more progressive than income taxes, but less progressive and more economically destructive than the taxes listed above.

Inheritance or Estate Taxes

Estate taxes are general wealth taxes levied at the time of transfer from the (usually deceased) owner to beneficiaries. While they have the same general effects as wealth taxes, they also have an unnecessarily disruptive effect of a high rate levied at a single point, as opposed to a lower rate levied annually.

Inflation

Inflation (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=98465.msg1335290#msg1335290) is a transfer payment from the holders of money and financial obligations to the indebted. If all debts were legitimate, inflation would rank much further down the list. If there were a way to separate legitimate debt from the results of banking privilege, it would rank much higher.

User Fees

The difference between user fees and congetion charges are that user fees attempt to defray some or all of the use.

Income Taxes

Income taxes generally are less progressive and more economically destructive than wealth taxes. All are bad, but some are tolerable.

Capital Gains Taxes

Capital gains tax rates should be at least as high as taxes on ordinary income. Genuine capital doesn't gain; what gains is the capitalized value of privilege. Low rates on capital gains do not promote genuine investment in productivity the way accelerated depreciation of genuine capital does.

Corporate Income Taxes

Income taxes generally are less progressive and more economically destructive than wealth taxes. They tax the right people the wrong way, and end up falling on poorer people indirectly. However, corporate privilege is very real, and there is no injustice in making the recipients of privilege pay for the privilege. Those who complain of "double taxation" should note that it is not strictly necessary for a business to incorporate. Clearly, the advantages of incorporation outweigh the costs of corporate income taxes, or else people would simply form unincorporated partnerships.

Graduated Income Taxes

A sharply graduated income tax falls on the right people the wrong way. That is, it falls on people who should be paying the good taxes above, but give them perverse incentives that tend to slow the economy, lower wages, and drive up rents and other prices. They reduce the funds with which rich people can monopolize land and bid up other privileges, but they also give rich people an incentive to apply what funds they have to assets that produce no income, and consequently create no wealth and provide no jobs.

Intolerably Bad Taxes

These taxes are so regressive and destructive that every effort should be made to eliminate them.

Flat Income Taxes

Flat income taxes fall just as hard on dollars needed to pay for food, clothing and shelter as on dollars used to bid up the value of privileges.

Sales, VAT and Gross Revenue Taxes

These taxes fall mostly on middle-income and low-inome people, who spend their entire paychecks, while more affluent people have the option of investing their income, sales-tax free. Exempting food and clothing makes these taxes less regressive at the very bottom, but such exemptions only single out middle-income people more. They are still regressive when middle income people are compared with affluent people.  Sales taxes also destroy commerce, and they give established businesses an artificial competitive advantage over start-ups.

"Sin" Taxes

Taxes on tobacco, alchohol, gambling, etc., mostly fall on people who are sinning against themselves, while the "good" taxes tend to fall on those sinning against society. While one could justify a tax on tobacco to fund lung cancer treatment or lung cancer research, using such taxes for general revenue is just taking advantage of the unfortunate. It is not even clear that these taxes discourage self-destructive behavior.

Tariffs and Excise Taxes

These taxes tend to benefit favored interest groups rather than benefit the public interest. A $1,000 tax on a foreign car allows the maker of an American car to charge $1,000 more. The better way to protect American jobs is to replace income taxes (particularly on workers) with the good taxes listed at the top of this page.

Earned Income and Payroll Taxes

These are the worst possible income taxes, collecting nothing from the return to privilege and everything from hard earned labor. They are usually levied at the state and local level because it is more difficult for ordinary workers to move to avoid taxes.

Deed Transfer Taxes

There is a mistaken belief that deed transfer taxes inhibit land speculation. However, the most destructive element of land speculation is in holding land out of use. Deed transfer taxes fall on those who let go of land so it can be used. Especially where there are adequate land value or real property taxes, deed transfer taxes slow the transfer of land from non-users to users.

Per Capita Taxes

The idea that each person (or each working person) should pay a fixed amount of taxes without regard to wealth or income is obscene.
: Is it "class envy" to denounce the Queen of England's "estate"-generated income?
: Geolibertarian July 09, 2013, 10:11:41 AM
http://www.progress.org/2013/queeneng.htm (http://www.progress.org/2013/queeneng.htm)

(http://www.progress.org/prgifs/tpr2006a.jpg)

What Labor Does She Perform to Deserve This?
(http://www.progress.org/prgifs/rule02.gif)

Queen's Income Set to Rise for Second Year Running

The Crown Estate owns lots of the UK. Why not own it all? And pay dividends to
not just one person but to everybody? This 2013 excerpt is from the BBC, June 6.


by the BBC

The Queen will receive a 5% rise in her income after the Crown Estate, from which she is paid, reported an increase in its profits.

The Sovereign Grant, which funds the Queen's spending as Head of State, will rise in 2014 from £36.1m to £37.89m.

The grant is calculated as a percentage of profits from the Crown Estate, which includes properties such as Windsor Park and covers most UK coastline, much of it is leased out to third parties.

Aside from the Queen's income, the profit goes to the Treasury to help with the nation's finances.

The value of Crown Estate's property portfolio is now £8.1bn, exceeding £8bn for the first time.

While Crown Estate runs the properties owned by the Crown, it does not own the private property of the Queen.

The Crown Estate's urban portfolio, which includes large parts of London's West End, brought in a total return of 10.6% on assets that are now worth £5.9bn.

Outside of London, the Crown Estate owns 15 retail parks in various towns and cities, including Liverpool, Swansea, Slough and Nottingham.

It also owns shopping centres in Worcester, Oxford and Exeter as well as offices in Birmingham, Manchester and Cambridge.

Because it owns and manages the seabed around the UK out to the 12-mile limit, the Crown Estate is heavily involved in offshore wind farms, where it saw an extra 1GW of power come on stream, with around 300 new turbines erected offshore.

The Crown Estate also made £13.1m from cables and pipelines that cross its land.

It holds around 144,000 hectares (356,000 acres) of the country's agricultural land and forests, as well as residential and commercial property outside urban areas.

To read more (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23065599)

JJS: Our phrase “real estate” comes from “regal estate”, in turn from “royal estate”, which means “the king’s landed property”. It's why returns to owners of resources are called "royalties". So if royalty -- now days government -- does own all land legally and individual owners just have titles granted to them for portions of the country, why not acknowledge the fact?

Government could recover the rents for all lands and resources and airwaves, etc ("royalties"). Seem farfetched? The British press does call for collecting land values, as in this New Statesman article (http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/06/will-anyone-break-tax-taboo) of June 20: "Will anyone break the tax taboo?" By collecting the money it should collect, government could quit collecting the money it should not ever touch. It’d abolish all its taxes upon things that are not nature, such as our earnings, purchases, and buildings.

After covering a few operating expenses, government could disburse the rest of the recovered revenue not just to the head of state or today’s actual rulers -- the 1% -- but to everyone as a Citizens Dividend (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=161315.msg958487#msg958487). No more economic injustice! Material security for all! To live better than bare comfort, that’s why one would work for wages and invest savings sagely. But as a society, we’d all benefit from land equally.
: Rent 'unaffordable' for low-income families in third of UK
: Geolibertarian July 15, 2013, 05:56:40 AM
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23273448 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23273448)

Rent 'unaffordable' for low-income families in third of UK

Mark Easton
BBC News
July 15, 2013

(http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/68731000/jpg/_68731320_co3qou3d.jpg)

A third of Britain is effectively off-limits to lower-income working families because private rents are unaffordable, a new report claims.

The report comes from the Resolution Foundation (http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/home-truths-how-affordable-housing-britains-ordina/), which campaigns on behalf of low to middle-income families.

It says most of southern England is now beyond the reach of less affluent households.

The housing minister said the report was "factually flawed" and failed to take housing benefit into account.

With social housing usually unavailable and home ownership unaffordable for many first-time buyers, renting privately is often the only option for households on lower incomes.

A BBC housing calculator (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23234033) also identifies how renting a modest two-bedroom home for less than £700 a month is almost impossible in London and much of the South East. Modest is defined as having a rent below 75% of similar properties in the area.

The Home Truths report (http://www.resolutionfoundation.org/publications/home-truths-how-affordable-housing-britains-ordina/) identifies local authorities that are "affordable" for a couple with a child requiring a two-bedroom property on a household income of £22,000 a year. Affordable is defined as a rent that is no more than 35% of net household income.

On that basis, 125 of 376 local authorities in Britain (33%) are unaffordable for less-affluent working families.

"The private rented sector is now, in large parts of the country, the most expensive form of housing," says Vidhya Alakeson, of the Resolution Foundation.

"It is also the only option for most low to middle-income households, many of whom are faced with the unenviable choice of forgoing other essentials in order to pay for housing or living in overcrowded conditions to reduce their housing costs."

[Continued... (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-23273448)]

------------------------------

http://kaalvtn.blogspot.co.uk/p/index.html (http://kaalvtn.blogspot.co.uk/p/index.html)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) (Ricardo's Law ~ The Great Tax Clawback Scam)

http://savingcommunities.org/docs/churchill.winston/landandincometaxes.html (http://savingcommunities.org/docs/churchill.winston/landandincometaxes.html)
: Gentrification
: Geolibertarian July 28, 2013, 02:12:52 PM
http://www.progress.org/fold149.htm (http://www.progress.org/fold149.htm)

(http://www.progress.org/prgifs/prosub.gif)

Fred Foldvary's Editorial

Gentrification


by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor

The "gentry" in Great Britain are the class of people with property and high social standing just below the nobility. From that we get the term to "gentrify" meaning to change a run-down area of a city into an improved state by repairing and remodeling the houses and yards. As more affluent people move in, rents rise and the poor folk get evicted.

Some social activists decry and deplore this squeeze on the poor, so they advocate limits on gentrification. But if demand for sites in an area is growing, the economic pressure is for the rent to rise. Policy then typically responds with measures to treat the effects: rent control, living wage, subsidies to tenants. Rent control fails to distinguish the rent of land (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm) from the rental return to investments in capital goods such as the building, furniture, and maintenance, and buildings often deteriorate, making the slum worse.

The reason this is happening is because policy distorts incomes and incentives. Worker wages are artificially depressed by taxes on their income  (http://www.progress.org/fold243.htm) and sales (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=248208.msg1432244#msg1432244), while land values are pumped up by spending on civic works not paid for by the landowners. The incentive in a growing economy is to obtain real estate, improve it, and sell it later at a vastly higher price. Such improvements would be socially good in a pure market, but today much of the speculative gain is instead caused by government works that increase the rent.

The effective remedy is to fundamentally change the policy. Shift public revenue sources from wages (http://www.progress.org/2003/fold315.htm) to land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm), excluding the rental return to improvements. That would raise wages and at the same time lower land costs, making it more affordable (http://www.progress.org/archive/housing4.htm) for lower- income people to rent or own housing, without subsidies. Then gentrification would be good for all, since it improves housing as well as the character of a neighborhood. Gentrification would take place as housing for current use, not for speculative gains due to infrastructure paid for by taxes on labor.

So long as this shift does not take place, should gentrification be stifled? As a general rule, when in doubt, do not intervene. Leave the market alone, even if it is distorted by intervention. If policy must help the poor, the best way to do it is with direct subsidies rather than with controls and limits on what residents and enterprises want to do.

The problem with any aid to the poor is that the landlords might soak much of it up. That's the theory of all-devouring rent. Winston Churchill (http://savingcommunities.org/docs/churchill.winston/landandincometaxes.html) told the history of what happened in London when a bridge toll was eliminated. Poor workers were crossing the bridge to go to work. The city council wanted to help the poor by eliminating the toll. But soon, the rents the poor had to pay went up by the amount the toll was reduced. The whole benefit went to the landlords.

So subsidies to the poor to enable them to pay rent may just increase the rent some more, leaving them little better off. Limits on gentrification may have the same result - it decreases the supply of new housing, and rents rise because the increasing demand hits an artificially limited supply of housing.

There is just no getting around that any bandaid policy will be ineffective when the underlying problem is the upside down fiscal policy of taking the bread from the mouth of the worker in order to subsidize the gains to the landlord. Policy will be dysfunctional until it confronts the reality of the wage and rent relationship. Wages go down and rents go up as production moves to less productive areas, as it ever must.

Only by using the land rent for public revenue can the problem of poverty be remedied. That's what the economist and social reformer Henry George discovered over 100 years ago, written up in his work Progress and Poverty. Powerful economic forces keep this remedy from taking place and even from public dialogue and even worse from being adequately explained in conventional economic texts (see the book The Corruption of Economics (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?action=show_detail&crn=84&rn=361)).

Only when the public becomes aware of the rent/wages economic relationship will there be mass pressure to change the system. Then gentrification will be recognized as a blessing to all rather than a curse to the poor and a problem for policy.
: Re: Gentrification
: Geolibertarian July 28, 2013, 02:20:45 PM
http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-nations-gentrified-neighborhoods-threatened,2419/?ref=auto (http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-nations-gentrified-neighborhoods-threatened,2419/?ref=auto)

Report: Nation's Gentrified Neighborhoods Threatened By Aristocratization

The Onion
Mar 31, 2008

WASHINGTON—According to a report released Tuesday by the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank, the recent influx of exceedingly affluent powder-wigged aristocrats into the nation's gentrified urban areas is pushing out young white professionals, some of whom have lived in these neighborhoods for as many as seven years.

(http://media.theonion.com/images/articles/article/2419/Report-Nations-R_jpg_250x1000_q85.jpg)
Multibillion-dollar castles like this one have
been popping up all over Brooklyn.


Maureen Kennedy, a housing policy expert and lead author of the report, said that the enormous treasure-based wealth of the aristocracy makes it impossible for those living on modest trust funds to hold onto their co-ops and converted factory loft spaces.

"When you have a bejeweled, buckle-shoed duke willing to pay 11 or 12 times the asking price for a block of renovated brownstones—and usually up front with satchels of solid gold guineas—hardworking white-collar people who only make a few hundred thousand dollars a year simply cannot compete," Kennedy said. "If this trend continues, these exclusive, vibrant communities with their sidewalk cafés and faux dive bars will soon be a thing of the past."

According to Kennedy, one of the most pressing concerns associated with rapid aristocratization is the drastic transformation of the metropolitan landscape in a way that fails to maximize livable space.

(http://media.theonion.com/images/articles/article/2419/Report-Nations-Jump-R_jpg_250x1000_q85.jpg)
Incoming aristocrats are easily spotted by
their distinctive dress and taste for chamber
music.


"A three-block section of [Chicago neighborhood] Wicker Park that once accommodated eight families, two vintage clothing stores, a French cleaners, and a gourmet bakery has been completely razed to make way for a private livery stable and carriage house," Kennedy said. "The space is now entirely unusable for affordable upper-income condominium housing. No one can live there except for the odd stable boy or footman who gets permission to sleep in the hayloft."

Many of those affected by the ostentatious reshaping of their once purely upmarket neighborhoods said that they often wish for a return back to the privileged communities they helped to overdevelop just a few years ago. Among the first to feel the effects of the encroaching aristocracy have been local business owners like Fort Greene, Brooklyn resident Neil Getz.

"Around here, you used to be able to get a Fair-Trade latte and a chocolate-chip croissant for only eight bucks," said Getz, who is planning to move back in with his parents after being forced out of the lease on his organic grocery store by a harpsichord purveyor. "Now it's all tearooms and private salon gatherings catered with champagne and suckling pig. Who can afford that?"

"It's just a terrible shame," Getz continued. "There was this great little shop right across the street from my duplex apartment where I bought my baby daughter a Ramones onesie a couple of years ago, just after she was born. That whole block is an opera house now."

The aristocracy has adamantly dismissed claims that the sweeping changes are detrimental to the merely wealthy who have been displaced, and many persons of noble blood have pointed to aristocratization's benefits. These include lower crime rates attributed to new punishments, such as public floggings and the pillory, which are primarily meted out for maintaining direct eye contact with members of the highest class.

"These accusations are pure, slanderous rubbish," said Lord Nathan Dunkirk III, the owner of a prodigious manor house that, along with its steeplechase course and topiary garden, sits on what was once the Haight-Ashbury district of San Francisco. "If anything, the layabouts and wastrels have been afforded a veritable glut of new and felicitous opportunities as bootblacks and scullery maids."

Other aristocrats have echoed Dunkirk and have additionally deflected blame onto regification, a process by which they say they were priced out of their vast rural holdings by kings who wished to consolidate property and develop monumental palatial estates.
: Casino Capitalism
: Geolibertarian July 30, 2013, 09:06:52 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmsyoWCsxRY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmsyoWCsxRY) (Treason Part 1: Casino Capitalism)
: Can an LVT Save Us?
: Geolibertarian July 30, 2013, 01:23:49 PM
http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/07/can-an-lvt-save-us/ (http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/07/can-an-lvt-save-us/)

Can an LVT Save Us?

by Dr. Stuart Bramhall
Dissident Voice
July 27th, 2013

The Land Value Tax (LVT) is a “radical” form of taxation first proposed by Henry George in his 1879 Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html) (see What If Marx Got it Wrong? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/07/what-if-marx-got-it-wrong/)). What George proposes is to replace taxes on wages, purchases, and investments with a tax on unimproved land and natural resources. Fred Harrison’s The Traumatised Society: How to Outlaw Cheating and Save Our Civilisation (http://www.powells.com/partner/36683/biblio/0856832871?p_isbn) (Shepheard-Wallwyn Limited, 2012) provides an exhaustive update of George’s original work.

As Winston Churchill (http://savingcommunities.org/docs/churchill.winston/landandincometaxes.html) famously observed, “History is written by the victors.” Nearly all history books written in the last 400 years were written by or on behalf of the ruling elite. The Traumatised Society is unique in that it recounts the history of the industrial revolution from the perspective of the 99%. Harrison also presents a simple, but elegant prescription for taking back power from the corporate oligarchy, ending economic inequality and the debt crisis, staving off ecological disaster, and preventing World War III. On the surface these claims appear extravagant and somewhat grandiose. Yet, in my view, Harrison makes his case very convincingly.

Adam Smith (http://deoxy.org/korten_betrayal.htm) was the first prominent economist to propose the LVT as the most “moral” and least economically harmful tax in his classic Wealth of Nations. Neoconservative icon Milton Friedman also considered it the “least bad” kind of tax. The most famous contemporary Georgist is former World Bank Economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz.

Basically the argument for an LVT goes as follows: because publicly funded infrastructure increases land values, this added value should return to the public. It shouldn’t return to the landowner, who has done nothing more than sit on his land. An LVT provides a valuable source of public revenue. It eliminates the need for governments to borrow from private banks without depleting the total wealth of the landowner.

Economies and personal freedom flourish wherever an LVT has been implemented. As Harrison reminds us, the economic surge known as the Asian Tiger didn’t start in China, but in Taiwan and Hong Kong – as a direct result of LVT-based economies. Moreover unlike China, economic growth in both Taiwan and Hong Kong has proved genuine and sustainable. In 2011, the per capita GDP of China was $8,400, while that of Taiwan was $37,900.

The Trauma of Cultural Genocide

The title The Traumatised Society is based on a severe dislocation Europeans experienced during the eighteenth century, a process remarkably similar to that of African slaves and indigenous people oppressed by colonization. The cause of this dislocation was The Enclosure Acts, a series of laws that drove our peasant ancestors off the communal farm lands that had supported them for a thousand years and fenced it to off as private property. In England alone, 160,000 freehold farmers were thrown off their land between 1700 and 1812. In addition to being stripped of their livelihood, our ancestors also experienced “cultural genocide,” as they lost a thousand years of cultural tradition linked to communal land ownership. This process is vividly described in the poems of 18th century poet John Clare, whose parents ended up in the poor house (i.e. jail) after being thrown off their land. Clare’s work was suppressed until the late 19th century, when the work of American journalist Henry George revived the British land reform movement.

The end result of this massive dislocation has been slavery, debt, alienation, depression, poverty (which was virtually non-existent prior to the Industrial Revolution), murder, rape, child abuse and alcohol and drug addiction. Counselors and therapists who work with African American and indigenous communities are very much aware of the trauma, which is passed from generation to generation, that results from severe economic dislocation and cultural genocide. Ironically, however, Europeans have no historical memory that we have been subjected to the same kind of trauma.

According to Harrison, the “moral evolution” of the human race ceased in the 1700s. This is when an authentic human culture of cooperation and interdependence was replaced with an artificial “cheating culture,” in which the highest ideal is to get something for nothing. The modern, free market version of Christianity is part and parcel of this phony culture – as is Marxism. Harrison feels Marx did us a great disservice by demonizing capitalism (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=192293.msg1235289#msg1235289). The capitalistic funding model in itself isn’t the primary source of our major economic and social problems.

The Concept of Economic Rents

(http://dissidentvoice.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/traumatizedsociety_DV.jpg)

The Traumatised Society is written in classical economic language, in which “rent” refers to unearned income from the monopolization of land, natural resources, or the cultural commons (e.g. the public airwaves and money). Economic rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm) includes unearned profit gained from selling land that has increased in value (often due to land speculation (http://www.progress.org/fold43.htm)). A “rent-seeker (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html)” is someone who derives unearned income from monopolization of these resources.

For most of human history land and resources were owned communally and any “rent” or unearned income went to finance public services. Beginning in the 18th century, this all changed. When “rent-seekers” privatized land and natural resources, they also captured control of government and shifted the burden of funding public services to workers. In this way modern capitalist society came to be divided into two classes, the Predators or rent-seekers, and the Producers, who engage in work to create economic wealth.

The Link Between Rent-Seeking, War, and Revolution

As more and more wealth is extracted from Producers, both as “rents” and as taxes, there is less and less money available to maintain public infrastructure. Eventually the number of Producers becomes inadequate to support the Predator rent-seeking class. At this point, the latter seeks to remedy the problem by conquering new lands and colonizing new populations, by using fossil fuel technology to increase productivity, by borrowing and extracting wealth from future generations, and/or by capital depletion (liquidating assets created by past production – like Greece).

Harrison believes competition between Western and Asian rent-seekers is bringing us ever closer to World War III. In his view, the best way to prevent war is to eliminate debt, reduce income inequality, and restore growth through widespread adoption of an LVT. He gives several historical examples of rulers who could have averted bloody revolutions if they had adopted an LVT. Shortly before the French Revolution, Louis XVI’s minister of finance strongly advised him to implement an LVT. Tolstoy gave Czar Nicholas II similar advice on the eve of the Russian revolution.

Britain’s Experience with an LVT

In Britain there have been several attempts to end predatory rent-seeking through the enactment of an LVT. As a result of Henry George’s 1879 international bestseller Progress and Poverty, Winston Churchill (still a liberal in 1909) became one of the most vocal proponents of the People’s Budget. The law, passed by the British parliament in 1909, sought to shift the burden of taxation from wages to land. It was never implemented because the British aristocracy went to court to block the land valuation required to assess the tax. In 1931 Parliament passed a revised version of the People’s Budget, which Chancellor of the Exchequer Neville Chamberlain simply deleted it from the law book in 1934. If the LVT had been fully implemented, Britain would have been spared the worst effects of the Great Depression.

How an LVT Might Have Altered the Course of History

Harrison moves on to explore how an LVT might have alleviated severe economic and political turmoil in other countries:

*  Ireland – rent seekers “sucked: out all the wealth of Ireland for 200 years, a process that didn’t end with independence. Ireland’s “Celtic Tiger” could have been sustainable if it had been funded by a LVT rather than debt. The result was a debt/real estate bubble that left the country even worse off when the bubble burst in 2008. In 2010, Harrison advocated for Ireland to pay off its debt by implementing a LVT. This would have provided the revenue the Irish government needed to stimulate growth. Instead the IMF bailout and austerity cuts has deeply suppressed growth.

*  China – made a fatal error by failing to implement an LVT when they began to privatize collectively owned land in the 1980s. China is currently facing slowing growth, thanks to a $1.7 trillion debt incurred by their city and provincial governments. While the central government was building up massive cash reserves by selling cheap exports, they forced regional governments to self-fund their public services. The only way they could do this was by selling land to property developers and by borrowing money.

*  Cuba – made a fatal error on November 11, 2011 when they began selling collectively owned land to rent-seekers, and allowed rents to be capitalized into land prices – instead of taxing them.

*  Russia – Gorbachev envisioned land remaining in public hands as part of Glasnost. After a threatened military coup forced him to step down, Harrison went to Russia trying to persuade Yeltsin to adapt an LVT. Instead Russia’s first president opened the country to the IMF and western rent-seekers. Both sucked out sufficient wealth to set the country’s standard of living back several decades.

*  Africa – South Africa’s current economic difficulties relate to a fatal error they made in 2004. They amended their LVT to add a tax on property improvements but should have done the opposite – increase the LVT and reduce other taxes. Much of the land in the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is still communally owned. Thus there is still great potential for emerging African economies to adopt an LVT. This would allow them to develop debt-free, sustainable economies that don’t leave the majority of the population in abject poverty.

*  The US – suffers from a “constitutional neurosis,” according to Harrison. Supposedly the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were based on the Scottish Enlightenment. Whereas John Locke talked about a universal right to “Life, Liberty and Estate (Land),” our founding fathers changed this to “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” even before the Constitution was written.

The Future of LVT

As Harrison points out, at present rent-seekers are extremely powerful and have absolute control over government, media, and public education. Nevertheless as countries in the Middle East, North Africa and Latin America escape US military control, it’s imperative they have an avenue to escape the economic control of local and international rent-seekers. By adopting an LVT, they guarantee themselves sufficient income to provide government and public services – without falling into the predatory clutches of international bankers and the IMF.

In his 2011 book Re-Solving the Economic Puzzle (http://www.powells.com/partner/36683/biblio/0856832812?p_isbn), Walter Rybeck relates how the US contemplated LVT enabling legislation during the Carter administration. As an assistant to Representative Henry Reuss (D-Milwaukee), Rybeck helped Reuss (as chair of the House, Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee) promote land and resource taxes as a way to address crumbling infrastructure in financially strapped cities and states.

Enter Sarah Palin

According to Rybeck, a number of communities (and one state) have already adopted variations of an LVT. Alaska’s oil/gas tax is the best example of a resource-based LVT. This tax provides 80-90% of Alaska’s general fund, as well as providing annual dividends to residents. As governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin introduced Alaska’s Clear and Equitable Share (ACES), which charges a 25 percent tax rate on oil profits, with the rate increasing progressively as oil prices go up.

Five other states have passed LVT enabling legislation (http://www.alicelaw.org/catalog/1478) -- Connecticut (http://www.alicelaw.org/?f%5Bstate_sms%5D%5B%5D=Connecticut), Maryland (http://www.alicelaw.org/?f%5Bstate_sms%5D%5B%5D=Maryland), New York (http://www.alicelaw.org/?f%5Bstate_sms%5D%5B%5D=New+York), Pennsylvania (http://www.alicelaw.org/?f%5Bstate_sms%5D%5B%5D=Pennsylvania), Virginia (http://www.alicelaw.org/?f%5Bstate_sms%5D%5B%5D=Virginia), Washington (http://www.alicelaw.org/?f%5Bstate_sms%5D%5B%5D=Washington) -- to make it easier for local communities to adopt an LVT.

Other American communities that have already benefited from an LVT include California’s Central Valley, Fairhope in Alabama, Arden in Delaware, and Pittsburgh and other cities in Pennsylvania.
: Study: Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents
: Geolibertarian August 03, 2013, 10:19:38 AM
http://www.infowars.com/study-record-number-21-million-young-adults-living-with-parents/ (http://www.infowars.com/study-record-number-21-million-young-adults-living-with-parents/)

Study: Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents

CBS D.C. (http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/08/02/poll-record-number-21-million-young-adults-living-with-parents/)
August 2, 2013

A record number of young adults are living with their parents.

A new study from Pew Research finds that 36 percent of Millennials – young adults ages 18 to 31 – are living at their parents’ homes, the highest number in four decades. A record 21.6 million young adults were still living at home last year.

“Most of my friends that have graduated end up living back home because even if they have a job they can’t afford to pay rent and pay back their loans at the same time,” Stephanie Levonne, a 20-year-old college student living at home, told CBS News. “I know a lot of people that took out almost half or more of their tuition in loans which is $50,000 so it’s impossible to pay rent and live in New York City while paying off your loan.”

Read More (http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/08/02/poll-record-number-21-million-young-adults-living-with-parents/)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: freedom_commonsense August 09, 2013, 06:30:00 AM
Not a surprise. Most are unemployed or work burger flipping jobs. Paying obscene, ever-inflating rents with that is impossible. The UK government is trying to throw a large voter base (the elderly) a bone by maintaining their welfare at high levels, while cutting it for the rest of the population.
: Introducing the Land Value Tax
: Geolibertarian August 17, 2013, 05:32:44 AM
Although merely an "introduction," the following is nevertheless an important tool in raising mass awareness of the Georgist alternative (http://www.henrygeorge.org/isms.htm) to the ridiculously false Austrian (http://recoveringaustrians.wordpress.com/top-ten-austrian-economic-lies-and-mistakes/)-vs.-Keynesian (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_economic-consequences-of-john-maynard-keynes-1983.html)-vs.-Marxist (http://archive.org/stream/democracyversus00hirsgoog#page/n8/mode/2up) paradigm...

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTxyNQ0ea-k (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTxyNQ0ea-k) (Introducing the Land Value Tax)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: jerryweaver August 18, 2013, 12:32:47 AM
Thanks goes out to all the lying real estate speculators and realtors. And investors in the mortgage backed securities investors who drove the cost of housing through the roof. Rot in Hell.

(http://i748.photobucket.com/albums/xx128/jerrywork4u/0524be26-9721-445e-adb6-c274a8f2e0f4_zps920318da.jpg)

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to achieving socially just public policy that assures people with the lowest incomes in the United States have affordable and decent homes.

Founded in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone.
  
Our goals are to preserve existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expand the supply of low income housing, and establish housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low income housing policy.

NLIHC’s staff teams work together to achieve our advocacy goals. Our Research Team studies trends and analyzes data to create a picture of the need for low income housing across the country. Our Policy Team educates lawmakers about housing need and analyzes and shapes public policy. Our Outreach Team mobilizes members and supporters across the country to advocate for good housing policy. Our Communications Team shapes public opinion of low income housing issues. And our Administration Team works to ensure NLIHC remains a sustainable, high-capacity organization.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian August 22, 2013, 01:34:27 PM
Thanks goes out to all the lying real estate speculators and realtors. And investors in the mortgage backed securities investors who drove the cost of housing through the roof. Rot in Hell.

Here's what's funny. You know what "hell" is for them?

Not lakes of fire and brimstone with pitchfork-wielding demons everywhere. No, no, something much worse: being made to clean toilets for minimum wage while living in a trailer park -- and then, realizing they don't have enough money to live on after paying for rent and utilities, being forced out of desperation to apply for (you guessed it) food stamps.  ;D

"You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people." -- Billy Ray Valentine (Eddie Murphy) in Trading Places (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjDbJQKDXCY)

(http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/Sovp0l5q92Q/hqdefault.jpg)

(http://www.wearysloth.com/Gallery/ActorsB/1288-3729.jpg)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: jerryweaver August 26, 2013, 01:13:23 PM
Wow I went to this today and brought up what GeoLibertarian has been saying about a Georgian land value tax system. Everybody there said AHA!! Great plan.DATE & TIME: Saturday, August 24, 10:00 am to Noon
LOCATION: 600 Nickerson Drive, Centennial Park, Paso Robles
Lawns to Food Demonstration Garden – Covered Picnic Area
Ya, Breaking up the land trust monopolies and forcing people to make the land productive or abandon it is a pretty good idea. Holding land hostage is holding us hostage.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Honor18 August 26, 2013, 01:53:28 PM
I would ask anyone interested to go to you tube today and look at this video ... the title itself will tell you what it concerns but the video explains the inevitable destruction of the US dollar and therefore our way of life Titled

The Crash--Coming Financial Collapse of America 

When you look at the deficit which on "the books" say near 17 trillion id actually way above that when you do the research ...do you think there would ever be a time where America will be able to pay that ? Look at the value of Gold and Silver which has exploded over the last year or so it should tell you that the 1% is buying Gold and Silver now because it has worth to any nation in the world so instead of holding onto the "petro dollar" they are instead buying a tradable commodity that any nation would want and will have value.
     Look at what happened the last time we went through this aka the Great Depression ... I know its before most of our time however there is a lesson to be learned from the cycle that was started there ...
     Look at the NDAA law signed earlier this year .. do you think you are exempt from this law ?
Look at all the exercises going on throughout America concerning Martial Law aka Miami just last week ...Do you think they are doing these exercises here in the US for nothing ?
      Imagine going to sleep and waking up at 7am and finding out that the money you have in retirement or savings is now worth exactly 0 .... where will you get food to feed your family ?
       Could that be what the Fema camps are for ? Is there a reason other than the nut jobs that are killing people in schools for our Gov. to attempt to disarm the American public.
      The only way for us to save this nation is to stand up as the American people together and as one to take back this country from the Greedy corrupt Corporations that have effectively taken our way of life over ..from your everyday way of life to the supposed politicians that we put in office to look out for our way of life ... did you contribute to the 7 billion dollar campaign that just happened  ? No you did not companies like Microsoft and GM and the hundreds of others "corporations" got them elected by supplying them with millions of dollars to influence your vote.
     Twenty years ago this was conspiracy theory today in August 2013 its Reality ....My opinion and take it as you may but Reality is reality and the information is out there waiting on you to find it and use it to our advantage ... Big Government is hoping you ignore it or just do not act on it by repressing you with so may problems in your daily lives and the propaganda on air everyday in the so called media.
     This may seem a rant but its not its a wake up call that needs to be shared with everyone in America in the hope that we can change the balance of power back to the people of the United States
: In New York, Having a Job, or 2, Doesn’t Mean Having a Home
: Geolibertarian October 12, 2013, 10:59:47 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/nyregion/in-new-york-having-a-job-or-2-doesnt-mean-having-a-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/nyregion/in-new-york-having-a-job-or-2-doesnt-mean-having-a-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

In New York, Having a Job, or 2, Doesn’t Mean Having a Home

By MIREYA NAVARRO
The New York Times
September 17, 2013

On many days, Alpha Manzueta gets off from one job at 7 a.m., only to start her second at noon. In between she goes to a place she’s called home for the last three years — a homeless shelter.

“I feel stuck,” said Ms. Manzueta, 37, who has a 2 ½-year-old daughter and who, on a recent Wednesday, looked crisp in her security guard uniform, waving traffic away from the curb at Kennedy International Airport. “You try, you try and you try and you’re getting nowhere. I’m still in the shelter.”

With New York City’s homeless population in shelters at a record high of 50,000, a growing number of New Yorkers punch out of work and then sign in to a shelter, city officials and advocates for the homeless say. More than one out of four families in shelters, 28 percent, include at least one employed adult, city figures show, and 16 percent of single adults in shelters hold jobs.

Mostly female, they are engaged in a variety of low-wage jobs as security guards, bank tellers, sales clerks, computer instructors, home health aides and office support staff members. At work they present an image of adult responsibility, while in the shelter they must obey curfews and show evidence that they are actively looking for housing and saving part of their paycheck.

Advocates of affordable housing say that the employed homeless are proof of the widening gap between wages and rents — which rose in the city even during the latest recession — and, given the shortage of subsidized housing, of just how difficult it is to escape the shelter system, even for people with jobs.

“A one-bedroom in East New York or the South Bronx is still $1,000 a month,” said Patrick Markee, senior policy analyst with the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy and housing services group. “The jobs aren’t enough to get people out of homelessness.”

[Continued... (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/nyregion/in-new-york-having-a-job-or-2-doesnt-mean-having-a-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian October 12, 2013, 05:48:39 PM
(http://riversong.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/agrarian-justice.gif) (http://geolib.com/essays/paine.tom/agjst.html)
: Re: In New York, Having a Job, or 2, Doesn’t Mean Having a Home
: Geolibertarian October 16, 2013, 12:15:48 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/nyregion/in-new-york-having-a-job-or-2-doesnt-mean-having-a-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/18/nyregion/in-new-york-having-a-job-or-2-doesnt-mean-having-a-home.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

http://www.theonion.com/articles/bloodsoaked-mayor-bloomberg-announces-homelessness,34224/?ref=auto (http://www.theonion.com/articles/bloodsoaked-mayor-bloomberg-announces-homelessness,34224/?ref=auto)

Blood-Soaked Mayor Bloomberg Announces Homelessness No Longer A Problem In New York City

The Onion
October 15, 2013

NEW YORK—Drenched in drying blood and limping slightly, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg triumphantly stated this morning that the city’s longstanding homeless problem had finally been solved. “Homelessness is over—it’s not a problem anymore,” a winded Bloomberg said to a City Hall press conference while gripping the lectern tightly to prevent his hands from shaking. “I fixed the problem. Problem solved.” When asked by reporters if permanent housing had been provided for the city’s 50,000 homeless, Bloomberg assured them the new lodgings were quite permanent.
: London rents are so high it is now cheaper to live in BARCELONA and commute in
: Geolibertarian October 28, 2013, 08:04:47 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477291/London-rents-high-cheaper-live-BARCELONA-commute-heres-.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477291/London-rents-high-cheaper-live-BARCELONA-commute-heres-.html)

London rents are so high it is now cheaper to live in BARCELONA and commute in (and here’s how…)

*  Sam Cookney did the sums after becoming sick of rent prices in London
*  He found it would be cheaper live in Spain and fly to his job in the City
*  A four day commute from Europe worked out at £339 per-month cheaper


By AARON SHARP
The Daily Mail
October 26, 2013

Rent in London is so high that one young professional has worked out it would be cheaper live in Barcelona and fly to work.

Social Media manager Sam Cookney, 30, wanted a less expensive way of travelling to his office near Liverpool Street station.

What he found was an unlikely solution: it would be more cost effective to relocate to the sun-kissed coast of north east Spain, more than 700 miles away.

[Continued... (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477291/London-rents-high-cheaper-live-BARCELONA-commute-heres-.html)]
: Re: London rents are so high it is now cheaper to live in BARCELONA and commute in
: EvadingGrid October 29, 2013, 12:00:13 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477291/London-rents-high-cheaper-live-BARCELONA-commute-heres-.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477291/London-rents-high-cheaper-live-BARCELONA-commute-heres-.html)

London rents are so high it is now cheaper to live in BARCELONA and commute in (and here’s how…)

*  Sam Cookney did the sums after becoming sick of rent prices in London
*  He found it would be cheaper live in Spain and fly to his job in the City
*  A four day commute from Europe worked out at £339 per-month cheaper


By AARON SHARP
The Daily Mail
October 26, 2013

Rent in London is so high that one young professional has worked out it would be cheaper live in Barcelona and fly to work.

Social Media manager Sam Cookney, 30, wanted a less expensive way of travelling to his office near Liverpool Street station.

What he found was an unlikely solution: it would be more cost effective to relocate to the sun-kissed coast of north east Spain, more than 700 miles away.

[Continued... (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2477291/London-rents-high-cheaper-live-BARCELONA-commute-heres-.html)]

I'm giving that one some thought.....

I wonder how the other typical costs compare, such as Electric.
: Wall St slumlords’ outrageous new scheme: How they could wreck the economy again
: Geolibertarian November 08, 2013, 05:01:02 PM
This is what inevitably happens when you let either Keynesians (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_economic-consequences-of-john-maynard-keynes-1983.html) or Austrians (http://recoveringaustrians.wordpress.com/top-ten-austrian-economic-lies-and-mistakes/) institute and impose an anti-Georgist tax system -- a system whereby publicly-generated land rent (http://www.progress.org/fold221.htm) is left mostly if not entirely untaxed, thereby forcing governments to rely instead upon the privately-created values of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/09/01/foldvary-make-labor-day-real-untax-wages/) and capital goods (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) as the primary source of public revenue...

-------------------------------

Wall Street slumlords’ outrageous new scheme: How they could wreck the economy again

Remember mortgage-backed securities and the financial crisis they caused? This latest gambit will put you in shock

David Dayen
SALON
Nov. 6, 2013

(http://media.salon.com/2013/11/dimon_for_rent-620x412.jpg)

You’d think that investors would run away from a new Wall Street innovation as fast as Congress runs away from a good idea. But instead, they’re flocking to the latest product peddled by large banking interests, even though they look almost exactly like the mortgage-backed securities that were a primary driver of the financial crisis. These new securities, backed by rental payments, also have real-world implications for millions of renters, who could end up turning in their monthly checks to Wall Street-based absentee slumlords.

Over the past couple of years, private equity firms and hedge funds have bought up over 200,000 single-family homes, mostly discounted foreclosed properties in communities wrecked by the housing crash, such as Phoenix, Atlanta, Tampa, Sacramento, Los Angeles and Riverside, Calif. They have spent billions to scoop up these vacant homes at fire-sale prices, renovate them, and rent them out, promising investors double-digit annual returns on the rental revenue. Private equity firms like Blackstone, which owns more than 40,000 single-family homes, think they can build an entirely new asset class out of this scheme, controlling the rental market for single-family homes. The irony is rich: Wall Street created the conditions for millions of foreclosures, then they sweep in to buy up the homes and rent them out, often to the same people they kicked onto the street.

In order for this to work, firms need cash to outbid the competition. So Blackstone teamed with Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan Chase to put together the first-ever rental revenue bond, named “Invitation Homes 2013-SFR1.” Basically, Blackstone took out mortgages with the banks on 3,207 of its rental properties, in exchange for $479 million in cash, and they will forward rental payments to the bondholders to pay back the loan.

[Continued... (http://www.salon.com/2013/11/06/wall_street_slumlords_outrageous_new_scheme_how_they_could_wreck_economy_again/)]

-------------------------------

^^  Have you heard either Wall Street Democrats OR "Tea Party" Republicans pledging to sponsor legislation to put a stop to this rent-seeking (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html) operation?

If so, what?

If not, why do you suppose that is? Aren't those two political groups supposed to be "opposites"?
: Faile Street: The Human Cost of Foreclosure
: Geolibertarian November 19, 2013, 10:00:21 AM
Yet another illustration of what happens as an inevitable consequence of an anti-Georgist tax system...

     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QwtOF8Lwqk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1QwtOF8Lwqk) (Faile Street: The Human Cost of Foreclosure)
: Are You a Real Libertarian or a ROYAL Libertarian?
: Geolibertarian November 20, 2013, 02:43:30 PM
http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html (http://geolib.com/essays/sullivan.dan/royallib.html)

Are you a Real Libertarian, or a
ROYAL
Libertarian?

"Queen Elizabeth II, head of state of the United Kingdom and of 31 other states and territories, is the legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface.

"She is the only person on earth who owns whole countries, and who owns countries that are not her own domestic territory. This land ownership is separate from her role as head of state and is different from other monarchies where no such claim is made – Norway, Belgium, Denmark etc.

"The value of her land holding. £17,600,000,000,000 (approx)."

-- http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/ (http://www.whoownstheworld.com/about-the-book/largest-landowner/)


              Pyramid of Royal Libertarian System
(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1407/1148344537_335590718b.jpg)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDMenqKCXdw (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDMenqKCXdw) (THE CORPORATION [10/23] Boundary Issues)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CdyezX3T08 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CdyezX3T08) (Webster Tarpley & Alex Jones: Royals and Obama)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) (Ricardo's Law ~ The Great Tax Clawback Scam)


Are you starting to make the connection yet?
: End the 1 percent’s free ride: Taxing land would solve America’s biggest problem
: Geolibertarian November 23, 2013, 03:37:57 AM
End the 1 percent’s free ride: Taxing land would solve America’s biggest problems

Want a real overhaul of the tax code? Here's an elegant way to reduce inequality and mitigate poverty -- in one tax

Jesse Myerson
SALON
November 22, 2013

(http://media.salon.com/2013/03/trump_romney_blankfein-620x412.jpg)

Appealing to the overwhelming majority of Americans who believe the tax code is so complex that it needs “major changes or a complete overhaul (http://taxfoundation.org/article/what-does-america-think-about-taxes-2007-annual-survey-us-attitudes-taxes-and-wealth),” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich., have adorably started a joint Twitter handle: @simplertaxes (https://twitter.com/simplertaxes). The bipartisan love fest is no doubt a heartfelt effort, but not very convincing from men who acquired the fancy titles by opening and maintaining loopholes for the ownership class. Baucus’ hot-off-the-presses tax reform proposals (http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/max-baucus-tax-debate-with-draft-proposals-100103.html) predictably simplify the code very little.

At present, neither party advocates the tax code so elegant it can reduce inequality, mitigate poverty, stimulate productivity, prevent asset price bubbles, stem community-shredding gentrification and drain the distended Wall Street cabal of its ill-gotten gains – in just one tax.

Land value. If we want a real overhaul/simplification of the tax code, the way to do it is to tax land value. It might be the only tax we need. No sales tax. No income tax. No payroll tax to fill a Social Security trust fund. No corporate income tax that, as we can plainly see, offshores profits. No need to tax labor and industry at all. Just tax the stuff that humans had nothing to do with creating, and therefore have no basis to claim ownership over at all. You’ll find that almost all of it is “owned” by the fabled 1 percent.

And boy are they sucking a lot of money out of it. By far the most valuable asset form in the U.S. is real estate, and the majority of that is the value of the land, as distinct from the value of the human-made buildings. Economist Michael Hudson has assessed that the land value of New York City alone exceeds that of all of the plant and equipment in the entire country, combined. No one put any enterprise or cost into producing the land’s value – they simply bought it when it was cheap, sold it when it was dear, and waited for the check. “They” are the Finance, Insurance and Real Estate (FIRE (http://michael-hudson.com/2013/09/f-is-for-fire-sector/)) sector, and they capture 40 percent of the United States’ profits, despite the complete passivity of their profit-accumulation method.

Not only would a land value tax (LVT) drastically shrink that Wall Street bloat, it would have prevented the housing bubble in the first place. Land, after all, was the speculative commodity at play, not the houses themselves, which, as “Arrested Development” incisively suggested, were a bunch of crap. With an LVT, the cookie-cutter McMansions in suburban housing developments would only be worth the cost of their cheap paneling, artificial marble and the rest of it. Without one, they were wrongly assessed as being worth the value of the land they stood upon, which speculators bid up and up and up.

An LVT would stimulate urban property development without incurring the socially catastrophic ethnic displacement pattern we call “gentrification.” As that noted far-left rag the Economist notes (http://www.economist.com/news/finance-and-economics/21580130-governments-should-make-more-use-property-taxes-levying-land), “Property developers … would be less inclined to hoard undeveloped land if they had to pay an annual levy on it.” Despite this, the new developments wouldn’t push rents up throughout the rest of the neighborhood, because the increased land value would be taxed. The rest of the apartment buildings in the area didn’t get any nicer. So why should they cost more? Urban land, scarce by definition, is very valuable. There is no reason to let a small group of rich landlords extract its value, when what created the value are parks, subways, local restaurants and other things the landlords didn’t provide.

[Continued... (http://www.salon.com/2013/11/22/end_the_1_percents_free_ride_how_taxing_land_would_solve_americas_biggest_problems/)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: EvadingGrid November 23, 2013, 06:51:49 AM
I really do understand, as our archery field and the football and cricket pitches have been sold off to large developers in what they call "Land Banking" deal. It stinks of corruption, as none of the residents want, what is a historic village dating back to the Doomsday Book being turned into a large urban blob.

However being honest, because the politicians are so, so corrupt, it would soon turn into a tax the poor, and loopholes for the rich. Property Developers would get immunity, but small family builders would be penalized. The endless lies and bribery would continue unabated. Politicians and Officials use laws drafted to protect the people as a means of extorting bigger bribes.

Which brings me to conclude, that there are many, many, remedies, but until we stop voting for lesser evils, and demand a fair just and honest governance, by the people for the people, we are pretty well stuffed.




Land banking
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_banking


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_banking
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian November 23, 2013, 08:14:04 AM
However being honest, because the politicians are so, so corrupt, it would soon turn into a tax the poor, and loopholes for the rich.

If you ever get a chance to read the following book, you'll find that that simply isn't the case...

     http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=387&action=show_detail (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=387&action=show_detail)

     (http://www.schalkenbach.org/images/products/387_image.jpg) (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=387&action=show_detail)

Your point obviously applies to the income tax, because even a minimum wage burger-flipper has an "income." But you'd be hard-pressed to find one who owns land. That's why landed aristocrats have always financed politicians who support taxing the value of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/09/01/foldvary-make-labor-day-real-untax-wages/) (whether directly via income tax or indirectly via sales tax) instead of the value of land. Income can be hidden or moved offshore; land cannot.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: EvadingGrid November 23, 2013, 08:47:42 AM
If you ever get a chance to read the following book, you'll find that that simply isn't the case...

     http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=387&action=show_detail (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=387&action=show_detail)

     (http://www.schalkenbach.org/images/products/387_image.jpg) (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=93&rn=387&action=show_detail)

Your point obviously applies to the income tax, because even a minimum wage burger-flipper has an "income." But you'd be hard-pressed to find one who owns land. That's why landed aristocrats have always financed politicians who support taxing the value of labor (http://www.progress.org/2003/09/01/foldvary-make-labor-day-real-untax-wages/) (whether directly via income tax or indirectly via sales tax) instead of the value of land. Income can be hidden or moved offshore; land cannot.

I hear what your saying.

However, the ownership of land can, and is hidden by that pesky 1%. The middle classes, family farmers, and other nice people would stand 0% chance of avoiding a Land Tax.

I confidently predict that large scale property developers, speculating on land and driving the prices up would be exempt. Other nasties would hide the ownership using off shore trusts, bogus charities and all manner of shenanigans to avoid taxes.

The problem as I see it, is not the idea of taxation of land, but the implementation by the politicians.

Consider why income tax does not work, as it crucifies the poor and middle class, yet the elite who in theory should be paying the most walk away scot free.

Its the implementation that terrifies me, because the politicians are so awfully corrupt.

Exemptions would inevitably given to those who own millions of acres of

Forrest, ( to save the planet excuse )
Building Land, ( people need houses excuse )
Etc...

What I am saying is that it does not matter how noble, perfect or pure the idea proposed, that until we eliminate the corrupt politicians and hand power back to the people, all tax legislation ideas are doomed.

 
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian November 23, 2013, 08:53:19 AM
What I am saying is that it does not matter how noble, perfect or pure the idea proposed, that until we eliminate the corrupt politicians and hand power back to the people, all tax legislation ideas are doomed.

You're preaching to the choir, dude, that's why (nearly half a decade ago) I devoted an entire thread to election reform...

     http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=81509.0 (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=81509.0)


8)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: EvadingGrid November 23, 2013, 08:59:17 AM
You're preaching to the choir, dude, that's why (nearly half a decade ago) I devoted an entire thread to election reform...

     http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=81509.0 (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=81509.0)


8)

I know, but there are still a ton of people around here that think that some professional bribe collector is gonna save them....... Seems like every five minutes some naive fool is asking us to support lesser paid shill as the solution or to vote for "sold out son" for president.

: Land value tax – the best of all possible taxes
: Geolibertarian November 29, 2013, 04:15:23 AM
http://moneyweek.com/land-value-tax-best-possible-taxes/ (http://moneyweek.com/land-value-tax-best-possible-taxes/)

Land value tax – the best of all possible taxes

By: Merryn Somerset Webb
MoneyWeek
10/10/2013

What gives a piece of land its value? Why is a 500 square-foot spot in London worth more than 500 acres of land in Angus? The answer is obviously its location.

The value of a bit of land is not in the land itself, but in the location of that land. And what gives the location value is what is going on around it. Think good transport links, good schools (a house in the UK by a good school is worth anything from 5 to 20% more than one near a bad school), hospitals and the infrastructure to provide jobs.

This brings us to the key question: who facilitates the provision of all these services? The answer to that, of course, is the taxpayer, via the state. But if it is the state that gives land some of its value (clearly there is also value in non-state provided things, such as beauty and mineral rights), why is it that all of that value generally accrues to individual landowners, rather than to the state?

That, in a nutshell, is the argument for land or location value tax (LVT).

An LVT is levied not on the value of a property but on the value of the land that property sits on. After all, it is not the actual bricks and mortar that make a flat in, for example, London’s One Hyde Park worth £6m-plus, it is the land on which it sits. So the LVT is just an attempt to collect tax on a regular basis on what economists used to call the ‘unearned betterment’ part of the value of a property – the part that is nothing to do with the actions of the owner and everything to do with the actions of the community.

In theory, it is not just an excellent tax, but the best of all possible taxes.

Once the initial valuations have been done, it is phenomenally easy to collect, and all but impossible to avoid. It also discourages speculation and stops in its tracks the endless cycle of investment in land and property purely to rent it out. It promises no more property boom and bust. But, as it is not collected on any improvements made to land or to buildings on land, it does not discourage productive activity. Instead, it encourages people to bring idle land into use, to improve land they own and to be as productive as possible (when you have a pure LVT, earned income isn’t taxed at all). The end result is, in theory at least, good for society, good for the state, good for equality and good for growth.

Most people these days have never heard of the idea of an LVT, but the idea that it is a perfect tax has been around for centuries. Adam Smith noted its efficiency; David Ricardo was all for it; and it was hugely promoted by the US newspaper editor Henry George in the US in the late 19th century. George believed that LVT should be a single tax – its efficiency and productivity-enhancing effects would be such that all other taxes could and should be done away with.

It was a hobbyhorse of Winston Churchill’s. He was convinced that “land differs from all other sorts of property” and put the LVT case like this: “Unearned increments in land are not the only form of unearned or undeserved profit, but they are the principal form of unearned increment, and they are derived from processes which are not merely not beneficial, but positively detrimental to the general public.”

[Continued... (http://moneyweek.com/land-value-tax-best-possible-taxes/)]
: Rent is 50% of a Nation's Income. Time to Collect it?
: Geolibertarian November 29, 2013, 04:57:43 AM
http://www.opednews.com/articles/Rent-is-50-of-a-Nation-s-by-Fred-Harrison-Money_National-Debt_Reform_Taxes-131124-761.html (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Rent-is-50-of-a-Nation-s-by-Fred-Harrison-Money_National-Debt_Reform_Taxes-131124-761.html)

Rent is 50% of a Nation's Income. Time to Collect it?

By Fred Harrison
OpEdNews.com
11/24/2013

To create a modern society based on freedom we need a financial system built on a clear understanding of the borders between

- what the individual citizen may retain as private property, and

- what must be recognized as the property of society.

The tragedy of the West is that a few people (the feudal aristocracy) privatized the rents that people generated. This created confusion between two pricing mechanisms:

1.    the prices charged in markets for consumer goods, and

2.    the prices charged to fund public services.

By understanding the differences between these two pricing mechanisms, it is possible to make the public and private sectors work together to create maximum welfare for both the individual and society.

But how much rent is produced in the economy? There is no answer to this question in the economic literature, so we have to go back to the beginning to work out the facts.

ATCOR: the Taxing Math

More than 300 years ago, English philosopher John Locke explained in Some Considerations of the Lowering of Interest and the Raising the Value of Money (1691) that it would be "in vain" for a country to lay taxes on anything other than land, for "there at least it will terminate".

- The merchant won't bear taxes, and

- the laborer cannot bear it. So they pass taxes on in higher prices.

But someone must pay: who? Locke was emphatic: taxes ultimately come out of a nation's rents.

- Taxes, when added to wages and profits, reduce what is left: the net income is then paid as rent.

- The reciprocal relationship between rent and the tax burden does not diminish rent; rather, a proportion of total rent is disguised.

Today, Locke's thesis is most thoroughly documented by Mason Gaffney, the American professor. He formulated an acronym for Locke's thesis: ATCOR. All taxes come out of rent.

To calculate a nation's total rents, we must first establish the amount people pay as "taxes".

- In the US in 2013, tax revenue was $5.3tn (GDP: $16.2tn). Using the ATCOR formula, we conclude that, if America was a tax-free zone, this revenue would revert back to rent.

About one-third of US income is converted from rent into "wages" and "profits" through anti-democratic political and bureaucratic channels.

But if revenue collected by government is ultimately out of rent, why argue for the need to collect that revenue directly? One answer: this would raise the productive capacity of the population. Why? Because taxes inflict "deadweight losses (http://www.progress.org/2007/12/03/losses-are-staggering-when-taxes-induce-less-productive-land-use/)" on society.

If rent revenue is collected in a direct way, productivity is raised by a significant margin.

Rents in Private Pockets

The next question is about the proportion of a nation's revenue that is visible as rent. This is rent that is not collected by government. Economists have no idea of how much rent is circulating in the modern economy.

For current practical purposes, the prudent estimate is that rents in private pockets amount to about 20% of national income.

- In the UK, researchers found that rent was 22% of national income in 1985, rising to 29% in 1989. But 1989 was a peak year in the property cycle, just before the recession of 1992. Allowing for the distortions caused by land speculation, the "normal" year estimate for the UK would be for 1987: 21.8%.

- In Australia, researchers -- armed with one of the best official data sets in the world -- calculated that rent in private hands in 2012 was 26% of GDP. Rents in that year were inflated by abnormally high urban and commodity prices (one of the ripple effects of trade with China).

Adding up the "Rents"

If we take a random selection of 10 rich nations, ranging from Australia through the US to Sweden, Germany and Japan, the average tax-take as a percent of GDP is 37%. In ATCOR terms, most of this is rent in its disguised form (collected as if they were "wages" and "profits"). If we add to this the rent that is not collected by government, of around 20%, we find that rent exceeds 50% of national income. This first approximation of rent needs to be adjusted for several reasons.

1.    Taxes distort total income. They encourage the

- Under-use of urban land (which artificially raises rents). and they

- motivate behavior that damages the environment, as when polluters do not have to pay for dumping waste into the atmosphere (which artificially reduces rents).

2.    A small part of tax revenue may actually fall on wage earners, rather than being shifted (ultimately) onto rent. People with no bargaining power are particularly vulnerable.

Such considerations add to, and subtract from, rent. Further assessment is required, but the outcome would not significantly modify the conservative estimate that rent is about 50% of total income. This is more than sufficient to cover existing government financial commitments.

Nicolaus Tideman, a professor at Virginia Tech and State University, in the US, estimates that, five years into the financial reform, the average American family would be better off by $6,300.

[Continued... (http://www.opednews.com/articles/Rent-is-50-of-a-Nation-s-by-Fred-Harrison-Money_National-Debt_Reform_Taxes-131124-761.html)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: iamc2 November 29, 2013, 07:26:43 PM
ALL LAND TAX IS A SCAM BY GOVENMENTS---PERIOD!

 The Land Belongs to GOD; and then to those who respect and use it well.

 The Government with their BS LAWS own NOTHING!

 And UNTIL People Understand this simple notion---he will pay illegal Taxes to Criminals!  >:(
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian November 29, 2013, 08:15:17 PM
The Land Belongs to GOD;

To whom, therefore, does the community-generated value of the land "belong" -- and on what basis?

*  To all human beings equally, on the basis of the earth on which all must live yet which none produced being that to which all have an equal right of access?

*  To a mere subset of the human population, on the basis of the earth being the exclusive "property" of that subset?

     http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/Moses.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/Moses.html)


"When men have equal rights to a thing, as for instance, to the rooms and appurtenances of a club of which they are members, each has a right to use all or any part of the thing that no other one of them is using. It is only where there is use or some indication of use by one of the others that even politeness dictates such a phrase as 'Allow me!' or 'If you please!'

"But where men have joint rights to a thing, as for instance, to a sum of money held to their joint credit, then the consent of all the others is required for the use of the thing or of any part of it, by any one of them.

"Now, the rights of men to the use of land are not joint rights; they are equal rights.

"Were there only one man on earth, he would have a right to the use of the whole earth or any part of the earth.

"When there is more than one man on earth, the right to the use of land that any one of them would have, were he alone, is not abrogated: it is only limited. The right of each to the use of land is still a direct, original right, which he holds of himself, and not by the gift or consent of the others; but it has become limited by the similar rights of the others, and is therefore an equal right. His right to the use of the earth still continues; but it has become, by reason of this limitation, not an absolute right to use any part of the earth, but (1) an absolute right to use any part of the earth as to which his use does not conflict with the equal rights of others (i.e., which no one else wants to use at the same time), and (2) a coequal right to the use of any part of the earth which he and others may want to use at the same time.

"It is, thus, only where two or more men want to use the same land at the same time that equal rights to the use of land come in conflict, and the adjustment of society becomes necessary.

"If we keep this idea of equal rights in mind--the idea, namely, that the rights are the first thing, and the equality merely their limitation--we shall have no difficulty. It is through forgetting this that Mr. [Herbert] Spencer has been led into confusion."

-- Henry George, A Perplexed Philosopher (http://www.grundskyld.dk/0-Perplexed.html), pp. 27-28


"Men must have rights before they can have equal rights. Each man has a right to use the world....The equality of this right is merely a limitation arising from the presence of others with like rights. Society, in other words, does not grant, and cannot equitably withhold from any individual, the right to the use of land. That right exists before society and independently of society, belonging at birth to each individual, and ceasing only with his death. Society itself has no original right to the use of land....The function of society with regard to the use of land only begins where individual rights clash, and is to secure equality between these clashing rights of individuals."

-- Henry George, A Perplexed Philosopher (http://www.grundskyld.dk/0-Perplexed.html), p. 30


"The dry superficial area of the earth being the only medium through which external nature becomes accessible to man; being not merely his only foothold and resting-place, but also the means through which he obtains access to all the matter which he, through the exercise of his faculties, changes into objects fit to satisfy his desires and maintain his life,--it follows that freedom to use the earth is the indispensable condition for the exercise of man's faculties and the maintenance of his life. Hence the right to the use of the earth is a natural right, the denial of which involves the denial of the right to the exercise of any faculty, that is, the denial of the right to live.

"The right of any one to the exercise of his faculties being limited only by the equal right of every one else, the exercise of any faculty being dependent upon the use of the earth, it follows that the right of any one to use the earth is limited only by the equal right of every one else. The natural right to the use of the earth, therefore, is an equal right, inherent in all. If there were only one man upon this earth he would obviously be free to use the whole earth; the right of any second man to do the like must be equal to that of the former. Nor can further multiplication bring about any change in this relation. Of all the millions inhabiting the earth to-day, each is free to use the whole earth or any part of it, provided he infringes not the equal right of any other man. And conversely, it is equally true that no one of them may so use the earth as to prevent any other from similarly using it. For to do so implies a claim to greater opportunities for the exercise of his faculties than others can enjoy....

"No arrangements made, even with the consent of all living men, can deprive any member of any future generation of his or her equal rights to the use of the earth. Likewise no arrangements made by past generations, even if all their members had consented to them, can deprive any one now living of his equal right. For every such arrangement, if enforced, would offend against the law of equal freedom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_equal_liberty), would deprive some of their right to an equal opportunity for the exercise of their faculties and the maintenance of their lives."

-- Max Hirsch, Democracy versus Socialism (http://books.google.com/books?id=PHlDAAAAIAAJ&dq), pp. 228-9


"Place one hundred men on an island from which there is no escape, and whether you make one of these men the absolute owner of the other ninety-nine, or the absolute owner of the soil of the island, will make no difference either to him or to them.

"In the one case, as the other, the one will be the absolute master of the ninety-nine--his power extending even to life and death, for simply to refuse them permission to live upon the island would be to force them into the sea.

"Upon a larger scale, and through more complex relations, the same cause must operate in the same way and to the same end--the ultimate result, the enslavement of laborers, becoming apparent just as the pressure increases which compels them to live on and from land which is treated as the exclusive property of others. Take a country in which the soil is divided among a number of proprietors, instead of being in the hands of one, and in which, as in modern production, the capitalist has been specialized from the laborer, and manufacturers and exchange, in all their many branches, have been separated from agriculture. Though less direct and obvious, the relations between the owners of the soil and the laborers will, with the increase of population and the improvement of the arts, tend to the same absolute master on the one hand and the same abject helplessness on the other, as in the case of the island we have supposed. Rent will advance, while wages will fall (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/pp036.html#p-30)."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty (http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/George/grgPP.html), pp. 347-8


"We do not propose to assert equal rights to land by keeping land common, letting any one use any part of it at any time. We do not propose the task, impossible in the present day of society, of dividing land in equal shares; still less the yet more impossible task of keeping it so divided.

"We propose--leaving land in the private possession of individuals, with full liberty on their part to give, sell or bequeath it--simply to levy on it for public uses a tax that shall equal the annual value of the land itself, irrespective of the use made of it or the improvements on it....We would accompany this tax on land values with the repeal of all taxes now levied on the products and processes of industry--which taxes, since they take from the earnings of labor, we hold to be infringements of the right of property."

-- Henry George, The Condition of Labor (http://wealthandwant.com/HG/the_condition_of_labor.htm), p. 8
: How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme—Again
: Geolibertarian December 04, 2013, 05:51:50 PM
Wall Street slumlords’ outrageous new scheme: How they could wreck the economy again (http://www.salon.com/2013/11/06/wall_street_slumlords_outrageous_new_scheme_how_they_could_wreck_economy_again/)

Remember mortgage-backed securities and the financial crisis they caused? This latest gambit will put you in shock

David Dayen
SALON
Nov. 6, 2013

http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-wall-street-has-turned-housing-into-a-dangerous-get-rich-quick-scheme-again/5360077 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-wall-street-has-turned-housing-into-a-dangerous-get-rich-quick-scheme-again/5360077)

How Wall Street Has Turned Housing Into a Dangerous Get-Rich-Quick Scheme — Again

By Laura Gottesdiener
Global Research, December 02, 2013
TomDispatch 26 November 2013

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/128688.jpg)

You can hardly turn on the television or open a newspaper without hearing about the nation’s impressive, much celebrated housing recovery. Home prices are rising! New construction has started! The crisis is over! Yet beneath the fanfare, a whole new get-rich-quick scheme is brewing.

Over the last year and a half, Wall Street hedge funds and private equity firms have quietly amassed an unprecedented rental empire, snapping up Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, brick-faced bungalows in Chicago, Spanish revivals in Phoenix. In total, these deep-pocketed investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown.

Wall Street’s foreclosure crisis (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/business/july-dec08/econtrouble_08-20.html), which began in late 2007 and forced more than 10 million people (http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Foreclosed-America-Occupied-Pamphlet/dp/1884519210/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1379444396&sr=1-1) from their homes, has created a paradoxical problem. Millions of evicted Americans need a safe place to live, even as millions of vacant, bank-owned houses are blighting neighborhoods and spurring a rise in crime (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/20/us/in-neighborhoods-like-north-st-louis-gunfire-still-rules-the-night.html?pagewanted=all). Lucky for us, Wall Street has devised a solution: It’s going to rent these foreclosed houses back to us. In the process, it’s devised a new form of securitization that could cause this whole plan to blow up — again.

Since the buying frenzy began, no company has picked up more houses than the Blackstone Group, the largest private equity firm in the world. Using a subsidiary company, Invitation Homes, Blackstone has grabbed houses at foreclosure auctions, through local brokers, and in bulk purchases directly from banks the same way a regular person might stock up on toilet paper from Costco.

In one move, it bought 1,400 houses in Atlanta (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/blacktone-buys-atlanta-homes-in-largest-bulk-rental-trade.html) in a single day. As of November, Blackstone had spent $7.5 billion (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-23/blackstone-creating-rental-home-bonds-after-buying-spree.html) to buy 40,000 mostly foreclosed houses across the country. That’s a spending rate of $100 million a week (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-09/blackstone-steps-up-home-buying-as-prices-jump-mortgages.html) since October 2012. It recently announced (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-11-07/blackstone-begins-rental-housing-empire-in-spain) plans to take the business international, beginning in foreclosure-ravaged Spain.

Few outside the finance industry have heard of Blackstone. Yet today, it’s the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation — and of a whole lot of other things, too. It owns part or all of the Hilton Hotel chain, Southern Cross Healthcare, Houghton Mifflin publishing house, the Weather Channel, Sea World, the arts and crafts chain Michael’s, Orangina, and dozens of other companies.

Blackstone manages more than $210 billion (http://quote.morningstar.com/stock-filing/Annual-Report/2012/12/31/t.aspx?t=XNYS:BX&ft=10-K&d=650df38e3f2e5b3666dc8957ab1f2e00) in assets, according to its 2012 Securities and Exchange Commission annual filing. It’s also a public company with a list of institutional owners (http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/bx/institutional-holdings) that reads like a who’s who of companies recently implicated in lawsuits over the mortgage crisis, including Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and of course JP Morgan Chase, which just settled a lawsuit with the Department of Justice over its risky and often illegal mortgage practices, agreeing to pay an unprecedented $13 billion fine.

In other words, if Blackstone makes money by capitalizing on the housing crisis, all these other Wall Street banks — generally regarded as the main culprits in creating the conditions that led to the foreclosure crisis in the first place — make money too.

[Continued... (http://www.globalresearch.ca/how-wall-street-has-turned-housing-into-a-dangerous-get-rich-quick-scheme-again/5360077)]
: Harvard Study Finds: The Rent Is Too Damn High
: Geolibertarian December 09, 2013, 04:45:23 PM
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-09/harvard-study-finds-the-rent-is-too-damn-high (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-09/harvard-study-finds-the-rent-is-too-damn-high)

Harvard Study Finds: The Rent Is Too Damn High

By Peter Coy
Businessweek
December 09, 2013

If you can’t afford to own, you can rent. But what if you can’t afford to rent, either? Millions of Americans are in precisely that situation, according to a study released today by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The availability of apartments, especially cheaper ones, hasn’t nearly kept up with demand, and the problem has worsened since the 2007-09 recession, the study says.

“In 1960, about one in four renters paid more than 30 percent of income for housing. Today, one in two are cost burdened,” according to the study, America’s Rental Housing (http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/americas-rental-housing).

“Cost-burdened” means you’re paying more than 30 percent of income for housing and “severely cost-burdened” means you’re paying more than half. “By 2011, 28 percent of renters paid more than half their incomes for housing, bringing the number with severe cost burdens up by 2.5 million in just four years, to 11.3 million,” according to the Harvard study, which was conducted with partial funding from the MacArthur Foundation.

The boom in housing prices made ownership unaffordable for many families, and the subsequent bust forced others into foreclosure. You would think that all of those foreclosed homes would make great rental properties, and they have. “Remarkably,” though, the study says, “soaring demand was more than enough to absorb the 2.7 million single-family homes that flooded into the rental market after 2007.”

The result of the spike in rental demand is a seller’s market: “From a record high of 10.6 percent in 2009, the vacancy rate turned down in 2010 and has continued to slide, averaging 8.4 percent in the first three quarters of 2013.”

As usual, the pinch is hardest on the poor, those with incomes under $15,000 a year who pay at least half their incomes on rent. “With little else in their already tight budgets to cut, these renters spend about $130 less on food—a reduction of nearly 40 percent relative to those without burdens.”

[Continued... (http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-12-09/harvard-study-finds-the-rent-is-too-damn-high)]

--------------------------------

Next headline...

     Harvard Study Finds: It's Too Damn COLD!

Oh gee, ya think?
: Why Not Tax Monopoly Rents?
: Geolibertarian December 13, 2013, 03:00:46 PM
http://bollier.org/blog/why-not-tax-monopoly-rents (http://bollier.org/blog/why-not-tax-monopoly-rents)

Why Not Tax Monopoly Rents?

David Bollier
bollier.org
12/13/2013

Some interesting material coming out of Prosper Australia (http://http//www.prosper.org.au) is a Melbourne-based organization and its partners, Earthsharing Australia (http://www.earthsharing.org.au/) and the Land Values Research Group (http://blog.lvrg.org.au/).  A new report entitled “Total Resource Rents:  Harnessing the Power of Monopoly” (pdf file (http://www.prosper.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/TRRA_2013_final.pdf)) finds that nearly one-quarter of Australia’s GDP comes from unearned income, not the 2% that neoclassical (http://www.politicaleconomy.org/gaffney.htm) economists claim.

This means that ten times greater revenue could be raised through taxing unearned income from monopolies than previously thought.  It also means that nearly half of Australia’s government revenues could be raised through channeling revenues from the real estate boom to more productive purposes.  In the process, income, company and sales taxes – along with 122 other current taxes – could be eliminated.

Report author Karl Fitzgerald, “the Renegade Economist,” describes the implications of the findings of the report:

“Unearned incomes equate to 23.6% of GDP and could be taxed without pushing up pricing structures. Most economists dismiss economic rents at just 2% of GDP. This report finds the free lunch driving the wealth gap is ten times greater than mainstream economists acknowledge.

“Prices could fall by some 20% by reducing the number of taxes from 126 to 24” stated Fitzgerald. “The compliance and deadweight losses are a huge cost that fall disproportionately on small business.”  This reform offers a more efficient and equitable economic system, valuing productive over speculative activities.

[Continued... (http://bollier.org/blog/why-not-tax-monopoly-rents)]
: Re: Why Not Tax Monopoly Rents?
: EvadingGrid December 13, 2013, 03:18:24 PM
Why Not Tax Monopoly Rents?

Because the landlords would simply pass on the cost to the tenants. The landlords income would slightly increase, as they would inevitably pass on the cost and add a little bit to pocket themselves.

Would it not be better to place reasonable limits on how much property a person can own, as decided by the people ?

I've nothing against little people owning a second property and charging rent, but I have everything against someone owning the planet.
 
: Re: Why Not Tax Monopoly Rents?
: Geolibertarian December 13, 2013, 03:28:29 PM
Because the landlords would simply pass on the cost to the tenants.

Sorry to have to respectfully disagree, my friend, but that simply isn't true...

"A tax on rent...would fall wholly on landlords, and could not be shifted to any class of consumers."

-- David Ricardo (http://www.econlib.org/library/Ricardo/ricP3.html)


"A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. There are no means by which he can shift the burden upon any one else."

-- John Stuart Mill (http://www.econlib.org/library/Mill/mlP65.html#Bk.V,Ch.III)


“The striking result is that a tax on rent will lead to no distortions or economic inefficiencies. Why not? Because a tax on pure economic rent does not change anyone's behavior. Demanders are unaffected because their price is unchanged. The behavior of suppliers is unaffected because the supply of land is fixed and cannot react. Hence, the economy operates after the tax exactly as it did before the tax--with no distortions or inefficiencies arising as a result of the land tax."

-- Paul A. Samuelson, Economics (http://www.mhhe.com/economics/samuelson17/), 16th ed., p. 250


"At the opposite extreme of the claim that land value taxation is wrong because landholders would be the only ones paying taxes is the claim that landholders would be paying no taxes at all. It is claimed that they would merely raise their rents in proportion to the increase in taxes falling on their lands. But this is one thing all reputable economists agree can not be done. If site A (land only) in the heart of a city is worth $1,000 per month to whoever uses it, while site B (land only) on the outskirts of the city is worth only $100.00 per month, then site A is worth only $900.00 more per month than is site B. A change in the amount of taxes falling on these two landholders cannot affect the relative value of these sites. Suppose, for example, that an attempt were made to get $2,000 and $200.00 per month respectively for these two sites just because each landholder were required to pay taxes of $1,000 and $100.00 respectively to the city. Obviously, the tenants in site A would move to lower cost land. Site A is not worth $1,800 more per month than site B. If it were, the landholder would be getting it in today's market. Although a tax on land values affects the price of land, it cannot affect its rental value. There is no disagreement among professional economists on this point."

-- Robert De Fremery, Rights vs. Privileges (http://www.monetary.org/review-of-robert-de-fremerys-rights-vs-privileges/2010/12), pp. 38-39


http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/why_the_landowner_cannot_shift.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/HG/why_the_landowner_cannot_shift.html)

Why The Landowner Cannot Shift The Tax on Land Values

By Henry George
An Editorial reprinted from The Standard, 1887

A very common objection to the proposition to concentrate all taxes on Land Values is that the landowner would add the increased tax on the value of his land to the rent that must be paid by his tenants. It is this notion that increased Taxation of Land Values would fall upon the users, not upon the owners of land, that more perhaps than anything else prevents men from seeing the far-reaching and beneficent effects of doing away with the taxes that now fall upon labor or the products of labor, and taking for public use those values that attach to land by reason of the growth and progress of society.

That taxes levied upon Land Values, or, to use the politico-economic term, taxes levied upon rent, do not fall upon the user of land, and cannot be transferred by the landlord to the tenant is conceded by all economists of reputation. However much they may dispute as to other things, there is no dispute upon this point. Whatever flimsy reasons any of them may have deemed it expedient to give why the tax on rent should not be more resorted to, they all admit that the taxation of rent merely diminishes the profits of the landowner, cannot be shifted on the user of land, cannot add to prices, nor check production.

Not to multiply authorities, it will be sufficient to quote John Stuart Mill. He says (Section 2, Chapter 3, Book 5, “Principles of Political Economy”) “A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. There are no means by which he can shift the burden upon anyone else. It does not affect the value or price of agricultural produce, for this is determined by the cost of production in the most unfavorable circumstances, and in those circumstances, as we have so often demonstrated, no rent is paid. A tax on rent, therefore, has no effect other than its obvious one. It merely takes so much from the landlord and transfers it to the State.”

The reason of this will be clear to everyone who has grasped the accepted theory of rent — that theory to which the name of Ricardo has been given, and which, as John Stuart Mill says, has but to be understood to be proved. And it will be clear to everyone who will consider a moment, even if he has never before thought of the cause and nature of rent. The rent of land represents a return to ownership over and above the return which is sufficient to induce use — it is a premium paid for permission to use. To take, in taxation, a part or the whole of this premium in no way affects the incentive to use or the return to use; in no way diminishes the amount of land there is to use, or makes it more difficult to obtain it for use. Thus there is no way in which a tax upon rent or Land Values can be transferred to the user. Whatever the State may demand of this premium simply diminishes the net amount which ownership can get for the use of land, or the price it can demand as purchase money, which is, of course, rent or the expectation of rent, capitalized.

Here, for instance, is a piece of land that has a value — let it be where it may. Its rent, or value, is the highest price that anyone will give for it — it is a bonus which the man who wants to use the land must pay to the man who owns the land for permission to use it. Nor, if a tax be levied on that rent or value, this in no wise adds to the willingness of anyone to pay more for the land than before; nor does it in any way add to the ability of the owner to demand more. To suppose, in fact, that such a tax could be thrown by landowners upon tenants is to suppose that the owners of land do not now get for their land all it will bring; is to suppose that, whenever they want to, they can put up prices as they please.

This is, of course, absurd. There could be no limit whatever to prices did the fixing of them rest entirely with the seller. To the price which will be given and received for anything, two wants or wills must concur — the want or the will of the buyer, and the want or will of the seller. The one wants to give as little as he can, the other to get as much as he can, and the point at which the exchange will take place is the point where these two desires come to a balance or effect a compromise. In other words, price is determined by the equation of supply and demand. And, evidently, taxation cannot affect price unless it affects the relative power of one or other of the elements of this equation. The mere wish of the seller to get more, the mere wish of the buyer to pay less, can neither raise nor lower prices. Nothing will raise prices unless it either decreases supply or increases demand. Nothing will lower prices unless it either increases supply or decreases demand. Now, the Taxation of Land Values, which is simply the taking by the State of a part of the premium which the landowner can get for the permission to use land, neither increases the demand for land nor decreases the supply of land, and therefore cannot increase the price that the landowner can get from the user. Thus it is impossible for landowners to throw such taxation on land users by raising rents. Other things being unaltered, rents would be no higher than before, while the selling price of land, which is determined by net rents, would be much diminished. Whoever purchased land outright would have to pay less to the seller, because he would thereafter be called on to pay more to the State.

But while the Taxation of Land Values cannot raise rents, it would, especially in a country like this, where there is so much valuable land unused, tend strongly to lower them. In all our cities, and through all the country, there is much land which is not used, or not put to its best use, because it is held at high prices by men who do not want to, or who cannot, use it themselves, but who are holding it in expectation of profiting by the increased value which the growth of population will give to it in the future. Now the effect of the Taxation of Land Values would be to compel these men to seek tenants or purchasers. Land upon which there is no taxation even a poor man can easily hold for higher prices, for land eats nothing. But put heavy taxation upon it, and even a rich man will be driven to seek purchasers or tenants, and to get them he will have to put down the price he asks, instead of putting it up; for it is by asking less, not by asking more, that those who have anything they are forced to dispose of must seek customers. Rather than continue to pay heavy taxes upon land yielding him nothing, and from the future increase in value of which he could have no expectation of profit, since increase in value would mean increased taxes, he would be glad to give it away or let it revert to the State. Thus the dogs in the manger, who all over the country are withholding land that they cannot use themselves from men who would be glad to use it, would be forced to let go their grasp. To tax Land Values up to anything like their full amount would be to utterly destroy speculative values, and to diminish all rents into which this speculative element enters. And how groundless it is to think that landlords who have tenants could shift a tax on Land Values upon their tenants can be readily seen from the effect upon landlords who have no tenants. It is when tenants seek for land, not when landlords seek for tenants, that rent goes up.

To put the matter in a form in which it can be easily understood, let us take two cases. The one, a country where the available land is all in use, and the competition of tenants has carried rents to a point at which the tenant pays the landlord all he can possibly earn save just enough to barely live. The other, a country where all the available land is not in use and the rent that the landlord can get from the tenant is limited by the terms on which the tenant can get access to unused land. How, in either case, if the tax were imposed upon Land Values (or rent), could the landlord compel the tenant to pay it?

It may be well to call attention to the fact that a tax on Land Values is not a tax on land. They are very different things, and the difference should be noted, because a confusion of thought as to them may lead to the assumption that a tax on Land Values would fall on the user. Barring such effect as it might have on speculation, a tax on land — that is to say, a tax of so much per acre or so much per foot on all land — would fall on the user. For such a tax, falling equally on all land — on the poorest and least advantageously situated as fully as on the richest and best situated land — would become a condition imposed on the use of any land, from which there could be no escape, and thus the owners of rentable land could add it to their rent. Its operation would be analogous to that of a tax on a producible commodity, and it would in effect reduce the supply of land sufficient to pay the tax. But a tax on economic rent or Land Values would not fall on all land. It would fall only on valuable land, and on that in proportion to its value. It would not have to be paid upon the poorest land in use (which always determines rent), and so would not become a condition of use, or restrict the amount of land that could be profitably used. Thus the landowners on whom it fell could not shift it on the users of land. This distinction, as to nature and effects, between a tax on land and a tax on Land Values, it is necessary to bear in mind.

It is also necessary to bear in mind that the value of land is something totally distinct from the value of improvements. It is a value which arises not from the exertion of any particular individual, but from the growth and progress of the community. A tax on Land Values, therefore, never lessens the reward of exertion or accumulation. It simply takes for the whole community that value which the whole community creates.

While it is not true that a tax on Land Values or rent falls on the user, and thus distributes itself through increased prices, it is true that the greater number of taxes by which our public revenues are raised do. Thus, speaking generally, taxes upon capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) fall, not upon the owners of capital, but upon the users of capital, and are by them transferred to the consumers of whatever the capital is used to produce; taxes upon buildings or building materials must ultimately be paid in increased building rents or prices by the occupiers of buildings; imposts upon production or duties upon imports must finally fall upon the consumer of the commodities. This fact is far from being popularly appreciated, for, if it were, the masses would never consent to the system by which the greater part of our revenues is raised. But, nevertheless, it is the vague apprehension of this that leads by confusion of ideas to the notion that a tax on Land Values must add to rents. This notion will disappear if it be considered how it is that any tax gives to the person first called on to pay it the power of shifting it upon others by an increase of price.

A tax on matches, for instance, will, as we know by experience, enable the manufacturer or dealer in matches to get a higher price. How? Evidently by adding to the cost of producing matches for sale, thus checking the supply of matches that can be offered for sale until the price rises sufficiently to compensate for the tax. It is this knowledge that the tax will add to the cost of production, and thus, below a certain price, check competition in supply, that enables the dealer to mark up the price of his stock of matches as soon as the tax is imposed, or compels him to mark it down as soon as the tax is remitted.

But a tax on Land Values does not add to the cost of producing land. Land is not a thing of human production. Man does not produce land! He finds it already in existence when he comes into the world. Its price, therefore, is not fixed by the cost of production, but is always the highest price that anyone can give for the privilege of using a particular piece. Land, unlike things that must be constantly produced by labor, has no normal value based on the cost of production, but ranges in value from nothing at all to the enormous values that attach to choice sites in great cities, or to mineral deposits of superior richness, when the growth of population causes a demand for their use.

Hence a tax on Land Values, instead of enabling the holder of land to charge that much more for his land, gives him no power to charge an additional penny. On the contrary, by making it more costly to hold land idle, it tends to increase the amount of land which owners must strive to secure tenants or purchasers for. Thus the effect of a tax on Land Values is not to increase the rent that the tenant must pay the owner for the use of the land, but rather to reduce it. And since the tax must be paid out of what the land will yield the owner, its effect would be to reduce the price for which the land could be sold outright.

Here, let us say, is a lot on the principal select street of a city having an annual or rental value of $10,000. Such a lot would now command a selling price of some $250,000. An increased tax upon Land Values would not reduce its rental value, except as it might have an effect in forcing into use unoccupied land at a greater distance from the center of the city. But as less of this rental value could be retained by the owner, the selling price would be diminished. And if a tax on Land Values could be imposed with such theoretical perfection that the whole rental value would be taken by the community, the owner would lose both his income from its present value and any expectation of profit from its future increase in value. While it would be still worth as much as before to the user, it would be worth nothing at all to the mere owner. Instead of having a selling value of $250,000, it would not sell for anything, since what the user paid for the privilege of using it would go in full to the community. Under a tax of this kind, even though it could not be imposed with theoretical nicety, the mere owner of land would disappear. No one would care to own land unless he wanted to improve or use it.

The general principle which determines the incidence of taxation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tax_incidence) is this: A tax upon anything or upon the methods or means of production of anything, the price of which is kept down by the ability to produce increased supplies, will, by increasing the cost of production, check supply, and thus add to the price of that thing, and ultimately fall on the consumer. But a tax upon anything of which the supply is fixed or monopolized, and of which the cost of production is not therefore a determining element, since it has no effect in checking supply, does not increase prices, and falls entirely on the owner.

In view of the efforts that are made to befog the popular mind on this point, I have deemed it worth while to show why taxes on Land Values cannot be shifted by landlords upon their tenants. But the fact that such a tax cannot be so shifted is realized well enough by landowners. Else why the opposition to the Single Tax, and why the cry of “confiscation?” Our national experience, like the experience of every other country, proves that those who are called on to pay a tax that can be shifted on others, seldom or ever oppose it, but frequently favor it, and that when once imposed, they generally resist its abolition. But did anyone ever hear of landlords welcoming a tax on Land Values, or opposing the abolition of such a tax?

-----------------------------------

More on this at...

     http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Not_Passed_On.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/themes/Not_Passed_On.html)

     http://kaalvtn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/g-lvt-would-benefit-rich-and-hurt-poor.html#1 (http://kaalvtn.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/g-lvt-would-benefit-rich-and-hurt-poor.html#1)
: Homelessness in Silicon Valley
: Geolibertarian December 20, 2013, 10:21:46 AM
The difference between land and capital is huge, and explains why the cost of silicon chips goes down as demand goes up, while the cost of Silicon Valley goes up as demand goes up.

The anti-Georgist tax policy known as Proposition 13 (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_PTBaR.html) continues to create the deepest levels of poverty precisely where wealth most abounds, proving once again that Henry George was right and that both his left-wing and right-wing critics (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=75&rn=304&action=show_detail) were (and are) wrong...

http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/jungle-thousands-homeless-people-live-shantytowns-epicenter-high-tech-super-rich (http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/jungle-thousands-homeless-people-live-shantytowns-epicenter-high-tech-super-rich)

The Jungle: Thousands of Homeless People Live in Shantytowns at the Epicenter of High-Tech, Super-Rich Silicon Valley

Residents of Silicon Valley’s largest homeless encampment illustrate the widening divide between the nation’s haves and have-nots.

By Evelyn Nieves
AlterNet
December 15, 2013

(http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/tent_0.jpg)
Photo Credit: Evelyn Nieves

By mid-morning on Thursday, the sun was shining hard enough to dry wet blankets and the residents of the Jungle began surfacing, letting each other know they were still alive.

Six straight nights of freezing temperatures had tested their tenacity, not to mention their tarps and tents. It was so cold that the raccoons that raid the trash bins every night disappeared, a first. Ditto the crows, squirrels and feral cats. Life in the Jungle, 75 wooded acres off Interstate 101 in San Jose that comprises Silicon Valley’s largest homeless encampment, came to a standstill.

With the hard ground thawing, the Jungle looked as if spring had sprung. People strolled the dirt paths, rode their bikes and walked their dogs. Everyone in the Jungle—200 men and women, give or take—looked ready to celebrate surviving the earliest, coldest cold snap on record.

“We were lucky,” said Troy Feid, a former carpenter, squinting into the bright sky. “Not everyone was.”

Four homeless men in Silicon Valley did not make it through the season’s first bout of sub-freezing temperatures. Over the last two weeks, three of them froze to death on the streets of San Jose, not far from the Jungle.

That people live and die on the streets of Silicon Valley is no news to the poor, of course. With more than 6,500 tech companies in all, Santa Clara County is home to the biggest stars in the tech universe, including Google, Facebook, Yahoo, eBay and Apple. But the land of high-tech milk and honey is also a prime example of the widening divide between the nation’s haves and have-nots.

For all its stock-option millionaires, the San Jose/Santa Clara County region (pop. 1.8 million) also has the nation’s fifth largest population of homeless (after New York, Los Angeles, Seattle and San Diego), according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The main culprits? Budget cuts that have frayed the safety net and sky-high housing costs. These days, a three-bedroom, one-bath starter home in San Jose, the county seat and one of its most affordable cities, costs a cool million. Rents for a two-bedroom apartment go from $2,000 to $5,000 a month, and those on the low-end are scarce.

While homelessness remains off the radar of the Silicon Valley titans, it keeps getting worse, up 20 percent in two years. More than 7,600 people sleep on the streets every night. Dozens of encampments dot the landscape, and thousands of people live in temporary quarters—shelters, motels, friends’ homes. Several private and public organizations in Santa Clara County are dedicated to helping the unhoused receive medical care, supplies and assistance in finding shelter. But funds and available units to move homeless people into permanent housing are meager.

[Continued... (http://www.alternet.org/hard-times-usa/jungle-thousands-homeless-people-live-shantytowns-epicenter-high-tech-super-rich)]
: What's All the Land in America Worth?
: Geolibertarian December 21, 2013, 07:05:02 AM
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/20/value_of_all_land_in_the_united_states.html (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/20/value_of_all_land_in_the_united_states.html)

What's All the Land in America Worth?

By Matthew Yglesias
Slate
12/20/2013

(http://www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/20/value_of_all_land_in_the_united_states/184220730.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge.jpg)

After yesterday's post on the aggregate value of all the housing in America (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/19/how_valuable_is_all_the_housing_in_america_combined.html), a couple of correspondents noted to me that for recent decades you can actually compute the value of all the land in America from the Federal Reserve's Flow of Funds report (PDF (http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/z1/Current/z1.pdf)). The short answer is that all the privately owned land in America is worth about $14.488 trillion—which is a lot.

Here's how the math works. Table B.100 "Balance Sheet of Households and Nonprofit Organizations" has a line for real estate in its nonfinancial assets section. It tells us that households and nonprofits own $21.61 trillion in real estate. Then at the bottom on line 45 it tells us that the replacement cost of all the structures owned by households and nonprofits is $13.8 trillion. So all you need to do is subtract the replacement cost of the structures from the total value of the real estate to reach the conclusion that a little bit over one-third of the total real-estate value—about $7.812 trillion—is land.

Then you repeat the procedure for B.102 "Balance Sheet of Nonfinancial Corporate Business." Here we learn that corporate America owns $9.867 trillion of real estate and that the replacement value of the structures on it is about $8.109 trillion. Subtract and we conclude that there's $1.758 trillion* worth of land in the corporate sector.

Last we turn to noncorporate business, which owns $9.704 trillion in real estate and has a replacement cost of structures of $4.786 trillion, giving us $4.918 trillion in land.

Add it all up and you get $14.488 trillion in land value.

[Continued... (http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2013/12/20/value_of_all_land_in_the_united_states.html)]


http://www.earthrights.net/docs/fifteen.html (http://www.earthrights.net/docs/fifteen.html)

Sounding the Revenue Potential of Land: Fifteen Lost Elements

by Mason Gaffney

Text of an address delivered at the annual meeting of the Council of Georgist Organizations, held in Albuquerque, July 2004

ABRIDGED FOR USE IN GROUNDSWELL, October 2004


You see, my dear Watson, but you do not observe.” - Holmes

The revenue potential of land is greater than anyone thinks. This is a progress report on a study that finds, bares, and to some extent measures elements of enhanced revenue potential by using truer and more comprehensive measures of rent and land values. It should go without saying, but often does not, that the purpose of raising more land revenues is not to fatten vexatious bureaucrats. It is to replace vexatious taxes, to provide and maintain and operate needed public infrastructure and services (including a reasonable national defense), to pay off old public debts and avoid new ones, and to fund social dividends (including existing social dividends like Social Security and public schools).

There are at least fifteen elements of land’s taxable capacity that previous researchers have either slighted, or overlooked entirely.

*  Items 1-3 below correct for the downward bias in standard data.
*  Items 4-11 broaden the concepts of land and its rent.
*  Items 12-15 show how exempting production, trade and capital uncaps potential tax rates.

[Continued... (http://www.earthrights.net/docs/fifteen.html)]

--------------------------------

^^  Still think wages, sales, houses and capital goods can't all be exempt from taxation without having to eliminate or even cut essential government services in the process?

Note: "Essential government services" obviously do NOT include (a) imperialist wars of aggression, (b) domestic police state measures, (c) corporate welfare subsidies, (d) banker bailouts, nor (e) interest on the national debt (which can and must be eliminated via the implementation of a debt-free money system (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=98465.0)) -- the combined annual taxpayer cost of which easily exceeds $1 trillion.

You've been lied to, folks. The Austrians (http://recoveringaustrians.wordpress.com/top-ten-austrian-economic-lies-and-mistakes/) lied to you. The Keynesians (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_economic-consequences-of-john-maynard-keynes-1983.html) lied to you. The Marxists (https://archive.org/stream/democracyversus00hirsgoog#page/n8/mode/2up) lied to you.

We can reconcile the alleged and falsely perceived conflict between economic freedom, on the one hand, and social justice, on the other, simply by implementing both...

*  The NEED Act

     http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.2990.IH: (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.2990.IH:)
     http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf (http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf)
     http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zarlenga/sequesters-shutdowns-and-_b_4086071.html (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stephen-zarlenga/sequesters-shutdowns-and-_b_4086071.html)

*  The Single Tax

     http://schalkenbach.org/rsf-2/henry-george/the-single-tax/ (http://schalkenbach.org/rsf-2/henry-george/the-single-tax/)
: Secret of the Tax-free Life
: Geolibertarian December 25, 2013, 12:25:01 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcK9PYGHz0I (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcK9PYGHz0I) (Secret of the Tax-free Life)

(http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/sAFN29YTdrc/hqdefault.jpg) (http://www.sharetherents.org/)
: Re: End the 1 percent’s free ride: Taxing land would solve America’s biggest problem
: africknamerican January 08, 2014, 02:28:50 PM
End the 1 percent’s free ride: Taxing land would solve America’s biggest problems


sad news. Our friend Jesse has just published a piece in Rolling Stone advocating pretty much full communism.

Either he just doesn't get it -- ie, his research of George and  LVT did not teach him that land is vastly different from the other two factors -- or, he gets it all too well and, as a "communications gun for hire" (his Twitter self-description), he's been hired by some forces who really want to muddy the waters on this issue. It sure got Rolling Stone a lot of clicks, no doubt...

It's a pretty weaselly thing to do, but also (if we work it hard enough), another chance to turn evil into good and get the truth out.
: Re: End the 1 percent’s free ride: Taxing land would solve America’s biggest problem
: Geolibertarian January 08, 2014, 03:07:32 PM
sad news. Our friend Jesse has just published a piece in Rolling Stone advocating pretty much full communism.

Either he just doesn't get it -- ie, his research of George and  LVT did not teach him that land is vastly different from the other two factors -- or, he gets it all too well and, as a "communications gun for hire" (his Twitter self-description), he's been hired by some forces who really want to muddy the waters on this issue. It sure got Rolling Stone a lot of clicks, no doubt...

It's a pretty weaselly thing to do, but also (if we work it hard enough), another chance to turn evil into good and get the truth out.

Agreed. Henry George didn't just say to tax land values, but to literally "abolish all taxation save that upon land values" (emphasis added).

Big difference.

That's why I'm a fan of such slogans as "abolish taxes and share the rent," and "no taxes and a pension for everybody."

Generally speaking, socialists and quasi-socialists are always bending over backwards to de-emphasize the "abolition" aspect of the Single Tax. (Edit: although, in fairness to Jesse Myerson, he did say, "No sales tax. No income tax. No payroll tax to fill a Social Security trust fund. No corporate income tax...". Perhaps his attack of philosophical clarity was only temporary.) They were doing so a century ago, and are still doing it now. An obvious case in point is their love affair with the ridiculous "carbon tax" scheme.

When they speak, they speak for themselves, not for me.
: Economic Growth and Income Distribution
: Geolibertarian January 13, 2014, 11:37:00 PM
http://www.progress.org/views/editorials/economic-growth-income-distribution/ (http://www.progress.org/views/editorials/economic-growth-income-distribution/)

Economic Growth and Income Distribution

Fred Foldvary
The Progress Report
January 12, 2014

One of the topics that has not received enough attention in economics is the effect of economic growth on the distribution of income. So if you want to understand it, you should get a piece of paper. I’ll wait until you have it …

Now on the lower left side, draw a rectangle with a height longer than the width. The top half of the paper should still be blank. We will use an agricultural model with one product, corn. At first, the only factors are land and labor. Now draw small circles of equal size in the rectangle. These are farms of equal size. The yield is ten bushels of corn per farm per period of production. As long as there is free land available, land rent is zero, and the entire yield of ten goes to wages.

Now draw another rectangle to the right of the first one, three-fifths as high. Label this “six,” because the output in that land is six bushels of corn. All the farm workers are equally skilled and work the same number of hours, so the lower yield is due to its being less productive land. With rent at zero because there is free land, the wage is six. The wage in the ten-bushel land has now fallen to six, because workers are mobile and equally skilled. The extra four bushels in the ten-bushel farms are now land rent.

For rent and wages, it does not matter whether the owner is also the worker, or whether he hires labor at six bushels, or whether he rents out the land to a tenant at four bushels. The economic rent is the difference in the productivity of the two lands, regardless of who are the owners, tenants, and workers. If the landlord happens to charge only three bushels from a tenant, the economic rent is still four: three go to the landlord, while one bushel is the yield as rent kept by the tenant.

In classical economics, the least productive land in use is called the “margin of production.” There is a “law of wages,” which states that the wage level for the economy is the wage at the margin of production. There is a “law of rent” which states that the rent of a plot of land is its output minus the normal costs of labor and capital goods, such as, in our simple model, the difference between the output of the lands yielding ten and six.

Now add a third rectangle to the right of the six-bushel land, and label this “four,” because this is the new margin of production yielding four bushels. Wages there are four, making the wage also four at the lands yielding ten and six. Now rent in the ten-bushel land has risen from four to six, and rent at the six-bushel land has risen from zero to two. You can see that as the margin of production moves to less productive land, wages fall and rent rises.

Now let us introduce a plow, which represents both more capital goods and better technology. The plow costs two bushels and completely depreciates each period, requiring a new plow for the next period. The plow doubles production at each plot of land. So on the rightmost rectangle, draw another rectangle just above the first one, attached to it, with an equal size, representing the doubling of output.

Is it worth buying the plow? Yes! The farms at the margin, having yielded four, now yield eight. After paying for the capital good, the plow, the output is six, which all goes to wages. Wages there have risen by 50 percent. By the law of wages, wages in the other farms have risen to six.

With the plow, the farms that yielded six now yield twelve. Draw a rectangle above the middle one, with equal size. Now the distribution of the twelve-bushel output is two to capital goods, six to wages, and the remainder, four bushels, to rent. Rent there doubled from two to four bushels.

Now do the same for what was the ten-bushel land, which now yields twenty. The distribution is two to capital goods, six to wages, and the remainder, twelve bushels, to rent. Rent there also doubled, from six to twelve bushels. (A similar graph (http://www.foldvary.net/images/RentWages.jpg) of the factors).

Now we can see the effect of the economic growth caused by more and better capital goods. Wages have risen by fifty percent, while rent doubled. We can calculate this in bushels. Suppose there were ten farms in each grade of land. Write this down: before the plow, for the three lands, output was 100 + 60 + 40 = 200. Wages were 40 times 3 = 120. Rent was 60 + 20 = 80. So wages were 60 percent and rent was 40 percent of income.

With the plow, output doubles to 200 + 120 + 80 = 400. Are you writing this down? Wages are now 60 times 3 = 180. Capital yields are 2 bushels per plow times 30 farms = 60 bushels. Land rent is 120 + 40 = 160. Wages are now 180/400 = 45 percent of income. Capital yields = 60/400 = 15 percent of income. Rent = 40 percent of income. Wages rose by 60 bushels, while rent has risen by 80 bushels.

The portion of income going to wages has fallen from 60 to 45 percent, but the portion of rent stayed the same, 40 percent. The doubling of output doubled the rent, but because the plow has a cost, wages could not double, but they did rise by 50 percent. Labor benefits from the greater productivity, but landowners benefit more. If new technology and capital goods were to similarly double production again, the distribution of income would keep the same proportions.

If the ownership of the land value is concentrated, then much of the gains from economic expansion is distributed to a few landowners. The greater rent going to a few owners explains much of the inequality of income today throughout the world. These landowners do nothing to generate the growth. Usually, better capital goods also requires better human capital, greater skills. So the economic growth and development is caused by entrepreneurship and investment in capital goods and human capital, and the yields properly go to a return on the capital goods, the capital yield, and to greater wages, including the gains to the entrepreneurs. But the greater rent is a surplus windfall to the owners of land that obtain the rent just by holding title.

If we believe in human equality, the land rent should be distributed to all the people equally. Then all the people would equally benefit from the greater productivity. The effect of greater productivity on the input-factor distribution of income has been neglected, so this model should be taught in all courses on the principles of economics.
: These 10 People Collectively Own 33 Million Acres, Or 1.5% Of All US Land
: Geolibertarian January 15, 2014, 10:24:22 AM
Unsurprisingly, what Zero Hedge (ZH) doesn't tell you in the following article is that, since land is fixed in both supply and location, absentee landlordship of this magnitude is the inevitable consequence of not using publicly-generated land values as the primary if not sole source of public revenue. And the reason ZH doesn't tell you this is that it knows all too well that, if the Austrian School had its way, land values would be even more privatized than they already are. The end result? More rent-seeking (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html), not less.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/these-10-people-collectively-own-33-million-acres-or-1-5-of-all-us-land.html (http://www.prisonplanet.com/these-10-people-collectively-own-33-million-acres-or-1-5-of-all-us-land.html)

These 10 People Collectively Own 33 Million Acres, Or 1.5% Of All US Land

Zero Hedge
January 15, 2014

It is a well-known fact that when it comes to ownership of rental properties in the US, Wall Street, and particularly Blackstone, has become the single largest landlord in the country (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-20/meet-wall-street-your-new-landlord). But what about undeveloped land? As summarized by Vizual-statistix (http://vizual-statistix.tumblr.com/post/73239581926/according-to-the-land-report-published-by-fay), according to The Land Report published by Fay Ranches, the top 100 owners of US land collectively have 33 million acres in their private holdings. This equates to about 1.5% of all USA land – that may seem like a small percentage, but it’s actually a massive area.  The chart below lays out the top 10 largest private landowners with the areas of Puerto Rico, Delaware, Rhode Island, and Washington, D.C. included for scale. As can be seen, all of the top 10 own a piece of the USA that is bigger than Rhode Island, and five have a piece that is at least as big as Delaware. John Malone, who is the largest land owner in the country with 2.2 million acres, owns private property the size of Puerto Rico.

[Continued... (http://www.prisonplanet.com/these-10-people-collectively-own-33-million-acres-or-1-5-of-all-us-land.html)]
: The left and an anti-rentier agenda
: Geolibertarian February 02, 2014, 04:56:35 PM
http://henrygeorgedevon.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/the-left-and-an-anti-rentier-agenda/ (http://henrygeorgedevon.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/the-left-and-an-anti-rentier-agenda/)

The left and an anti-rentier agenda

The Henry George Society of Devon
February 02, 2014

In a series of articles appearing on Salon (http://www.salon.com/2013/03/25/defeating_useless_rich_people/) last year Michael Lind argued that left and right alike are confused by a failure to distinguish productive businesses that sell innovative goods and services from “rentier” interests — landlords, lenders, copyright holders and others — which use their natural or artificial monopoly power to extract excessive tolls, fees and other recurrent payments from the rest of society, including productive businesses. Lind made the case that the fees or rents extracted by these interests constitute a kind of “private taxation” and that this is the greatest threat facing the productive economy.

This line of thinking is essentially a Georgist one and it doesn’t sit easily on the tired old left-right spectrum (http://www.henrygeorge.org/isms.htm) that dominates mainstream political discourse today. Many on those who identify with the left, worried that growing wealth inequality is leading to complete domination of society by big moneyed interests, denounce “capitalism” (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/brown-harry-gunnison_enthusiasm-for-capitalism-1958.html) and reach for socialist (https://archive.org/details/democracyversus00hirsgoog) answers. Take for example the following policy statement from the newly formed LeftUnity Party (http://leftunity.org/) in the UK:


This approach is born out of a flawed understanding of fundamental economic principles (http://www.progress.org/tpr/the-heart-of-economics-in-one-short-story-2/), namely the conflation of land (http://www.henrygeorge.org/def2.htm) with capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) and the mistaken belief that privilege (https://archive.org/details/menaceofprivileg00georiala) stems from ownership of the latter rather than the former.

There is nothing wrong with wealth per se – after all we all want it! A top footballer or movie star who earns astronomical amounts by virtue of their unique talent isn’t preventing anyone else from prospering, so good luck to them I say! Similarly, creative go-getting entrepreneurs who make their money satisfying others needs in the market place should be free to enjoy the wealth they have created. Stealing their income and redistributing it to others smacks of envy.

The problem with wealth arises when it is possible to use it to buy monopoly privilege including control of natural resources, thus depriving others of access to the opportunities they need to get ahead unless they meet the payment terms of the owner. So in the aforementioned examples, the movie star and the entrepreneur who go on to invest their wealth in speculative real estate or shares in an exploitative oil company have crossed the line from wealth creator to parasite. In essence the Georgist solution is to cut off this possibility in a very simple and efficient way, leaving the economy to function as a true free market that benefits all.

I believe the best way to undermine the powerful elite vested interests that exploit the wealth of society and the planet is to drive a wedge between them and genuine wealth creators i.e. the industrious hardworking people that actually provide the goods and services in the economy. This includes lowly wage workers and high flying individuals who should be allies in this struggle. It won’t be done with socialist rhetoric which unhelpfully perpetuates the sterile socialist-capitalist dichotomy and precludes the possibility of a broader anti-rentier agenda from taking shape thus playing into the hands of establishment interests that want to maintain the status quo. Clearly much needs to be done to reshape the political debate in order to form a genuine coalition for change that works for everyone. Georgist education of economic principles has an absolutely vital role to play in this process of realignment.
: Housing crisis taking toll with no-fault evictions
: Geolibertarian February 03, 2014, 09:56:29 AM
Of the millions of "little old ladies" who -- due to the land speculation (http://www.henrygeorge.org/bust.htm)-driven high cost of housing (http://www.progress.org/tpr/affordable-housing-by-al-hartheimer/) -- are forced to "rent" instead of "own," how many have fallen prey to this worsening trend?

--------------------------------

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Housing-crisis-taking-toll-with-no-fault-evictions-4988391.php (http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Housing-crisis-taking-toll-with-no-fault-evictions-4988391.php)

Housing crisis taking toll with no-fault evictions

Marisa Lagos and John Coté
SFGate
November 16, 2013

Jennifer Mieuli Jameson isn't the kind of person you would expect to be losing her home.

The middle-class, 48-year-old Sunset District resident has manicured nails, well-coiffed hair and neat clothing. A paralegal who was laid off during the economic downturn, she now runs a nonprofit dog rescue organization. Her husband works in information technology for a law firm. She is not elderly or disabled. She has not lived in her rental for decades.

And when she and her husband are forced out of their Sunset District home because their rent is doubling, they will not be counted among the city's evictions.

[Continued... (http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Housing-crisis-taking-toll-with-no-fault-evictions-4988391.php)]

--------------------------------

In light of what was already being reported on (see the link below) several years before the 2008 derivatives (http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/its_the_derivatives.php)-caused financial crisis, is it safe to assume that more than a few have?

     http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elderly-renters-are-facing-an-epidemic-of-evictions-3197 (http://www.elderlawanswers.com/elderly-renters-are-facing-an-epidemic-of-evictions-3197)

And have you noticed that those who profess so much concern for the plight of "little old ladies" either start hemming and hawing or become mysteriously silent whenever someone brings up the issue of tenants being evicted from their homes at gunpoint as a consequence of the poverty-in-the-midst-of-plenty-creating rent-wage gap (http://nlihc.org/oor/2013)?

Why the apparent double standard?

Could it have something to do with intuitive awareness of the fact that this issue can't be candidly addressed without running the risk of drawing attention to the anti-Georgist tax policy that gave rise to said "gap" in the first place -- and of thereby validating the Single Tax remedy?

Such questions cannot be answered by continually begging them.

(http://i.qkme.me/3pevco.jpg)
: Why is the rent so high?
: Geolibertarian February 21, 2014, 09:28:38 AM
An excellent introduction to the Law of Rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm)...

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZANYxnkWk (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZANYxnkWk) (Why is the rent so high?)
: Georgism in 300 words
: Geolibertarian February 27, 2014, 04:34:27 AM
http://mickanomics.blogspot.com/2014/02/georgism-in-300-words.html (http://mickanomics.blogspot.com/2014/02/georgism-in-300-words.html)

Georgism in 300 words

MICKANOMICS
February 26, 2014

Imagine that in the distant past, a ship ran into rocks off a desert island and started sinking.  Everyone jumped overboard and started swimming towards the nearest beach. Imagine a guy armed with a gun got to the island first, and then upon everyone else's arrival, the guy said, “I got here first, so this island is mine. You can't live here unless you pay me rent for using my land”. The swimmers have no choice and have to give the “landowner” part of their income forever more.  This situation obviously stinks. If you were one of the people having to pay rent you would be angry as hell, you’d protest at every opportunity. Who could possibly defend such system?

Now imagine that at some later time, a rich islander purchased the island from the gunman for a large sum of money. The rich man announced to the rest of the islanders, “That nasty gunman was evil and grabbed the island unjustly. He had no right to claim rent from you all. But I purchased the land with my own money and without violence. Therefore this island is rightfully mine, and now you should all quit protesting and pay me rent!”.

If you were an islander, would you be happy with the situation now?

By the way, this is essentially the way the world works today. How do you think the first owners of the land you're living on got to own the land? (Usual answer: they took it by force) Personally, I have no idea why people are not marching in the streets demanding a better system.

Is there a more just way of distributing land? Yes. An idea known as Georgism. The fact that houses get built on land makes the potential solutions more complex, but almost any system based on Georgist ideals would be better than what we have today… unless you’re a landlord that is.

Georgism: - look into it.

(http://images.mises.org/5738/SingleTaxPoster.jpg) (http://schalkenbach.org/rsf-2/henry-george/the-single-tax/)
: Monopoly Is Theft
: Geolibertarian March 02, 2014, 09:28:40 AM
http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1 (http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1)

Monopoly Is Theft

The antimonopolist history of the world’s most popular board game

By Christopher Ketcham
Harper's Magazine
October 19, 2012

The players at Table 25 fought first over the choice of pawns. Doug Herold, a forty-four-year-old real estate appraiser, settled on the car. The player across from him, a shark-eyed IT recruiter named Billy, opted for the ship and took a pull from a can of Coors. The shoe was taken by a goateed toxic-tort litigator named Eric, who periodically distracted himself from the game on a BlackBerry so that he “could get billable hours out of this.” The dog was taken by a doughy computer technician named Trevis, who had driven from Canton, Ohio, as a “good deed” to help the National Kidney Foundation, sponsor of the 25th Annual Corporate Monopoly Tournament, which is held each year in the lobby of the U.S. Steel Tower in downtown Pittsburgh. On hand for the event, which had attracted 112 players, divided into twenty-eight tables of four, were the Pittsburgh Steelers’ mascot, Steely McBeam, who hopped around the lobby grunting and huzzahing with a giant foam I beam under his arm; three referees dressed in stripes, with whistles around their necks; and a sleepy-looking man, attired in a long judges’ robe and carrying a two-foot-long oaken gavel, who was in fact a civil-court judge for Allegheny County donating his time “to make sure these people follow the rules.”

I had spoken the night before with Doug, who won the previous year’s tournament, about his strategy for victory. “Well, last year I managed to get Boardwalk and Park Place, and then everybody landed on them,” he explained, chalking his success up to dumb luck. “What you have to do,” he said, “is get a monopoly, any monopoly, as quickly as you can.” I asked him if he knew the secret history of the game. He confessed that he did not.

The official history of Monopoly, as told by Hasbro, which owns the brand, states that the board game was invented in 1933 by an unemployed steam-radiator repairman and part-time dog walker from Philadelphia named Charles Darrow. Darrow had dreamed up what he described as a real estate trading game whose property names were taken from Atlantic City, the resort town where he’d summered as a child. Patented in 1935 by Darrow and the corporate game maker Parker Brothers, Monopoly sold just over 2 million copies in its first two years of production, making Darrow a rich man and likely saving Parker Brothers from bankruptcy. It would go on to become the world’s best-selling proprietary board game. At least 1 billion people in 111 countries speaking forty-three languages have played it, with an estimated 6 billion little green houses manufactured to date. Monopoly boards have been created using the streets of almost every major American city; they’ve been branded around financiers (Berkshire Hathaway Monopoly), sports teams (Chicago Bears Monopoly), television shows (The Simpsons Monopoly), automobiles (Corvette Monopoly), and farm equipment (John Deere Monopoly).

The game’s true origins, however, go unmentioned in the official literature. Three decades before Darrow’s patent, in 1903, a Maryland actress named Lizzie Magie created a proto-Monopoly as a tool for teaching the philosophy of Henry George, a nineteenth-century writer who had popularized the notion that no single person could claim to “own” land. In his book Progress and Poverty (http://schalkenbach.org/library/henry-george/p+p/ppcont.html) (1879), George called private land ownership an “erroneous and destructive principle” and argued that land should be held in common, with members of society acting collectively as “the general landlord.”

Magie called her invention The Landlord’s Game, and when it was released in 1906 it looked remarkably similar to what we know today as Monopoly. It featured a continuous track along each side of a square board; the track was divided into blocks, each marked with the name of a property, its purchase price, and its rental value. The game was played with dice and scrip cash, and players moved pawns around the track. It had railroads and public utilities—the Soakum Lighting System, the Slambang Trolley—and a “luxury tax” of $75. It also had Chance cards with quotes attributed to Thomas Jefferson (“The earth belongs in usufruct to the living”), John Ruskin (“It begins to be asked on many sides how the possessors of the land became possessed of it”), and Andrew Carnegie (“The greatest astonishment of my life was the discovery that the man who does the work is not the man who gets rich”). The game’s most expensive properties to buy, and those most remunerative to own, were New York City’s Broadway, Fifth Avenue, and Wall Street. In place of Monopoly’s “Go!” was a box marked “Labor Upon Mother Earth Produces Wages.” The Landlord Game’s chief entertainment was the same as in Monopoly: competitors were to be saddled with debt and ultimately reduced to financial ruin, and only one person, the supermonopolist, would stand tall in the end. The players could, however, vote to do something not officially allowed in Monopoly: cooperate. Under this alternative rule set, they would pay land rent not to a property’s title holder but into a common pot—the rent effectively socialized so that, as Magie later wrote, “Prosperity is achieved.”

For close to thirty years after Magie fashioned her first board on an old piece of pressed wood, The Landlord’s Game was played in various forms and under different names—“Monopoly,” “Finance,” “Auction.” It was especially popular among Quaker communities in Atlantic City and Philadelphia, as well as among economics professors and university students who’d taken an interest in socialism. Shared freely as an invention in the public domain, as much a part of the cultural commons as chess or checkers, The Landlord’s Game was, in effect, the property of anyone who learned how to play it.

Thousands of Monopoly tournaments are held in the United States each year: county tournaments, school tournaments, church tournaments, corporate tournaments, tournaments in basements, in boardrooms, in lunchrooms, in public libraries, and online. Every four or five years there are the big officiated tournaments—the U.S. Championship and the World Championship—sponsored by Hasbro, which hands out $20,580 pots to the winners of each. I missed the big tournaments—both were last held in 2009—and instead ended up in the lobby of U.S. Steel. I thought the venue fitting, as the corporation was the brainchild of supermonopolists Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan, the latter being the inspiration for Monopoly’s top-hatted, monocled, tails-wearing mascot, Rich Uncle Pennybags.

The emcee called the lobby to order, shouting into his microphone, “You have ninety minutes. Let’s play Monopoly!” Immediately, the men at Table 25 began rolling dice and frantically buying property as they rounded the board. Doug snagged Pacific Avenue (an expensive investment at $300), two yellow parcels, and several slummier properties. Trevis’s portfolio included two railroads and Marvin Gardens, the most expensive property in the yellow group. Billy held the ultrachic Boardwalk ($400). Eric got Tennessee Avenue and St. James Place ($180 each). These last are among the properties most coveted by competitors, because they are relatively cheap and frequently landed on, along with the other properties that sit directly downboard of the jail, where odds are the players will spend a lot of time.

Sixteen minutes into the game Doug offered Billy a trade. (“The propensity to truck, barter, and exchange one thing for another,” writes Adam Smith in The Wealth of Nations, “is common to all men, and to be found in no other race of animals.”) Land was already growing scarce, and as land becomes scarce in Monopoly—as in the real world—its market value rises, often beyond its nominal value. “This,” said Doug, holding up one of his yellow deeds, “for that,” pointing at one of Billy’s slum deeds, “plus three hundred bucks.”

Billy was unimpressed. “No, you give me three hundred bucks.”

“Give you three hundred bucks?”

“Cash is king!”

This in turn inspired Trevis and Eric to start haggling, with Billy and Doug interjecting to gum up the talks when their own interests were threatened. The table got loud. The parties offered, counteroffered, rejected all offers, sweetened the original offers, rejected the sweetened deals with greater aplomb. Doug heaved a great sigh. “We’re just gonna go around the board and around the board,” he said, “and collect our little money.”

“It’s gotta make sense for me,” said Trevis.

“This guy wants my left testicle,” Doug replied.

In what amounted to open conspiracy, Billy then told Eric that if they made a trade and each received a monopoly as a result, they’d share a “free ride”—no rent would be charged—when they landed on one another’s monopolies: a corrupt duopoly, in effect, targeting Doug and Trevis.

Doug shrugged as Eric pondered the deal, but Trevis was aghast. “You can’t do that—it’s against the rules.”

“Rules!” said Billy. “I’m gonna set my price.”

“Bullshit!”

“Ref!”

A referee, whistle around his neck, hurried over—the judge with the gavel had disappeared—to decide on the matter as the players barked at each other. “You can’t do that,” he said finally.

A few weeks before the tournament, I’d had a conversation with Richard Marinaccio, the 2009 U.S. national Monopoly champion. “Monopoly players around the kitchen table”—which is to say, most people—“think the game is all about accumulation,” he said. “You know, making a lot of money. But the real object is to bankrupt your opponents as quickly as possible. To have just enough so that everybody else has nothing.” In this view, Monopoly is not about unleashing creativity and innovation among many competing parties, nor is it about opening markets and expanding trade or creating wealth through hard work and enlightened self-interest, the virtues Adam Smith thought of as the invisible hands that would produce a dynamic and prosperous society. It’s about shutting down the marketplace. All the players have to do is sit on their land and wait for the suckers to roll the dice.

Smith described such monopolist rent-seekers (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html), who in his day were typified by the landed gentry of England, as the great parasites in the capitalist order. They avoided productive labor, innovated nothing, created nothing—the land was already there—and made a great deal of money while bleeding those who had to pay rent. The initial phase of competition in Monopoly, the free-trade phase that happens to be the most exciting part of the game to watch, is really about ending free trade and nixing competition in order to replace it with rent-seeking (http://foldvary.net/works/seeking.html).

[Continued... (http://harpers.org/blog/2012/10/monopoly-is-theft/?single=1)]
: How a Progressive Tax System Made Detroit a Powerhouse (and Could Again)
: Geolibertarian April 19, 2014, 02:34:07 PM
http://inequality.org/progressive-tax-system-detroit-powerhouse/ (http://inequality.org/progressive-tax-system-detroit-powerhouse/)

How a Progressive Tax System Made Detroit a Powerhouse (and Could Again)

Detroit’s property tax base, diminished and badly-assessed, could still fund a renewal if Michigan would only read its history and find the political will.

By Mason Gaffney and Polly Cleveland
Inequality.org
August 9, 2013

In 1995, we encountered a group of economic advisors to Governor John Engler of Michigan, intent on cutting property taxes. We reminded them of California’s 1979 Proposition 13. After Prop. 13 rolled back and froze property taxes, sales taxes reached crushing levels, budget crises became routine, local services collapsed, and public schools fell from the best in the nation to among the worst. But Engler was determined.

From 1890-1930, Detroit’s population boomed from 205,000 to 1,569,000, the fastest growth of any US city. The auto industry did it, but why Detroit? Detroit had produced horse-drawn carriages from hardwood lumber, but so had other places. It was not low wages; Detroit paid better than most—that’s why so many people rushed in. It was not business-dominated politics; Michigan was a Progressive, Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt state. It was not low taxes on wealthy “job-creators”; Michigan relied on high state and local property taxes. As most people recognized in those days, (and as we have documented here and here), property taxes are wealth taxes, dramatically more progressive than income taxes.

Detroit Mayor Hazen Pingree, 1889-1897, was an early Georgist Progressive. He supported the idea of American economist and reformer Henry George (1839-1897) that all taxes should be shifted onto land and other natural resources. Today, Nobel-Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz advocates this as the “Henry George principle (http://www.newdeal20.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/principles-and-guidelines-for-deficit-reduction.pdf).” Applied to cities, it means raising property tax rates on land and lowering them on buildings. In cities, poor renters own no land, heavily-mortgaged middle classes own very little. So shifting taxes to land turns property taxes into wealth taxes on steroids. Better yet, taxing land discourages rich speculators from holding valuable property out of use. Mayor Pingree was a mentor to and model for the Georgist soon-to-be Mayors Tom Johnson and Newton Baker of Cleveland, and Samuel Jones and Brand Whitlock of Toledo.

The crash of 1893 hit Detroit soon after Pingree’s election. The city was riddled with vacant lots held by land speculators; Pingree arranged for the unemployed to plant vegetables. “Pingree’s Potato Patches” inspired other cities to follow. Meanwhile, he had campaigned for “higher taxes on the vast landed estates of the city”; when big industries threatened to leave town, he responded by raising just the land assessments. This won the support of small business.

The Georgist Progressive movement supported cheap mass transit on trolley cars. With fixed costs funded by property taxes, fares stayed low. Property taxes also paid for public education, public health, public parks, water, sanitation, welfare—all the public services that make a big city livable, and its small industries viable. Property tax rates of 2.5% of market value were normal; there were no sales taxes, business taxes, or income taxes. Detroit’s private sector was a big collection of small machine shops, little businesses and services. That’s what attracted Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers and other young tinkerers to Detroit. In one of history’s ironies, trolley cars nursed the auto industry that later rose up to slay them.

In 1897 Pingree became governor. He centralized the assessment of property taxes, and had the State Board of Tax Commissioners revalue all property. They found so much untaxed land, especially railroad holdings, that they actually lowered tax rates even as they raised more taxes.

During the “Dirty Thirties,” Detroit grew while many cities shrank. Walter Reuther’s UAW pioneered the sit-down strike at the GM plant in Flint. Former Detroit Mayor and now Governor Frank Murphy negotiated a settlement that legitimized the UAW, using the new national Wagner Act. It was “The strike heard round the world.” UAW membership exploded from 30,000 to 500,000.

After Pearl Harbor, FDR naturally turned to Detroit to convert its assembly lines to war production. This was the age of Rosie the Riveter, and Rosie loved Detroit. From 1930 to 1950, Detroit’s population grew 18%, to 1,850,000.

Yet after 1950, Detroit began to shrink, the first break in its sensational upward trajectory. What happened? Some blamed the end of the war, but America was pouring billions into the Interstate Highway System. The world wanted American cars and trucks. The causes of decline must have been internal.

Governor G. Mennen “Soapy” Williams, 1949-1960, introduced the Business Activities Tax (BAT), a kind of sales tax. The BAT was replaced by a corporate income tax in 1967 and by the Single Business Tax (SBT) in 1975. The SBT allowed the deduction of inputs—including real estate purchases!—but not labor. Easy for big corporations to evade, the SBT fitted concrete boots on small unincorporated businesses.

Governor George Romney, 1962-68, introduced a personal income tax to provide “property tax relief,” a new catchword. Meantime in Michigan and nationwide, the property tax itself was degenerating; effective rates were falling, especially on land. Its Georgist heritage forgotten, Detroit was valuing land at next to nil, using assessments dating from the Great Depression. In 1967, a police raid on an unlicensed late-night drinking club in a black neighborhood triggered Detroit’s notorious 12th Street riots, which destroyed over 2000 buildings. Detroit never recovered.

While Detroit hollowed out, its suburb Southfield boomed. From 1950-70 it grew from 19,000 to 69,000 people. It had a Georgist Mayor, James Clarkson, who aggressively raised land assessments and lowered building assessments. Southfield’s tax base actually rose by 20% per year under Clarkson, funding good utilities and public services. The lesson went unnoticed.

In 1995, despite our warnings to his staff, Governor John Engler took Michigan’s public schools off local property taxes and onto a state sales tax. That sealed Detroit’s fate. Out-migration of people and industry accelerated into the 2008 crash. Detroit’s current population of some 700,000 is the lowest since 1914. In another of history’s ironies, Detroiters today grow food in vacant lots—“Pingree’s Potato Patches” again, 105 years later. Bankruptcy seems inevitable.

And yet… Detroit’s property tax base remains. Though diminished and badly-assessed, it could still fund a renewal if Michigan reads its history and finds the political will.

For the full story, see Mason Gaffney’s New Life in Old Cities (http://masongaffney.org/publications/2006_New_Life_in_Old_Cities.pdf) (2006) and What’s the Matter with Michigan? (http://masongaffney.org/essays/Whats_the_Matter_with_Michigan.pdf) (2008)
: "Trading one form of slavery for another," indeed!
: Geolibertarian April 26, 2014, 01:37:25 PM
Contrary to popular myth, the phenomenon of one form of slavery being traded for another long predates 1913...

http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/ajo_slavery.html (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/ajo_slavery.html)

SLAVERY

By Arthur J. Ogilvy

THE SLAVER

Suppose I own a sugar estate and 100 slaves, all the land about being held in the same way by people of the same class as myself.

It is a profitable business, but there are many expenses and annoyances attached to it.

I must keep up my supply of slaves either by buying or breeding them.

I must pay an overseer to keep them continually to their work with a lash. I must keep them in a state of brutish ignorance (to the detriment of their efficiency), for fear they should learn their rights and their power, and become dangerous.

I must tend them in sickness and when past work.

And the slaves have all the vices and defects that slavery engenders; they have no self-respect or moral sense; they lie, they steal, they are lazy, shirking work whenever they dare; they do not care what mischief their carelessness occasions me so long as it is not found out; their labor is obtained by force, and given grudgingly; they have no heart in it.

All these things worry me.

FLASH! ....

Suddenly a brilliant idea strikes me. I reflect that there is no unoccupied land in the neighbourhood, so that if my laborers were free they would still have to look to me for work somehow.

So one day I announce to them that they are all free, intimating at the same time I will be ready to employ as many as I may require on such terms as we may mutually and independently agree.

What could be fairer? They are overjoyed, and falling on their knees, bless me as their benefactor. Then they go away and have a jollification, and next day come back to me to arrange the new terms.

THEY BELIEVE ...

Most of them think they would like to have a piece of land and work it for themselves, and be their own masters. All they want is a few tools they have been accustomed to use, and some seed, and these they are ready to buy from me, undertaking to pay me with reasonable interest when the first crop comes in, offering the crop as security. As for their keep, they can easily earn that by working a few weeks on and off on any of the plantations, or by taking a job clearing or fencing, or such like. This will keep them going for the first year, and after that they will be better able to take care of themselves.

HOLD ON, NOW!

"But," softly I observe, "you are going too fast. Your proposals about the tools and seed and your maintenance are all right enough, but the land, you remember, belongs to me. You cannot expect me to give you your liberty and my own land for nothing. That would not be reasonable, would it?" They agree it would not, and begin to propose terms.

A fancies this bit of land, and B that. But it soon appears that I want this bit of land for my next year's clearing, and that for my cows, and another is too close to my house and would interfere with my privacy, and another is thick forest or swamps, and would require too long and costly preparation for me who must have quick returns in order to live, and in short that there is no land suitable that I care to part with.

THE BENEFACTOR

Still I am ready to do what I promised — "to employ as many as I may require, on such terms as we may mutually and independently agree." But as I have now got to pay them wages instead of getting their work for nothing. I cannot of course employ all of them. I can find work for ninety of them, however, and with these I am prepared to discuss terms.

At once a number volunteered their services at such wages as their imagination had been picturing to them. I tell the ninety whose demands are most reasonable to stand on one side. The remaining ten look blank, and seeing that since I won't let them have any of the land, it is a question of hired employment or starvation, they offer to come for a little less than the others. I tell these now to stand aside, and ten others to stand out instead. These look blank now, and offer to work for less still, and so the "mutual and voluntary" settlement of terms proceeds.

But, meanwhile, I have been making a little calculation in my head, and have reckoned up what the cost of keeping a slave, with his food and clothes, and a trifle over to keep him contented, would come to, and I offer that.

They won't hear of it, but as I know they can't help themselves, I say nothing, and presently first one and then another gives in, till I have got my ninety, and still there are ten left out, and very blank indeed they look. Whereupon, the terms being settled, I graciously announce that though I don't really want any more men, still I am willing, in my benevolence, to take the ten, too, on the same terms, which they promptly accept, and again hail me as their benefactor, only not quite so rapturously as before.

WAGE SLAVES? ...

So they all set to at the old work at the old place, and on the old terms, only a little differently administered; that is, that whereas I formerly supplied them with food, clothes, etc., direct from my stores, I now give them a weekly wage representing the value of those articles, which they will henceforth have to buy for themselves.

There is a difference, too, in some other respects, indicating a moral improvement in our relations. I can no longer curse and flog them. But then I don't want to; it's no longer necessary; the threat of dismissal is quite as effective, even more so; and much pleasanter for me.

I can no longer separate husband from wife, parent from child. But then again, I don't want to. There would be no profit in it; leaving them their wives and children has the double advantage of making them more contented with their lot, and giving me greater power over them, for they have now got to keep these wives and children out of their own earnings.

My men are now as eager as ever to come to me to work as they formerly were to run away from work. I have neither to buy or breed them; and if any suddenly leave me, instead of letting loose the bloodhounds, I have merely to hold up a finger or advertise, and I have plenty of others offering to take their place. I am saved the expense and worry of incessant watching and driving. I have no sick to attend, or worn-out pensioners to maintain. If a man falls ill there is nothing but my good nature to prevent my turning him off at once; the whole affair is a purely commercial transaction — so much wages for so much work. The patriarchal relation of slave-owner and slave is gone, and no other has taken its place. When the man is worn out with long service I can turn him out with a clear business conscience, knowing that the State will see that he does not starve.

Instead of being forced to keep my men in brutish ignorance, I find public schools established at other people's expense to stimulate their intelligence and improve their minds, to my great advantage, and their children compelled to attend these schools. The service I get, too, being now voluntarily rendered (or apparently so) is much improved in quality. In short, the arrangement pays me better in many ways.

REJOICE! I AM CAPITAL (http://henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) AND I EMPLOY PEOPLE!

But I gain in other ways besides pecuniary benefit. I have lost the stigma of being a slave driver, and have, acquired instead the character of a man of energy and enterprise, of justice and benevolence. I am a "large employer of labour," to whom the whole country, and the labourer especially, is greatly indebted, and people say, "See the power of capital! These poor labourers, having no capital, could not use the land if they had it, so this great and far-seeing man wisely refuses to let them have it, and keeps it all for himself, but by providing them with employment his capital saves them from pauperism, and enables him to build up the wealth of the country, and his own fortune together."

Whereas it is not my capital that does any of these things. lt is not my capital but the labourer's toil that builds up my fortune and the wealth of the country.

It is not my employment that keeps him from pauperism, but my monopoly of the land forcing him into my employment that keeps him on the brink of it. It is not want of capital that keeps the labourer from using the land, but my refusing him the use of the land that prevents him from acquiring capital. All the capital he wants to begin with is an axe and a spade, which a week's earnings would buy him, and for his maintenance during the first year, and at any subsequent time, he could work for me or for others, turnabout, with his work on his own land. Henceforth with every year his capital would grow of itself, and his independence with it, and that this is no fancy sketch, anyone can see for himself by taking a trip into the country, where he will find well-to-do farmers who began with nothing but a spade and an axe (so to speak) and worked their way up in the manner described.

ENTER THE LANDLORD ....

But now another thought strikes me. Instead of paying an overseer to work these men for me, I will make him pay me for the privilege of doing it. I will let the land as it stands to him or to another — to whomsoever will give the most for the billet. He shall be called my tenant instead of my overseer, but the things he shall do for me are essentially the same, only done by contract instead of for yearly pay. He, not I, shall find all the capital, take all the risk, and engage and supervise the men, paying me a lump sum, called rent, out of the proceeds of their toil, and make what he can for himself out of the surplus.

The competition is as keen in its way for the land, among people of his class, as it is among the labourers for employment, only that as they are all possessed of some little means (else they could not compete) they are in no danger of immediate want, and can stand out for rather better terms than the labourers, who are forced by necessity to take what terms they can get.

The minimum in each case amounts practically to a "mere living", but the mere living they insist on is one of a rather higher standard than the labourers'; it means a rather more abundant supply and better quality of those little comforts which are next door to necessaries. It means, in short, a living of a kind to which people of that class are accustomed.

For a moderate reduction in my profits, then — a reduction equal to the tenant's narrow margin of profit — I have all the toil and worry of management taken off my hands, and the risk too, for be the season good or bad, the rent is bound to be forthcoming, and I can sell him up to the last rag if he fails of the full amount, no matter for what reason; and my rent takes precedence of all other debts.

All my capital is set free for investment elsewhere, and I am freed from the odium of a slave owner, notwithstanding that the men still toil for my enrichment as when they were slaves, and that I get more out of them than ever.

If I wax rich while they toil from hand to mouth, and in depressed seasons find it hard to get work at all; it is not, to all appearances, my doing, but merely the force of circumstances, the law of nature, the state of the labour market — fine sounding names that hide the ugly reality.

If wages are forced down it is not I that do it; it is that greedy and merciless man the employer (my tenant) who does it. I am a lofty and superior being, dwelling apart and above such sordid considerations. I would never dream of grinding these poor labourers, not I! I have nothing to do with them at all; I only want my rent -- and get it. Like the lilies of the field, I toil not, neither do I spin, and yet (so kind is Providence!) my daily bread (well buttered) comes to me of itself. Nay, people bid against each other for the privilege of finding it for me; and no one seems to realise that the comfortable income that falls to me like the refreshing dew is dew indeed; but it is the dew of sweat wrung from the labourers' toil. It is the fruit of their labour which they ought to have; which they would have if I did not take it from them.

This sketch illustrates the fact that chattel slavery is not the only nor even the worst form of bondage. When the use of the earth — the sole source of our daily bread — is denied unless one pays a fellow creature for permission to use it, people are bereft of economic freedom. The only way to regain that freedom is to collect the rent of land (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm) instead of taxes for the public domain.

Once upon a time, labour leaders in the USA, the UK and Australia understood these facts. The labour movements of those countries were filled with people who fought for the principles of 'the single tax (http://schalkenbach.org/henry-george/the-single-tax/)' on land at the turn of the twentieth century. But since then, it has been ridiculed, and they have gradually yielded to the forces of privilege and power — captives of the current hegemony — daring no longer to come to grips with this fundamental question, lest they, too, become ridiculed.

And so the world continues to wallow in this particular ignorance — and in its ensuing poverty and debt.
: The Ultimate Tax Reform: Public Revenue from Land Rent
: Geolibertarian May 05, 2014, 05:04:55 PM
Since neither Porter Stansberry nor those of a similar ideological bent will ever mention the following when singing praises about Singapore, I thought I would:

http://heartland.org/policy-documents/ultimate-tax-reform-public-revenue-land-rent-summary-html (http://heartland.org/policy-documents/ultimate-tax-reform-public-revenue-land-rent-summary-html)

The Ultimate Tax Reform: Public Revenue from Land Rent

Fred E. Foldvary
The Heartland Institute
January 1, 2006

This analysis explains why land value taxation is, as Milton Friedman once put it, the “least bad” tax. An ideal tax system respects a person’s right to privacy, does not discourage work or savings, and does not induce dishonesty. While income, sales, and value-added taxes fall woefully short of this ideal, land value taxation meets each requirement. The supply of land is fixed, immobile, and inherently visible. If land value is taxed, the land will not flee, shrink, or hide. Once citizens, taxpayers, consumers, and voters understand the option of obtaining public revenue from land value or rent, then the logic of getting both greater efficiency and greater justice may prevail.

1. The U.S. tax system needs reform.

The U.S. tax system is widely perceived as too complex, too intrusive, and too demanding of workers’ paychecks. Taxes today claim a greater share of the average family’s budget than food, clothing, housing, and transportation combined. In 2005, the average American had to work 107 days just to pay taxes, compared to 44 days in 1930.

The “least bad” tax policy is one that does not violate a citizen’s right to the fruits of his labor or his privacy; does not distort incentives to work and save; and minimizes the costs of compliance and administration. Taxes on income, sales, capital gains, and real property fail this test. Compliance with the income tax consumes 5 billion hours each year in the U.S., the equivalent of two million people working full time just to process the income tax. Sales taxes discourage production of some goods and distort consumer choices. The collection of sales and income taxes require that government collect information and invade people’s privacy.

Some economists and institutes have proposed reforms to flatten and simplify the income tax, or to replace it entirely with a national sales or consumption tax or value-added tax. These would be an improvement, but if the goal is to fundamentally reform the tax system, then moving to an entirely different kind of tax land value taxes needs to be on the table.

2. What is land value taxation?

Land value taxation is a tax on land, not the buildings, homes, or other structures that might occupy the land. The proposal here is to replace some or even all of the revenue produced by other taxes with a tax on land value.

What makes land value taxation so different from other forms of taxation is that the supply of land is fixed, immobile, and inherently visible. Public revenue from land values is the most complete application of “supply-side” economic policy. Supply-side policy attempts to increase production and the supply of goods by decreasing costs, such as by lowering taxes and eliminating excessive regulations and barriers to trade. A complete tax shift away from taxing production to taxing land values would be the ultimate supply-side policy, since it removes the excess economic burden of taxation.

Unless you own a valuable vacant lot, land value taxation would most likely reduce your total tax bill, since it could abolish taxes on your earnings and spending as well as the portion of real property taxes that falls on buildings and other improvements.

3. Land value taxation compares favorably to other taxes.

Impact on production. When something is taxed, we get less of it. Income taxation discourages work, sales and value-added taxes discourage consumption, capital gains taxes discourage investment, and real property taxes discourage building and improving property. Since the supply of land is fixed, taxing it does not reduce its supply. Consequently, land value taxation is pro-economic growth.

Impact on behavior. Income taxes impose administrative costs on government and compliance costs on taxpayers. Income taxes punish savings, while sales taxes punish borrowing and consuming. Tapping land value, by contrast, does not distort an individual’s choice to save or borrow, consume or invest. Human action would be liberated from the disincentives currently imposed by other taxes.

Least opportunity for tyranny and evasion. Income taxes require tax audits, bank account seizures, and fear-inspiring letters from the IRS requesting information or additional payments or imposing interest and penalties. Such threats to liberty would greatly diminish, if not entirely disappear, under a land value tax. Land value taxation involves less invasion of privacy than taxing the whole property, since land value assessors do not need to enter the property to assess the new pipes, the expanded wiring, the renovated kitchen, or the new cottage in the back.

4. Land value taxation is not a new idea.

The concept of taxing land values for public finance is ancient. The Bible declares “the profit of the Earth is for all” (Ecclesiastes 5:9). Land rent financed government in England during the Middle Ages. Land value taxation was viewed favorably by classical economists, starting with Adam Smith, who wrote, “Ground-rents, and the ordinary rent of land, are, therefore, perhaps, the species of revenue which can best bear to have a particular tax imposed upon them. Ground-rents seem, in this respect, a more proper subject of particular taxation than even the ordinary rent of land.”

Thomas Jefferson believed “the Earth is given as a common stock for men to labour and live on.” In 1797, he suggested “a land tax supply the means by which the individual States were to contribute their quotas of revenue to the Federal Government.”

Contemporary economists who have recognized and supported land value taxation include Leon Walras, Knut Wicksell, Kris Feder, Mason Gaffney, C. Lowell Harris, Fred Harrison, Nicolaus Tideman, and the late William Vickrey (winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in economics). Milton Friedman, a world-famous free-market economist, once stated, “the least bad tax is the property tax on the unimproved value of land, the Henry George argument of many, many years ago.”

5. Land value taxation works in practice.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore became major commercial centers in large part because much of their public finance is based on taxing land values, rather than taxing trade and commerce. Many private communities implement what amounts to land value taxation as a fee or assessment. A condominium owner owns his unit and a share of the “common elements” such as building exteriors, landscaping, and recreation facilities. Similarly, guests in a hotel pay a rental for one room and receive hotel amenities such as transportation (elevators), the lobby, hallways, and swimming pool. Owners of mobile homes pay rent for sites along with services, and boat owners similarly pay for a space along with amenities.

[...]

Johannesburg, South Africa and Sydney, Australia have levied real estate taxes on land values only.

Some cities in Pennsylvania have had a two-rate system, where land values are taxed at a rate higher than the tax on improvements. In Arden, Delaware, all residential land is owned by a trust. It leases the land to the residents, who pay rent only on their leaseholds. The trust itself pays property taxes to the county.

6. Land value taxation would reduce the size and cost of government.

A tax on land value in the U.S. would provide about 60 percent of the entire current tax revenues of the federal, state, and local governments, allowing all other existing taxes to be abolished. The revenue would be more than adequate to finance existing government spending on everything other than transfer payments. But even if land value taxation did not yield as much revenue as all other taxes now collectively raise, this is no argument against shifting as much public revenue as possible to rent-based sources.

Land value taxation also would result in a substantial reduction in the cost of government. The administrative cost of land value taxes would be less than that of existing property taxes (which require a greater inspection of buildings and improvements), and the cost of enforcing income and sales taxes would be eliminated. By improving economic growth and allowing workers to keep all the money they earn, land value taxation would result in higher incomes, reducing the demand for government welfare programs.

[Continued... (http://heartland.org/policy-documents/ultimate-tax-reform-public-revenue-land-rent-summary-html)]
: San Francisco Landlord Tells Tenants: Make $100K, Have 725 Credit Score
: Geolibertarian May 08, 2014, 05:11:41 PM
And what's the Austrian School "solution" to the following? Make publicly-generated land values (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTxyNQ0ea-k) even more privatized than they already are.  ::)

http://abcnews.go.com/Business/san-francisco-landlord-tells-tenants-make-100k/story?id=23611110 (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/san-francisco-landlord-tells-tenants-make-100k/story?id=23611110)

San Francisco Landlord Tells Tenants: Make $100K, Have 725 Credit Score

By Alan Farnham
ABC News
May 06, 2014

[Video clip omitted - see original article (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/san-francisco-landlord-tells-tenants-make-100k/story?id=23611110)]

How tight is San Francisco’s housing market? So tight that the landlord of a rent-controlled apartment building at 312 Fillmore Street has sent a memo to his existing tenants, telling them they must show they have an annual income of at least $100,000 and a FICO credit score of at least 725.

Or else...what? The memo (which describes itself as “informational”) doesn't say.

When ABC News phoned landlord Robert Shelton to ask, he hung up. When an ABC News reporter knocked on his door, Shelton slammed it in her face.

Local housing and tenants’ rights experts tell ABC News they are in no doubt what such memos are meant to accomplish: They’re supposed to scare the heck out of tenants, on the chance that ones unaware of their rights will vacate.

Landlords want old tenants out so that they charge new ones higher rent, explains Delene Wolf, executive director of the San Francisco Rent Board. She tells ABC News she has specialized in local rent control issues for 30 years. But, she says, “I have never seen rents like this--not even during the dotcom boom. A teeny 1-bedroom can go for $4,000 a month.” The bidding-up of rents she calls a frenzy. The market, she says, "is amazing--but not in a good way.”

[Continued... (http://abcnews.go.com/Business/san-francisco-landlord-tells-tenants-make-100k/story?id=23611110)]
: Transforming Foreclosed Homes Into Rental Empires. Parasites Drowning in Profits
: Geolibertarian June 25, 2014, 06:57:27 PM
http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-housing-recovery-transforming-foreclosed-homes-into-rental-empires-private-equity-firms-drowning-in-profits/5388327 (http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-housing-recovery-transforming-foreclosed-homes-into-rental-empires-private-equity-firms-drowning-in-profits/5388327)

America’s Housing “Recovery”: Transforming “Foreclosed Homes” Into Rental Empires. Private Equity Firms Drowning in Profits

By Laura Gottesdiener
Global Research, June 24, 2014
TomDispatch 22 June 2014

(http://www.globalresearch.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/129511.jpg)

Security is a slippery idea these days — especially when it comes to homes and neighborhoods.

Perhaps the most controversial development in America’s housing “recovery” is the role played by large private equity firms. In recent years, they have bought up more than 200,000 mostly foreclosed houses nationwide and turned them into rental empires. In the finance and real estate worlds, this development has won praise for helping to raise home values and creating a new financial product known as a “rental-backed security.” Many economists and housing advocates, however, have blasted this new model as a way for Wall Street to capitalize on an economic crisis by essentially pushing families out of their homes, then turning around and renting those houses back to them.

Caught in the crosshairs are tens of thousands of families now living in these private equity-owned homes. For them, it’s not a question of economic debate, but of daily safety and stability. Among them are the Cedillos of Chandler, Arizona, a tight-knit family in which the men work in construction and the oil fields, while the strong-willed women balance their studies with work and children, and toddlers learn to dance as early as they learn to walk. Their story of a private equity firm, a missing pool fence, and the death of a two-year-old child raises troubling questions about how, as a nation, we define security in housing and why, in the midst of what’s regularly termed a “recovery,” many neighborhoods may actually be growing increasingly vulnerable.

A Buying Frenzy

In early August 2013, the Cedillo family threw a pool party at their house in Chandler. It was the sixth birthday of Brenda Cedillo’s son, Jesus, and the family gave him a Batman-themed celebration, complete with a piñata in the driveway and a rented waterslide for the small pool in the backyard. Brenda, her brother Bryan, and her sister Christine had signed a one-year lease on the two-story structure three weeks earlier, which made the party special. It was the first family celebration that could be held in a house.

“We’ve always lived in apartments, apartments, apartments,” said Christine.

The three of them were excited to find a place they could afford that was big enough for their children, Christine’s partner Javier, and their parents Olga and Jesus. Christine’s oldest daughter, two-year-old Zahara, was so close to Brenda’s son that the two called each other brother and sister.

The only worry during the party was the pool, carefully monitored by the adults. Being unfenced, it had been a source of stress since they moved in. Repeated requests to the management company overseeing the property that one be installed had resulted in nothing. The Cedillos had no idea that the house’s real owner was a private equity firm called Progress Residential LP.  It had been founded in 2012 by Donald Mullen, a former Goldman Sachs partner, and Curt Schade, a former managing director at Bear Stearns, an investment bank that collapsed in 2008. Progress was financed by a $400 million credit line from Deutsche Bank.

The same month that the family rented the house at 1471 West Camino Court, Progress Residential purchased more homes in Maricopa Country than any other institutional buyer. Nationally, Blackstone, a private equity giant, has been the leading purchaser of single-family homes, spending upwards of $8 billion (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-14/blackstone-s-home-buying-binge-ends-as-prices-surge-mortgages.html) between 2012 and 2014 to purchase 43,000 homes in about a dozen cities. However, in May 2013, according to Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, Progress Residential bought nearly 200 houses, surpassing Blackstone’s buying rate that month in the Phoenix area.

[Continued... (http://www.globalresearch.ca/americas-housing-recovery-transforming-foreclosed-homes-into-rental-empires-private-equity-firms-drowning-in-profits/5388327)]
: Revealed: Tesco hoarding land that could build 15,000 homes
: Geolibertarian July 05, 2014, 10:44:18 AM
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/26/tesco-hoarding-land-that-could-build-15000-homes-supermarket?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/26/tesco-hoarding-land-that-could-build-15000-homes-supermarket?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)

Revealed: Tesco hoarding land that could build 15,000 homes

Investigation reveals embattled supermarket chain's land bank bigger than estimated – 310 separate sites without a Tesco store

Simon Goodley and Leila Haddou
The Guardian
26 June 2014

(http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/6/26/1403794630808/Tesco-supermarket-009.jpg)
A Guardian investigation reveals that Tesco own 4.6m sq m of land without a
store, an area big enough for 15,000 homes. Photograph: Alamy


Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain, is hoarding land and buildings covering an area big enough to build 15,000 homes, a Guardian analysis has revealed.

The size of the embattled retailer's land bank, theoretically large enough to replicate the government's proposed new garden city at Ebbsfleet, is far greater than previously estimated and remains on its books despite much of it being bought to build out-of-town Extra superstores which are no longer financially attractive as shoppers turn their back on the big weekly grocery shop.

The scale of Tesco's land holdings are revealed as the grocer's under-pressure boss, Philip Clarke, steels himself for a barracking from disgruntled shareholders at Friday's AGM. Clarke has said it could take three years to turn the struggling UK chain around. Its most recent sales figures were the worst in a generation.

The study of Land Registry records by the Guardian and aerial photography company Getmapping reveals Tesco's British property portfolio covers 4.6m sq m, spanning around 310 separate sites that do not currently house a Tesco store in England, Scotland and Wales. The data is a snapshot of Tesco's land ownership, taken from Land Registry records in March, which was then matched against the retailer's own database to remove existing stores. Some of the portfolio is residential property or rented to other retailers, but the majority is undeveloped.

[Continued... (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/26/tesco-hoarding-land-that-could-build-15000-homes-supermarket?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)]
: Landlord uses loophole to evict 98-year-old who paid rent on time for 50 years
: Geolibertarian July 12, 2014, 01:10:54 AM
...have you noticed that those who profess so much concern for the plight of "little old ladies" either start hemming and hawing or become mysteriously silent whenever someone brings up the issue of tenants being evicted from their homes at gunpoint as a consequence of the poverty-in-the-midst-of-plenty-creating rent-wage gap (http://nlihc.org/oor/2013)?

Why the apparent double standard?

Could it have something to do with intuitive awareness of the fact that this issue can't be candidly addressed without running the risk of drawing attention to the anti-Georgist tax policy that gave rise to said "gap" in the first place -- and of thereby validating the Single Tax remedy?

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/10/san-francisco-landlord-uses-loophole-to-evict-98-year-old-who-paid-rent-on-time-for-50-years/ (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/10/san-francisco-landlord-uses-loophole-to-evict-98-year-old-who-paid-rent-on-time-for-50-years/)

San Francisco landlord uses loophole to evict 98-year-old who paid rent on time for 50 years

By David Edwards
Raw Story
July 10, 2014

(http://www.rawstory.com/rs/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/kron_phillips_140710c-615x345.jpg)

A 98-year-old San Francisco woman said this week that she is being evicted from her apartment after 50 years, and she’s never once been late paying her rent.

KRON reported that Urban Green Investments is using the 1986 Ellis Act to kick Mary Phillips out of her apartment so the company can cash in on the surging real estate market in San Francisco. The Ellis Act allows landlords to evict tenants if they are getting out of the rental business.

“I’ve been very happy here,” Phillips explained. “I’ve always paid my rent, I’ve never been late.”

Phillips, who is one of many the low-income families and seniors being evicted, has vowed to fight the eviction because she has nowhere else to go.

“I didn’t sit down and cry, I just refused to believe it,” she said. “They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first.”

“Just because of your age, don’t let people push you around,” she said.

[Continued... (http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/10/san-francisco-landlord-uses-loophole-to-evict-98-year-old-who-paid-rent-on-time-for-50-years/)]
: Paul Craig Roberts Interviewed by the Henry George School of Social Science
: Geolibertarian August 19, 2014, 09:25:30 AM
http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/08/16/five-star-interview/ (http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/08/16/five-star-interview/)

Five Star Interview

Andrew Mazzone Interviews PCR

This is an excellent conversation between PCR and Andrew Mazzone of the Henry George School of Social Science. Of all my interviews, this one is the best.

http://www.henrygeorgeschool.org/Smart_Talk_TV.html
: Here's one way to reduce the number of undeveloped lots in Minneapolis
: Geolibertarian January 13, 2015, 06:22:46 AM
http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/01/heres-one-way-reduce-number-undeveloped-lots-minneapolis (http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/01/heres-one-way-reduce-number-undeveloped-lots-minneapolis)

Here's one way to reduce the number of undeveloped lots in Minneapolis

By Peter Callaghan
MinnPost
01/12/15

(http://www.minnpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/article_detail/images/articles/HennepinAveParkingLot640.jpg)
This lot on Hennepin Avenue is the type of property that could see increased taxes should
cities like Minneapolis shift to a land-value tax that taxes the value of land at higher rates
than improvements.


It would be understandable if members of the Minneapolis City Council wanted to avoid talking about property taxes for a while.

A dispute over the size of the city’s 2015 tax levy led to an acrimonious end-of-year debate. Yet not quite a month later, a council committee went there anyway, though in a way that could end up providing more revenue from property taxes, not less.

Last week, the Intergovernmental Relations Committee discussed an idea known as land-value taxation. In brief, it means taxing land separately and at a higher rate than the buildings and other improvements that sit on top of that land. Currently, land and improvements are lumped together and taxed at a single rate, with the building usually making up the vast majority of the total.

“This is an idea that has been floating around,” said committee chair Elizabeth Glidden. “It definitely has had some research and support from academics.”

The local chapter of the group known as Common Ground USA has been quietly pushing the idea throughout the region. Employed in a handful of cities around the U.S. — though none in Minnesota — land-value taxation discourages leaving property undeveloped or underdeveloped (i.e. surface parking lots). Paying more in property taxes for fallow land, the thinking goes, would encourage owners to develop it.

In exchange, taxes on improvements would be lowered under the system, so that developers would not face a disincentive to build or improve buildings. Depending on how it is structured, the system could produce the same amount of revenue as the existing system, or even raise additional money, and could be applied across a city or in specific districts, such as the central business district.

[Continued... (http://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2015/01/heres-one-way-reduce-number-undeveloped-lots-minneapolis)]
: Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’
: Geolibertarian February 16, 2015, 01:12:33 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/business/behind-monopoly-an-inventor-who-didnt-pass-go.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0 (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/business/behind-monopoly-an-inventor-who-didnt-pass-go.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0)

Monopoly’s Inventor: The Progressive Who Didn’t Pass ‘Go’

By MARY PILON
The New York Times
February 13, 2015

(http://static01.nyt.com/images/2015/02/15/business/15-MONOPOLY-JP1/15-MONOPOLY-JP1-articleLarge.jpg)
The Landlord's Game, which became Monopoly, was created by Elizabeth
Magie Philips.


For generations, the story of Monopoly’s Depression-era origins delighted fans almost as much as the board game itself.

The tale, repeated for decades and often tucked into the game’s box along with the Community Chest and Chance cards, was that an unemployed man named Charles Darrow dreamed up Monopoly in the 1930s. He sold it and became a millionaire, his inventiveness saving him — and Parker Brothers, the beloved New England board game maker — from the brink of destruction.

This month, fans of the game learned that Hasbro, which has owned the brand since 1991, would tuck real money into a handful of Monopoly sets as part of the game’s 80th “anniversary” celebration.

The trouble is, that origin story isn’t exactly true.

It turns out that Monopoly’s origins begin not with Darrow 80 years ago, but decades before with a bold, progressive woman named Elizabeth Magie, who until recently has largely been lost to history, and in some cases deliberately written out of it.

Magie lived a highly unusual life. Unlike most women of her era, she supported herself and didn’t marry until the advanced age of 44. In addition to working as a stenographer and a secretary, she wrote poetry and short stories and did comedic routines onstage. She also spent her leisure time creating a board game that was an expression of her strongly held political beliefs.

Magie filed a legal claim for her Landlord’s Game in 1903, more than three decades before Parker Brothers began manufacturing Monopoly. She actually designed the game as a protest against the big monopolists of her time — people like Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller.

She created two sets of rules for her game: an anti-monopolist set in which all were rewarded when wealth was created, and a monopolist set in which the goal was to create monopolies and crush opponents. Her dualistic approach was a teaching tool meant to demonstrate that the first set of rules was morally superior.

And yet it was the monopolist version of the game that caught on, with Darrow claiming a version of it as his own and selling it to Parker Brothers. While Darrow made millions and struck an agreement that ensured he would receive royalties, Magie’s income for her creation was reported to be a mere $500.

Amid the press surrounding Darrow and the nationwide Monopoly craze, Magie lashed out. In 1936 interviews with The Washington Post and The Evening Star she expressed anger at Darrow’s appropriation of her idea. Then elderly, her gray hair tied back in a bun, she hoisted her own game boards before a photographer’s lens to prove that she was the game’s true creator.

“Probably, if one counts lawyer’s, printer’s and Patent Office fees used up in developing it,” The Evening Star said, “the game has cost her more than she made from it.”

In 1948, Magie died in relative obscurity, a widow without children. Neither her headstone nor her obituary mentions her role in the creation of Monopoly.

A Born Provocateur

Elizabeth Magie was born in Macomb, Ill., in 1866, the year after the Civil War ended and Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. Her father, James Magie, was a newspaper publisher and an abolitionist who accompanied Lincoln as he traveled around Illinois in the late 1850s debating politics with Stephen Douglas.

James Magie gained a reputation as a rousing stump speaker. “I have often been called a ‘chip off the old block,’ ” Elizabeth said of her relationship with her father, “which I consider quite a compliment, for I am proud of my father for being the kind of an ‘old block’ that he is.”

Because of her father’s part ownership of The Canton Register, Elizabeth was exposed to journalism at an early age. She also watched and listened as, shortly after the Civil War, her father clerked in the Illinois legislature and ran for office on an anti-monopoly ticket — an election that he lost.

The seeds of the Monopoly game were planted when James Magie shared with his daughter a copy of Henry George’s best-selling book, “Progress and Poverty,” written in 1879.

As an anti-monopolist, James Magie drew from the theories of George, a charismatic politician and economist who believed that individuals should own 100 percent of what they made or created, but that everything found in nature, particularly land, should belong to everyone. George was a proponent of the “land value tax,” also known as the “single tax.” The general idea was to tax land, and only land, shifting the tax burden to wealthy landlords. His message resonated with many Americans in the late 1800s, when poverty and squalor were on full display in the country’s urban centers.

[Continued... (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/business/behind-monopoly-an-inventor-who-didnt-pass-go.html?smid=fb-share&_r=0)]
: America's 11 poorest cities
: Geolibertarian February 28, 2015, 10:59:15 AM
http://www.cbsnews.com/media/americas-11-poorest-cities/1/ (http://www.cbsnews.com/media/americas-11-poorest-cities/1/)

America's 11 poorest cities

BRUCE KENNEDY
CBS News
February 18, 2015

For all its apparent conveniences and perks, city living has never been easy or inexpensive. And income inequality is often most obvious in metropolitan areas.

U.S. Census Bureau data, cited by the Brookings Institution, found that the 50 largest American cities had significantly higher income gaps between rich and poor when compared to cities overall.

And in December, the Census Bureau released its Five-Year American Community Survey (ACS). It aims to assist in the annual distribution of over $400 billion in federal and state funds to communities across the country while supplying those districts with data they need to help plan municipal investments and services.

A California-based online research group, FindTheBest.com, used that ACS data to compile a list of the nation's 33 poorest cities.

Here are the 11 poorest cities on that list.

[Continued... (http://www.cbsnews.com/media/americas-11-poorest-cities/1/)]
: Re: America's 11 poorest cities
: Geolibertarian February 28, 2015, 11:00:36 AM
http://www.cbsnews.com/media/americas-11-poorest-cities/1/ (http://www.cbsnews.com/media/americas-11-poorest-cities/1/)

^^  Notice how Detroit is the poorest of them all, while Pittsburgh isn't even on the list?

Why is that?

Read the following and find out:

http://savingcommunities.org/issues/depressions/wherecrash.html (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/depressions/wherecrash.html)

Where Will You Stand in the Great Housing Crash?

A severe crash is inevitable, but some places will be hit much harder than others.

by Dan Sullivan
director, Saving Communities
February 2, 2008

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsyRhRR5Iu4 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsyRhRR5Iu4) (10 Seconds with Buster Keaton)

Real estate prices must plummet. The value of any land you hold will fall, but how much it falls depends on the tax policies of your national, state, and local governments, as well as the zoning, demographics and indebtedness of your neighborhood. Essentially, places that have moved away from real estate taxes, particularly on land, have the least affordable housing and the heaviest debts. These places will suffer the greatest drop in values. Other factors, like dependence on the automobile, will also affect real estate prices.

Lessons from Pittsburgh in the Great Depression

It should be no surprise that the US city with the greatest drop in land prices during the Great Depression was Detroit, which was dependent on its volatile automotive industry. It is far more surprising, however, that Pittsburgh, which supplied much of the steel for automotive and other hard-hit industries, was able to sustain its land values remarkably well. Pittsburgh's land prices even fell less than those in Washington, DC, where the "business" of the New Deal was booming.

   Land-Value Reduction
            1930-1940


City               Percentage
Detroit                    58.05
Los Angeles             50.01
Cleveland                46.24
Boston                    27.71
New Orleans            26.63
Cincinnati                26.05
Milwaukee                25.42
New York                 20.59
Washington              11.96
Pittsburgh                11.05

Why didn't Pittsburgh go bust like so many other cities? In terms of its industrial base and population growth, Pittsburgh had been booming. By the onset of the Great Depression, it was the seventh largest city in the United States.

The rest of the country had changed its tax policies in ways that encouraged land speculation. Before 1910, over half the total tax burden in the United States had been coming from the land portion of the real estate tax. But with the introduction of federal income tax and increases in other state and federal taxes, the tax burden shifted off of speculators and onto productive investors.

The result of this tax change and of loose-credit monetary policies was an orgy of land and stock speculation. Much of the stock speculation was indirect land speculation, with investors gambling on corporations that were in turn buying up land, natural resources, broadcast licenses and other privileges. Land prices more than tripled in many American cities between 1913 and 1925.

In contrast, Pittsburgh had modified its real estate tax in 1913, gradually shifting its tax burden off of homes and improvements and onto the value of land. By 1925, the tax rate on land values was twice the rate on improvement values, and over 80% of Pittsburgh's total tax revenue was coming from land.

During that time, land prices in Pittsburgh went up only 20%, despite tremendous economic growth and construction in that city. Real estate interests complained that the tax had made Pittsburgh's land undesirable, but those same interests were spared the subsequent collapse.

History repeats itself

In 1978, California put itself in the vanguard of the anti-property-tax movement by passing Proposition 13 (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Gaffney_PTBaR.html), which froze assessments, limited property tax rates to 1% of assessed value, and made it extremely difficult for local communities to increase property tax rates even within those constraints. Rampant land speculation followed. Foreign interests acquired as much California land in the 18 months following passage of Proposition 13 as they had accumulated during the entire history of that state. A construction boom was overshadowed by a much larger real estate price boom, until California had the most unaffordable housing in the United States.

Although Proposition 13 was supposed to make home ownership easier, California now has the most unaffordable housing in the United States. In 2005, the median price of a house or condo was more than twelve times as high as the median annual household income in such California cities as Berkeley, Costa Mesa, Downey, Fullerton, Glendale, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Even in parched, dusty Bakersfield, the median house price was more than 5.8 times as high as the median income.  Compare that to Pittsburgh, one of the most affordable cities in the United States, where the 2005 median house price was only 2.4 times as high as the median income. [see Affordability Ranking, 243 US Cities. (http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/property/affordabilityrank.html)]

California is now 49th in the percentage of housing units that are owner-occupied. Moreover, 79% of California's owner-occupied units are mortgaged, and, where property values have fallen, mortgaged balances often exceed those values.

California has also had the most mortgage foreclosures and bankruptcies of savings & loan institutions since Proposition 13. Some Californians had even taken 50-year mortgages with no payment on principal for the first five years. As real estate prices fell, people walked away from $500,000 mortgages on homes that had fallen in value from $700,000 to $400,000.

Sanity in Pittsburgh

At the end of 1978, Pittsburgh went in the opposite direction from California, doubling its tax rate on land values only. The following year, Pittsburgh raised the land value tax again, to over 2 1/2 times its pre-1978 rate, and in 1980, land tax went to over 2 2/3 the 1978 rate.

Pittsburgh's land prices remained stable while construction levels soared. Fortune Magazine (http://localtax.com/fortune/hightax.html) noted that


        (http://savingcommunities.org/graphics/charts/pghconstruction78-81300.jpg)

Once again, while the rest of the country saw real estate prices boom while the economy flagged, Pittsburgh's real estate prices remained stable while its construction boomed. And, once again, the worst price booms were in states that had moved away from real estate taxes. During the collapse of Savings & Loan associations, the only S&L that went bankrupt from the Pittsburgh area had been making loans in California.

Unaffordable housing invites collapse

As California housing prices collapse and banks try to unload houses on which they will have foreclosed, it will become even more difficult for an ordinary California home seller to get anything like the price he had expected. California's business market will also weaken as businesses will discover that they can save on labor costs as well as on commercial rents by moving to places like Pittsburgh. After all, employees who enjoy lower rents and house prices can live better on smaller salaries.

California is not the only state that overpriced itself by curtailing its property tax, and Pittsburgh is not the only city that kept itself affordable. For example, there has been a major migration from Massachusetts to New Hampshire in the wake of a 1980 Massachusetts referendum that tried to mimic California's Proposition 13. New Hampshire gets two thirds of its state and local revenues from property tax and has no general sales or income tax. It is not a good place for land speculators, but it is a great place for ordinary taxpayers. There are also 18 smaller cities in Pennsylvania that have adopted shifts to land value tax. They also enjoyed construction surges after making the shifts, and they also have very reasonable land prices. One can locate in any of these cities without being gouged by land speculators or tax collectors either.

How did we ever forget?

The lessons of the Great Depression were so severe that people vowed to never let anything like it ever happen again. For decades, banks made a point to only consider the value of improvements as collateral; parents told their children about the evils of speculation; "Never pay more than one year's income for a house," was still the prevailing conventional wisdom as late as the 1960s; and the Shakespearean line, "Neither a borrower nor a lender be," was accorded the reverence of profound truth.

So how did we forget these lessons? The short answer is that we had no choice; our monetary system was designed to collapse unless we as a people suppressed what we had learned and put ourselves hopelessly into debt. The problem is that a growing economy needs a growing money supply, and, almost all new money in the United States is loaned into circulation. If we don't keep borrowing more and more, the system collapses. Sooner or later, however, we reach a point where we not only can't borrow any more but can't pay the interest on what we have already borrowed. That's where we are today.

Hiding from the truth

The news that housing prices would inevitably collapse came a long time ago, but the American people and their leaders refused to listen. As far back as 1960, House & Home, the trade journal of the residential housing industry dedicated an entire issue to the subject of spiralling land prices, with such statements as,


Scapegoating

After almost half a century of ignoring these warnings we can't deny the inevitable any longer, but we still blame every cause but the real cause. "Irresponsible lenders," is a convenient scapegoat, but more and more lending became necessary to delay the collapse until even "irresponsible" lending had to be winked at. The horrendous Iraq War is also an easy target, especially now that the war is so unpopular. Yet that war delayed the crash as well, even though it made us all poorer in the long run. Even our dependency on foreign oil, which will lead to real problems for communities designed around the automobile, is not the cause of the crash itself.

The true cause

The true cause of real estate crashes is the interplay between land speculation and our debt-money system. People who have no reason to hold real estate other than to cash in on rising prices squeeze out home buyers and productive entrepreneurs. The home buyers and entrepreneurs can only compete by borrowing. That's where debt-money comes in.

Banks have been allowed to create money out of nothing and lend it to us. The only limit is set by the Federal Reserve, and that limit has been continually increased to keep one step ahead of the crash. Because policy wonks at the Federal Reserve kept letting debts get bigger and bigger, real estate prices kept getting higher and higher.

Everyone speculates

In the broadest sense, speculation just means looking ahead, and almost anyone who is not living hand-to-mouth looks ahead to some degree. However, poorer people cannot afford to pay extra now for a home that they expect to grow in value. The better off a person is, the more he looks to the future. Although moderately successful professionals usually pay more to live in neighborhoods where they expect prices to rise, they rarely buy more real estate than they are going to use or rent out for others to use. Idle speculation, which creates artificial shortages of land and drives up prices, is a game for the unusually wealthy.

The who, why and where of land speculation

True speculators are basically people who aren't looking for an immediate return on their money as much as a long-term gain. They buy land when the long-term gain, after taxes, looks more promising than the long-term gain from a productive investment. If there is a rentable building on the land they buy, they will continue collecting rent and performing minimal maintenance. However, as their purpose is to sell the property someday, those with really deep pockets avoid making major improvements that a potential buyer might not want. Also, they do not want to spend money on improvements that could be spent buying more land.

Most speculators buy when land prices are going up, causing them to go up even faster, and sell when prices are going down, causing them to go down even faster. The shrewdest buy before land prices start going up and sell before they start going down, but doing so requires other, less shrewd speculators to buy what they sell.

As a local phenomenon, the economic effect is referred to as "gentrification" where prices are driven up by speculation and as "blight" where they are driven down. On a broader level, it is referred to as inflation and depression. However, even broad depressions do not impact all areas evenly. Wherever land speculation had been most rampant, depressions will be most severe.

Where speculators pounce

As noted above, idle speculators look for the greatest gains after taxes. That means that they look for land that is not only headed up in value, but is also lightly taxed. Land near a new airport, highway interchange or other major project is a great prize for speculators, but it's an even greater prize if it's in a state that curtailed its property taxes, such as California, Massachusetts, or Florida. In those states, they can not only buy land in the path of progress, but can hold that land far longer, and at far less expense, than land that is near similar projects in states that rely on real estate taxes. In cities like Pittsburgh and states like New Hampshire, the out-of-pocket cost of real estate taxes discourages speculators from holding as much land or holding it for as long.

Freezing under duress

One of the things that turns a real estate crash into a full-blown depression is the refusal of land owners to accept reality and sell at a loss. They try to wait for the economy to turn around and bring back high prices, but the economy cannot turn around until land becomes available at affordable prices. Often the full-time speculators have already unloaded their property on smaller, heavily mortgaged landowners who cannot recover what they had borrowed by selling. Still, as long as the sellers or landlords demand a higher price than what potential buyers or tenants are willing to pay, the economic outlook will continue to deteriorate.

What to do now

As an individual, you are well advised to minimize your real estate holdings. Sell if you can, because taking a small loss now is better than taking a huge loss in a few years, even if it means paying rent in the meantime.

If you can afford to relocate, central US states tend to be less overpriced than southern and coastal states. Small cities and compact towns are less overpriced than big cities and their sprawling suburbs.

Within those parameters, consider places that rely most heavily on property taxes, and consider the Pennsylvania cities that tax land values separately. Also, high-density locations will be able to provide decent public transportation when oil shortages destroy automobile-based communities, and looser zoning laws will allow the return of neighborhood businesses.

The trendiest neighborhoods within a community are the worst deals at this point, even where real estate has been heavily taxed. Stable, blue-collar neighborhoods with a high percentage of unmortgaged, owner-occupied houses are very good. Neighborhoods with a high percentage of home owners from racial minorities also tend to be better priced because prejudice and past redlining practices have deflected inflationary pressures away from those neighborhoods.

Good local policies

Keep assessments up-to-date. If a location is gaining value, it is doing well and able to pay its share. The locations that need help are the ones where prices are dropping, and good assessing helps by making the tax drop where the price has dropped.

A small, abrupt drop in real estate prices is better than a big, slow decline. Local officials should light a fire under speculators, but also make it as easy as possible for them to sell and for productive investors to buy. If your community has a land value tax option, it should shift other taxes to land value tax. The more precarious the local economy is, the faster it should do so. If you do not have a land value tax option, property tax is the next best alternative.

Start by abolishing any deed transfer taxes and building permit fees. If you have vacant land and a shortage of housing, replace the building portion of the property tax with land value tax. If you have unoccupied business properties, replace any business taxes with land tax. If you have unoccupied residences, replace gross receipts taxes and wage taxes.

If the state will allow you to make per capita grants to people over 65, you can soften the blow to retirees. However, there is no justice in granting special breaks to elderly home owners at the expense of renters, or granting larger breaks to those who live in more valuable homes.

Loosen or abolish zoning restrictions that prevent higher density construction. In a falling real estate market, people are going to locate where they can do as much as possible on as little land as possible. Allowing single-family home owners to subdivide large homes or to take in boarders will also help them stave off foreclosure. Allowing people to set up home-based or neighborhood businesses will also help. Don't create local debts to stimulate development, as there is a danger of monetary deflation, where debts will become terribly difficult to pay off.

In making spending decisions, consider what an expenditure will do for land values, and think in terms of immediate returns. For example, bus service in some neighborhoods pays for itself many times over because people in those neighborhoods will pay more to live where they can work and shop. In other neighborhoods, bus service makes very little difference.

You can best cut government spending by getting rid of economic development authorities, but keep up the general services that both employ people and maintain land values. When government gets overly involved in developing real estate, real estate owners get overly involved in government. It's better to remove obstacles than make deals or create artificial incentives.

Good state policies

Stop using sales and income taxes to fund local services that could be paid for from real estate taxes. Allow local jurisdictions to tax land values separately from improvements and to grant per capita rebates to people over 65. Allow each county or municipality to do its own assessing, but have a well-funded state oversight operation that investigates assessment accuracy, publishes the results, and allows property owners to cite those results in appealing their assessments.

Abolish "clean and green" exemptions, agricultural exemptions and other interferences that attract land speculators and corporate agribusiness. Family farms actually do better in states that tax farmland heavily, because they are more land-efficient than their corporate competitors. See Gaffney, "Rising Inequality and Falling Property Tax Rates" (http://savingcommunities.org/docs/gaffney.mason/farmlandtaxes.html)

Good national policies

National governments can change their monetary systems to prevent housing collapses from expanding into full-blown depressions, but they won't. Banking interests and conservative politicians have brainwashed people into opposing the very thing that needs to be done, while liberals avoid antagonizing banks.

The right way to expand the money supply is through deficit spending. Money that is spent into circulation continues to circulate with no strings attached. This is much better than lending money into circulation and making the public forever indebted to the lenders. While deficit spending is increased, deficit lending can be curtailed by increasing fractional reserve requirements.

Under normal circumstances, the proper goal would be to balance increased spending with decreased lending to produce little or no inflation. In the current situation, however, moderate inflation might be necessary to avoid a major collapse.

Deficit spending does not mean increased spending. Government could decrease its spending and run a deficit by decreasing its taxes even more. As it does so it should liquidate its government debts and help state and local jurisdictions liquidate theirs. Without government bonds to buy, affluent investors will invest in productive enterprises instead. Meanwhile, banks will be hungry for deposits so they can meet their increasing reserve requirements.

National governments should curtail aid to state and local governments, as such aid tends to replace taxes on real estate with taxes on productivity.

[Continued... (http://savingcommunities.org/issues/depressions/wherecrash.html)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: 37 March 06, 2015, 05:25:49 PM
Did Henry George discuss who controls the currency and does it matter?
: Henry George's concept of money
: Geolibertarian March 06, 2015, 06:23:24 PM
Did Henry George discuss who controls the currency and does it matter?

George was definitely a Greenbacker (http://www.webofdebt.com/excerpts/chapter-37.php).

For details, please see the following:

     http://www.monetary.org/henry-georges-concept-of-money-ful/2010/12 (http://www.monetary.org/henry-georges-concept-of-money-ful/2010/12)
: Re: Henry George's concept of money
: EvadingGrid March 06, 2015, 06:52:09 PM
George was definitely a Greenbacker (http://www.webofdebt.com/excerpts/chapter-37.php).

For details, please see the following:

     http://www.monetary.org/henry-georges-concept-of-money-ful/2010/12 (http://www.monetary.org/henry-georges-concept-of-money-ful/2010/12)

Common Sense versus Gold Standard.

I know the Goldbugs would scream that Govt printing press is the ultimate evil, but it avoids some very uncomfortable truths.



: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: 37 March 06, 2015, 07:15:18 PM
I'm finding this topic very interesting...I am reading the beginning of this thread.

I don't want you to repeat a lot, but I'm wondering where to look for how George proposed the actual valuing of the land. So, far I find that the most confusing part.  How is the value determined? And, who does the evaluation?

I like the idea of a single tax based on something more stable than gold or debt...land has some pros I hadn't previously considered. 
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: Geolibertarian March 06, 2015, 11:23:24 PM
I'm finding this topic very interesting...I am reading the beginning of this thread.

I don't want you to repeat a lot, but I'm wondering where to look for how George proposed the actual valuing of the land. So, far I find that the most confusing part.  How is the value determined? And, who does the evaluation?

Rather than repeat what experts on the issue have already posted elsewhere, I'll simply defer to the following link. I understand the basic concept, but it's better, I think, to get something like this straight from an experienced appraiser who's actually been paid to employ this concept in real life:

     http://www.henrygeorge.org/ted.htm (http://www.henrygeorge.org/ted.htm)
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: 37 March 07, 2015, 08:14:55 AM
Thanks for the link...someone has been really pushing me to look into this and I'm surprised I haven't heard of it before.

So far, I like it...although I will confess that, at first, I fell into the category of seeing it as socialist, which you address in one of the first posts on this thread.  I assume a lot of people jump to that conclusion before actually getting around to reading what George had to say...I'm surprised to learn that it is actually quite compatible with capitalism.  Which probably sounds abundantly ignorant, but this is a surprising revelation to me.  I like Ron Paul, but I'm not a "goldbug"...I definitely fall into the "greenbacker" school.
: The Georgist Constitution
: Geolibertarian August 16, 2015, 05:37:34 AM
http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-georgist-constitution.html (http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-georgist-constitution.html)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Georgist Constitution

Rick DiMare Dug this up in his studies of Georgism and Henry George's writings. It was called the Georgist Constitution. He writes:

"The following Georgist platform was adopted on September 3, 1890 in Coopers Union, New York, on the final day of a 3-day convention, the first national convention in Georgist history, and only a few months before Henry George had a stroke that would cause him to withdraw from the movement (though he kept writing important works until he died in 1897)."

"The event was remarkable, as hundreds of delegates attended from nearly every state in the union. It was after this convention that Georgism entered a new phase, one that sought federal and international recognition. This month (August 2015) the movement’s 115th annual convention was held in Detroit."



Platform of the Single Tax League of the United States,
adopted September 3, 1890


Paragraph 1

"We assert as our fundamental principle the self-evident truth enunciated In the Declaration of American Independence, that all men are created equal, and are endowed by their Creator with certain Inalienable rights."

Paragraph 2

"We hold that all men are equally entitled to the use and enjoyment of what God has created and of what is gained by the general growth and improvement of the community of which they are a part. Therefore, no one should be permitted to hold natural opportunities without a fair return to all for any special privilege thus accorded to him, and that value which the growth and improvement of the community attach to land should be taken for the use of the community."

Paragraph 3

"We hold that each man is entitled to all that his labor produces. Therefore no tax should be levied on the products of labor."

Paragraph 4

"To carry out these principles we are in favor of raising all public revenues for national, state, county and municipal purposes by a single tax upon land values, irrespective of Improvements, and of the abolition of all forms of direct and Indirect taxation."

Paragraph 5

"Since in all our states we now levy some tax on the value of land, the single tax can be instituted by the simple and easy way of abolishing, one after another all other taxes now levied, and commensurately increasing the tax on land values, until we draw upon that one source for all expenses of government, the revenue being divided between local governments, state governments and the general government, as the revenue from direct taxes Is now divided between the local and state governments; or, a direct assessment being made by the general government upon the states and paid by them from revenues collected in this manner."

Paragraph 6

"The single tax we propose is not a tax on land, and therefore would not fall on the use of land and become a tax on labor."

Paragraph 7

"It is a tax, not on land, but on the value of land. Thus it would not fall on all land, but only on valuable land and on that not in proportion to the use made of it, but in proportion to its value—the premium which the user of land must pay to the owner, either in purchase money or rent, for permission to use valuable land. It would thus be a tax, not on the use or improvement of land, but on the ownership of land, taking what would otherwise go to the owner as owner, and not as user."

Paragraph 8

"In assessments under the single tax all values created by individual use or improvement would be excluded and the only value taken into consideration would be the value attaching to the bare land by reason of neighborhood, etc., to be determined by impartial periodical assessments. Thus the farmer would have no more taxes to pay than the speculator who held a similar piece of land idle, and the man who on a city lot erected a valuable building would be taxed no more than the man who held a similar lot vacant."

Paragraph 9

"The single tax, in short, would call upon men to contribute to the public revenues, not in proportion to what they produce or accumulate, but in proportion to the value of the natural opportunities they hold. It would compel them to pay just as much for holding land idle as for putting it to its fullest use."

Paragraph 10

"The single tax, therefore, would—

Section 1

Take the weight of taxation off of the agricultural districts where land has little or no value irrespective of improvements, and put It on towns and cities where bare land rises to a value of millions of dollars per acre.

Section 2

Dispense with a multiplicity of taxes and a horde of tax gatherers, simplify government and greatly reduce Its cost.

Section 3

Do away with the fraud, corruption and gross inequality inseparable from our present methods of taxation, which allow the rich to escape while they grind the poor. Land cannot be hid or carried off and its value can be ascertained with greater ease and certainty than any other.

Section 4

Give us with all the world as perfect freedom of trade as now exists between the states of our Union, thus enabling our people to share, through free exchanges, in all the advantages which nature has given to other countries, or which the peculiar skill of other peoples has enabled them to attain. It would destroy the trusts, monopolies and corruptions which are the outgrowths of the tariff. It would do away with the fines and penalties now levied on anyone who improves a farm, erects a house, builds a machine, or in any way adds to the general stock of wealth. It would leave everyone free to apply labor or expend capital in production or exchange without fine or restriction, and would leave to each the full product of his exertion.

Section 5

It would, on the other hand, by taking for public use that value which attaches to land by reason of the growth and improvement of the community, make the holding of land unprofitable to the mere owner, and profitable only to the user. It would thus make it impossible for speculators and monopolists to hold natural opportunities unused or only half used, and would throw open to labor the illimitable field of employment which the earth offers to man. It would thus solve the labor problem, do away with involuntary poverty, raise wages in all occupations to the full earnings of labor, make overproduction impossible until all human wants are satisfied, render labor-saving inventions a blessing to all and cause such an enormous production and such an equitable distribution of wealth as would give to all comfort, leisure and participation in the advantages of an advancing civilization."

[Continued... (http://holtesthoughts.blogspot.com/2015/08/the-georgist-constitution.html)]
: You can’t rent a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in America on a minimum-wage job
: Geolibertarian October 03, 2015, 06:32:08 PM
Once again, Henry George was right, and both his left-wing and right-wing critics were (and are) wrong...

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/you-cant-rent-a-one-bedroom-apartment-anywhere-in-america-on-a-minimum-wage-job/ (http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/you-cant-rent-a-one-bedroom-apartment-anywhere-in-america-on-a-minimum-wage-job/)

You can’t rent a one-bedroom apartment anywhere in America on a minimum-wage job

JIN ZHAO
The Raw Story
May 30, 2015

(http://www.rawstory.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/map-800x430.jpg)
Hours needed at minimum wage to afford a one-bedroom apartment (National Low-Income Housing Coalition)

A new report (http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/OOR_2015_FULL.pdf) by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition shows that there is no state in the U.S. where a full-time, minimum-wage worker can afford the rent of a one-bedroom apartment, Vox (http://www.vox.com/2015/5/28/8679889/minimum-wage-housing-map) reports.

According to the report, the national average Housing Wage in 2015 is $19.35 for a two-bedroom unit, and $15.50 for a one-bedroom unit, while the federal minimum wage remains at $7.25 per hour in 2015, which hasn’t been raised since 2009. In 13 states and D.C., Housing Wage is more than $20 per hour. The Housing Wage is an estimate of the full-time hourly wage that a household must earn to afford a decent apartment at HUD’s estimated Fair Market Rent (FMR) for no more than 30% of their income.

The data from the report show a gap between wages and rents across the country. In no state or D.C. can a full-time minimum-wage earning worker at the federal minimum wage afford a one- or two-bedroom apartment for his or her family. With the exception of just a few counties in Washington and Oregon (where the state minimum wage is $9.47 and $9.25, respectively), in no county in the U.S. a one-bedroom unit at the FMR is affordable to someone working 40 hours a week at the minimum wage, according to the report.

[Continued... (http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/you-cant-rent-a-one-bedroom-apartment-anywhere-in-america-on-a-minimum-wage-job/)]

------------------------------------

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZANYxnkWk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HZANYxnkWk) (Why is the rent so high?)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ZkfmY1PMng) (Ricardo's Law ~ The Great Tax Clawback Scam)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL3n59wC8kk (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XL3n59wC8kk) (Real Estate 4 Ransom)
: Land is not capital
: Geolibertarian October 24, 2015, 10:43:54 AM
As a Georgist friend of mine recently (and accurately) put it: "If land is treated as capital then the concept of 'rent' goes away and rentiers can masquerade as capitalists and cloak their unearned 'rent' income as justifiable profit."

Keep that in mind while reading the following...

http://www.examiner.com/article/land-is-not-capital (http://www.examiner.com/article/land-is-not-capital)

Land is not capital

Robert Ross
Examiner.com
May 6, 2010

This week’s column is about the simple tautology “land is not capital.” To many economists, this may seem so basic it goes without saying, but in my conversations with people I have come to realize that many educated, intelligent people believe that land is capital. For many, the confusion comes from the fact that land is regularly treated as an investment by financiers and business people. But not all investments are capital, and not all capital can be an investment.

This isn’t an irrelevant discussion of semantics. The distinction between land, labor and capital exists because of real differences in their economic behavior, and how the government treats these different inputs has a huge impact on the quality of life of real people. Take mobility for example; labor and capital are mobile, so efforts to tax them will encourage flight.  Tax capital and investors will take their money somewhere else, depriving businesses and consumers the credit and liquidity they need to prosper. Tax high salary positions, as Quinn is proposing, and you encourage top income earners to move just outside the state, avoiding the tax and spending their incomes in Indiana instead of Chicago.

A good way to distinguish between capital and land is by their source.  Capital is stored up labor that yields a return over time. All capital, machines, buildings, cars, roadways, etc. are ultimately the product of human exertion. A tractor that costs $1 million represents thousands of hours of labor producing innumerable products and services. The wages from that labor were not consumed immediately, but instead saved and invested in the tractor, which will in turn produce million of dollars of value over its lifetime. This is the return on investment we call interest, and it comes from the provision of goods and services over time.

Ethically, the owners of capital have a legitimate claim to interest, since it is the value that stored up labor produces over time. Like wages, interest is the product of human exertion, which is the ultimate claim to ownership, and a free and competitive market is the best mechanism to price labor and capital and direct their use. 

Land, on the other hand, was not created by human exertion. In many ways, “land” is a catchall term used to describe anything of value that labor did not directly or indirectly create. It can be land proper, a forest, gold or oil deposits in the ground, a vista, proximity to amenities, even legal rights like licenses or patents depending on your view. A big difference between land and capital is that land is fixed in supply while capital is variable in supply. As we saw before, taxing capital causes capital flight, but taxing land has no such effect, since land is fixed in place and cannot move. Land is not produced, so taxes on land don’t reduce land supply as it does capital and labor supply. And, perhaps most importantly, taxing land does not penalize human productivity as do taxes on labor and capital, so they are ethically justified.

The legal ownership of land, the right to have the government back you claim to landed value, exists for the practical purpose of allocating land to the most productive uses. Society shouldn’t grow corn in downtown Chicago, and it shouldn’t build skyscrapers on downstate farmland because those are not the most productive uses of those lands. Private ownership of land creates a market that rewards smart uses of land and penalizes inefficient uses… supposedly. In reality, private, untaxed ownership of land encourages the opposite; Landowners hold land idle and vacant for “investment” purposes, deriving financial gain at society’s expense without providing value. Unlike capital and labor, which only generate returns by providing services to the community, land generates returns because of goods and services provided by the community. The value of land appreciates for reasons entirely outside the control of the landowner.

The Socialist solution to this problem is to nationalize all land and force individuals to rent from the state. But there is a simpler solution that relies on a competitive market instead of a big central government. A high tax on the value of land would discourage speculation and motivate landowners to “use it or lose it,” either using the land to maximize revenue or selling their land to someone who will.  This isn’t anti-capitalist. Quite the opposite, it encourages productivity by freeing natural resources for the purpose of productive activity. It rewards those who provide a service to others and penalizes those who expect others to provide them with service. In fact, many have argued that capitalism cannot be fully realized without land value taxation.

So the next time you hear people talk about land as an investment, or land as capital, remember that investments produce happiness. Empty lots produce dandelions.
: Enthusiasm for Capitalism
: Geolibertarian October 24, 2015, 10:54:01 AM
http://www.cooperative-individualism.org/brown-harry-gunnison_enthusiasm-for-capitalism-1958.html (http://www.cooperative-individualism.org/brown-harry-gunnison_enthusiasm-for-capitalism-1958.html)

Enthusiasm for Capitalism

by Harry Gunnison Brown (http://www.schalkenbach.org/store.php?crn=83&rn=338&action=show_detail)

[Reprinted from the Henry George News, July 1958]

According to the Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist economic philosophy labor produces all that is produced, and income from property is "surplus value." Its adherents manifest little or no interest in differentiating between the capital which, by working and saving, men produce to aid them in further production and, on the other hand, natural resources, urban sites and tracts of land usable for agriculture, forestry and grazing.

There is, however, a philosophy that does distinguish between capital (http://www.henrygeorge.org/cap.htm) and land (http://www.landandfreedom.org/econ/econ2f.htm) and between the incomes yielded by the one and by the other. Adherents of this philosophy stress the thought that, since man-made capital can come into existence only as there is work and saving, and since capital adds to the productiveness of industry, the private enjoyment of income from capital is a desirable -- and a deserved -- incentive to bringing capital into existence.

But they look with less kindly eyes on the private enjoyment of income from land, purely as such, and favor having an increasing amount of such income taxed into the public treasury. For the private enjoyment of such income appears, to adherents of this philosophy, as a requirement from landowners that others pay them for permission to use the earth. More specifically, they think of land rent as payment required by landowners of the payers for permission to work, live on, and draw subsoil deposits from, the earth or those parts of the earth which geological forces and community development have made relatively productive and livable.

Is there or is there not significant reason for distinguishing between the capital that, by working and saving, men produce to aid them in further production and, on the other hand, natural resources, sites and tracts? Is there, in short, good reason for distinguishing between capital and land?

Surely the rent of land (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm) is in a very peculiar sense socially produced rather than individually earned, and it ought to be sharply distinguished in thought from interest (http://www.cooperative-individualism.org/brown-harry-gunnison_henry-george-and-the-causation-of-interest-1948.htm) on capital produced by men's labor and saving. If there is any kind of return which is peculiarly fitted to be a source of public revenue, it is the rent of land.

Time was when the American Declaration of Independence and the struggle of the American states for freedom from political domination by Great Britain, stirred the imaginations of liberty-loving people in many other countries. Today we seek allies and sympathizers in our ideological struggle against the socialistically regimented countries of the Communist bloc. Will it help us in this ideological struggle -- will it stir enthusiasm for capitalism -- if in the "capitalism" that we practice and urge upon others, we include vast private income derived from charging (a) for permission to use -- and history might have been such as to make it so -- navigable lakes and streams, or (b) for permission -- and this is the way history really has made it -- to work on and to live on the earth?

Professor Henry E. Hoagland has stated that vacant lots are the largest single class of property in American cities. His statement is substantiated by a survey of eighty-six cities ranging In population from 900 to over 800,000, the results of which were published in 1955. The survey showed that approximately 43 per cent of the land area -- excluding streets and water areas -- was held vacant.

When land is held out of use speculatively or otherwise, rents which must be paid for apartments or homes and their sites become higher; thus the purchase price of land -- and homes -- increases. Wherever large amounts of land are vacant all public utility services become more expensive to install and maintain. If our taxes were shifted more largely to bare land and reduced or abolished on buildings and other capital, the building of apartment houses and other dwelling units would increase. Capital, because taxed less and thus yielding more, would flow in, causing rents to fall.

Without understanding the theory of land value taxation (http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=160421.0) no economist can be expected to advise wisely regarding what tax policy is favorable to low-cost housing, slum clearance, industrial development or labor productivity. How shall we account, unless by the existence of an unfavorable intellectual climate among the economics professoriate, for the persistent ignoring, by most -- not, of course, quite all -- of our economists and their textbooks, of cause and effect relations so clear and so significant?

"Capitalism" is under heavy attack in a large part of the world. And the college graduates our economics professors have taught, are but poorly armed against the bombardments of communist and socialist ideology, when they can oppose the optimistically idealized programs of the "planners" with nothing better than the contemporary caricature of what capitalism could be at its possible best. Why have they not been shown the blueprint (http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Andelson_HGRC.html) of a free private enterprise system which would be for many a college student, were it adequately explained to him, an acceptable societal goal and an inspiration to personal effort towards its realization?
: The Economic Consequences of John Maynard Keynes
: Geolibertarian October 24, 2015, 10:56:48 AM
http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_economic-consequences-of-john-maynard-keynes-1983.html (http://www.cooperativeindividualism.org/allen-john_economic-consequences-of-john-maynard-keynes-1983.html)

The Economic Consequences of John Maynard Keynes

John D. Allen

[Reprinted from Land & Liberty, July-August, 1983. At the time of this article, Mr. Allen was one of Britain's leading industrial journalists. He had undertaken a re-examination of the teachings of the masters of economics in the search for a solution to current economic problems.]

MANY EMINENT men have in their day accepted the Malthusian principle of population as a scientific revelation. Among them is the naturalist Charles Darwin, the distinguished economist Alfred Marshall and, of course, Lord Keynes himself.

It was left to Henry George to inveigh against the so-called principle with its plausible explanation of poverty and unemployment among people dependent upon incomes at subsistence level.

John Maynard Keynes, the centenary of whose birth falls this year, had a most favourable view of these theories and the propositions that flow from them. After reading the volume of letters that passed between Thomas Mathus, Professor of Political Economy at Haileybury, and the stockbroker David Ricardo, Keynes gave this opinion in his Essays in Biography:

"One cannot rise from a perusal of this correspondence without a feeling that the almost complete obliteration of Malthus's line of approach and the complete domination of Ricardo's for a period of a hundred years has been a disaster for the progress of economics ... If only Malthus, instead of Ricardo, had been the parent stem from which nineteenth century economics proceeded, what a much wiser and richer place the world would be today."[1]

To Keynes's great regret, the Malthusian doctrine that employment is regulated by the laws of supply and demand for labour appeared to be swamped by the weight of Ricardian reasoning. But this cannot be quite right because Ricardo not only did not dissent from the Malthusian view of wages, he also voiced his admiration for the Essay on Population. "I am persuaded" he wrote, "that its just reputation will spread with the cultivation of that science of which it is so eminent an ornament."[2]

Ricardo's differences with Malthus were over a quite different aspect of economic science -- the principles of rent. Here the Ricardian view has not triumphed. To quote Henry George:

"This accepted (sic) law of rent, which John Stuart Mill denominates the pans asinorum of political economy, is sometimes called 'Ricardo's law of rent' from the fact that, although not the first to announce it, he first brought it prominently into notice. It is: The rent of land is determined by the excess of its produce over that which the same application can secure from the least productive land in use'."[3]

As Henry George comments, the mere statement of this proposition should be sufficient to demonstrate its self-evident character. It may well be that economists have agreed over the principle or formulation of the law of rent. But the Malthusian interpretation of its action is totally different from that of Ricardo and there is no doubt whatever that the Malthusian view of the law of rent has prevailed.

This interpretation, as expounded by John Stuart Mill and most leading economists since then, is that because a greater effort is required to raise the same produce from inferior land, labour and capital is confronted by the law of diminishing return.

To cite John Stuart Mill, it is the law of production from the land that an increase in labour inputs does not increase the output of produce by an equal degree; or to express the same thing in other words, every increase of produce is obtained by a more than proportional increase in the application of labour.

MILL SAYS that this general law is the most important proposition in political economy.[4]

Not surprisingly, other economists have followed him down this road, culminating at the end of the 19th century with the theory of marginal productivity as propounded by Marshall and others.

This centres on the proposition that the wages of every class of labour tend to be equal to the net product of the marginal labourer. This principle is Malthus all over and Keynes draws heavily on it in his writings.

This kind of thinking, where wages are subject to the law of diminishing return, is at the basis of Keynesian economics and indeed the orthodox economics of the preceding century.

In his preface to the German edition of the General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, Keynes says that Alfred Marshall, on whose principles of economics all contemporary English economists have been brought up, was at particular pains to emphasise the continuity of his work with Ricardo's.

According to Keynes, the important contribution made by Marshall was grafting the marginal principle on to the Ricardian tradition.

This in itself is rather strange for it was Ricardo who first drew attention to the marginal principle as the regulator of all economic phenomena. However, if Marshall followed the Ricardian tradition, it is not evident from his writings. Plainly from his own testimony, he was an ardent Malthusian. There was no need for Keynes to wring his hands over Marshall's deviationist tendencies.

Malthus, he stated, by careful study of the facts, proves that every people has been so prolific that the growth of their numbers would have been rapid and continuous if they had not been checked either by a scarcity of the necessaries of life or some other cause, that is by disease, by war, by infanticide or, lastly, by a voluntary restraint.

"His second position", said Marshall, "relates to the demand for labour. Like the first it is supported by facts, but by a different set of facts. He shows that up to the time at which he wrote, no country (as distinguished from a city, such as Rome or Venice) had been able to obtain an abundant supply of the necessaries of life after its territory had become very thickly peopled. The produce which Nature returns to the work of man is her effective demand for population: and he shows that up to this time a rapid increase in population when already thick had not led to a proportionate increase in this demand."[5]

Malthus could hardly have wished for a more able expositor, but those who have read Henry George will know that there are other facts and reasons for this apparent niggardliness of Nature.

Lest it be thought that Marshall was merely summarising Malthus, one more quotation will dispel that:

"His position with regard to the supply of the population remains substantially valid ... it remains true that unless the checks on the growth of population in force at the end of the nineteenth century are on the whole increased ... it will be impossible for the habits of comfort prevailing in Western Europe to spread themselves over the whole world and maintain themselves for many hundred years."[6]

The principle of effective demand turns up as one of the key concepts in Keynesian economics.

This was the established view at the end of the 19th century and Keynes carried it forward, though in a novel form which caught the attention of his generation.

To give him his due, it was a brilliant attempt to re-formulate the 19th century view. And the predictions of the population principle certainly seem to be borne out by rising unemployment in Europe and the state of things in the Third World.

While endorsing the Malthusian approach with such eloquence (for he was a fine writer), Marshall was slighting in most of his references to Ricardo. He accused him of inexactitude in stating the law of diminishing return, adding somewhat patronisingly: "It is however probable that the inaccuracy was due not to careless thinking but only to careless writing."[7]

These are hardly the words of someone who sought to perpetuate the tradition of Ricardo. Alfred Marshall was very much on the side of Malthus when it came to the law of rent.

Actually Ricardo never formulated any law of diminishing return: this was the work of Malthus and the economists who followed this line of thinking.

WHAT RICARDO stated with tolerable accuracy was the action of the principles of rent, albeit mainly in their agricultural application.

These principles brought out the key importance of the least productive site in use, or the margin of cultivation. Time and again, Ricardo refers to the product of the marginal site as the regulator of wages, prices, profits and rents.

The Ricardian marginal principle is that the product of the least productive land in use is the fund from which wages and return on capital are drawn; any excess above this on more productive land is rent. Since prices are determined by the revenue required by the marginal producer, rent cannot possibly enter into prices because at the margin no rent is paid.

This is quite different from the exposition given by Malthus, who asserted that the main cause of the high price of produce was "that quality of the earth, by which it can be made to yield a greater portion of the necessaries of life than is required for the maintenance of the persons employed on the land."[8]

Here is a fundamental difference between the two men: though he admired Malthus for his diligent application to the principles of economics, Ricardo felt it necessary to refute this and other errors.

This part of his book is one of the most rewarding in economics, due to its close reasoning. In one telling passage he says: "Land possessed of very little fertility can never bear any rent; land of moderate fertility may be made, as population increases, to bear a moderate rent; and land of great fertility a high rent; but it is one thing to be able to bear a high rent, and another thing actually to pay it. Rent may be lower in a country where lands are exceedingly fertile than in a country where they yield a moderate return, it being in proportion rather to relative than absolute fertility -to the value of the produce and not to its abundance."[9]

Time and again, Ricardo keeps on hammering home that rent is not a question of quantity but of proportion. Its quantity has no influence on wages, costs or prices. The amount of rent on any site is measured by the product on that site (given equal inputs of labour and capital) relative to the product on the marginal site.

This has been completely missed by the advocates of the law of diminishing return, required to give a spurious validity to the Malthusian approach. This assumes, as Keynes expounded it, that the return to labour diminishes with the increase of employment at a given location, so that the pressure of population or demand for jobs exerts a downward force on wages, until they reach the level at which they are just sufficient to call forth the required volume of labour.

Ricardo, on the other hand, said that with increasing population, the tendency was for rents to rise, implying that the community was enriched by the expansion of employment. This is the correct analytical approach and if it were adopted, it would help us to banish unemployment.

But the Malthusian approach won: Keynes described unemployment occurring when the marginal product of labour falls to a level where its utility to the employee is counterbalanced by the disutility of employment as "voluntary unemployment".

In other words, if men withhold their labour because the return isn't worth the effort, that is their affair. In the welfare state, of course, the missing subsistence for labour has to be supplied from public funds, at enormous cost to the taxpayer. The resulting tax pressure has a further adverse action on the margin.

The surprising aspect of the Keynesian theory is that when men are unwilling to work for the marginal wage (itself determined according to this theory by the pressure of numbers) their plight is regarded as "voluntary".

According to Keynes, the state of "involuntary unemployment" occurs when, even though men are willing to work for a lower money wage than the marginal product would justify, there is insufficient demand for their labour.

Such a reduction in the money-wage would be caused by rising prices, i.e. the marginal wage unadjusted for inflation.

This is close to the economic policy followed by Mrs. Thatcher's Conservative Government, whose Chancellor sees pay restraint as the key to improved prospects for employment.

As Keynes saw it, writers in the classical tradition assumed that "unemployment must be due at bottom to a refusal by the unemployed factors to accept a reward which corresponds to their marginal productivity."[10] Such unemployment, he argues, is merely apparent and this corresponds to a state of full employment.

'This is analagous to Malthus's view that rising prices are due "to the increasing number of people demanding subsistence, and ready to offer their services in any way in which they can be useful."[11]

As previously observed, Ricardo accepted the Malthusian view of wages determination but at the same time lamented the distress of the poor whom Keynes might have regarded as voluntarily unemployed.

However, Ricardo did suggest an easing of unemployment and low wages through accumulation of capital at a faster rate than the growth of population.[12] Here were the seeds of a different possibility, unfortunately killed by the 19th century insistence that industry is limited by capital, and wages are subject to iron laws.

Yet in his General Theory Keynes said:

"The idea that we can safely neglect the aggregate demand function is fundamental to the Ricardian economics, which underlie what we have been taught for a century. Malthus, indeed, had vehemently opposed Ricardo's doctrine that it was impossible for effective demand to be deficient; but vainly.

"For since Malthus was unable to explain clearly (apart from an appeal to the facts of common observation) how and why effective demand could be deficient or excessive, he failed to furnish an alternative construction, and Ricardo conquered England as completely as the Holy Inquisition conquered Spain.

"Not only was his theory accepted by the city, by statesmen and by the academic world. But controversy ceased; the other point of view completely disappeared; it ceased to be discussed. The great puzzle of effective demand with which Malthus had wrestled vanished from economic literature."[13]

If the question of effective demand vanished, it must have been because succeeding economists felt that the Malthusian principle had answered it; when effective demand failed, it was due to the pressure of population on the means of subsistence. Ricardo accepted it, John Stuart Mill elevated it to an economic law; only the voice of Henry George was raised against it. His advocacy of the taxation of land values as a cure for unemployment is obliquely dismissed by Marshall and not even mentioned by Keynes.

ONE OF the great puzzles of Keynesian economics is its total failure to grapple with questions of taxation, notwithstanding the enormous importance of taxation in the modern economy, both in Europe and the United States.

It seems strange that the principles of taxation laid down by Adam Smith, applauded by Ricardo and endorsed by Henry George, should be so completely ignored. They are hardly mentioned by Marshall and, needless to say, by no economist since his time.

Modern taxation is therefore guided by no principle whatever except that of exaction and impost. This, too, is part of the heritage of Keynes.

The completeness of the Ricardian victory is something of a curiosity and a mystery, according to Keynes. But an even greater curiosity and mystery is why the triumph of Malthusian principles should be laid at the door of Ricardo.

There is a big misunderstanding here.

Take, for example, the postulates on which Keynes founds his General Theory. He calls it a general theory to distinguish it from what he calls the special case to which classical postulates are applicable. By "classical", Keynes means the views of all who preceded him including Marshall, Edgeworth and Pigou, those whom he claims perfected the theory of the Ricardian economics.[14]

Keynes evidently meant by the theory of Ricardian economics the proposition as enunciated by Ricardo - that what matters in economics are the laws which determine the division of the product of industry. No law, said Ricardo, could be laid down respecting quantity but a tolerably correct one can be laid down respecting proportions.

This is exactly the principle on which the whole of Ricardian economics depends.

He added this telling comment:

"Every day I am more satisfied that the former is vain and delusive, and the latter the only true objects of science."[15]

If this is what Keynes meant by the Ricardian tradition, he was evidently undeterred by Ricardo's warning that any other kind of inquiry (such as that of Malthus) is vain and delusive.

Keynes's question was: what determines the actual employment of the available resources, which includes the size of the employable population?

This is the quantitative approach so much deplored by Ricardo. He spoke of laws governing distribution of the product, whereas the Keynesian view derived from Malthus is concerned with the so-called laws of supply and demand for labour.

KEYNES attempted to summarise the classical theory of employment in two fundamental postulates.

The first of this is brilliantly simple, the second almost obscure.

1. The wage is equal to the marginal product of labour.
2. The utility of the wage when a given volume of labour is employed is equal to the marginal disutility of that amount of employment.[16]

The first statement is a splendid formulation of the law of wages which classical writers such as Adam Smith sought to express. The marginal product, following the doctrine of The Wealth of Nations and echoed by Henry George in Progress and Poverty, is the product of labour at the margin of cultivation.

As Henry George put it, the wages which an employer must pay will be measured by the lowest point of natural productiveness to which production extends, and wages will rise or fall as this point rises or falls.

The corollary is that wages can never exceed the marginal product which sets the standard of earnings for the rest of the economy. So, on the face of things, the Keynesian formulation is one that could have come straight from the pages of The Wealth of Nations. For as Adam Smith said, the produce of labour constitutes the natural recompense or wages of labour.[17]

But this is not what Keynes meant by the marginal product. He had in mind wages being determined by the law of diminishing return and the theory of marginal productivity. Hence the next postulate, bringing in the concept of marginal utility.

As Keynes himself explained, the argument runs as follows: n men are employed, and nth man adds a bushel a day to the harvest, and wages have a buying power of a bushel a day. That is the marginal product.[18]

Another man, it is argued, could not raise the product by so much; it must be less, say, 0.9 of a bushel.

Thus the marginal product of labour has fallen due to an increase of employment, and this marginal product sets the standard for everyone employed.

Not only that, it will cause a shift in the balance of distribution between labour and employers.

As Keynes puts it, the employment of an additional man will necessarily involve a transfer of income from those previously in work to the entrepreneurs.

What about that for the pressure of population?

This may well have been the view of Marshall; indeed, he advances something of the kind in his own writings.

In reality it is the law of diminishing return and it is straight from the Malthusian tradition of economics. It owes nothing to Ricardo, who merely adopted the prevailing view of the day on wages that the natural level was subsistence of the labourers.

This is Keynes's version of subsistence, for he says that the real wage of an employed person is that which is just sufficient to induce the labour actually employed to be forthcoming. So we arrive at the Keynesian conclusion that the amount of employment is fixed at the point where the utility of the marginal product balances the disutility of the marginal employment.

In its way, this is a brilliant formulation of economic laws at work, except that it means in the minds of today's economists something quite different from what it would have meant to Adam Smith and David Ricardo.

Where the volume of employment is contracting, it should surely be the job of the economist to see how the utility of the marginal product can be improved.

Under today's conditions this effort is weighed down by the huge pressure of taxation on employment, both income tax and national insurance charges.

It means that the price of the marginal product has to be inflated to meet taxation: putting it another way, the cost of the marginal labour becomes too high and the margin is forced out of use.

The Henry George tradition would require easing the burden of taxation on labour and capital by shifting it on to that excess product yielded by more productive sites that the classical economists called rent.[19] This releasing of taxation at the margin has the advantage of relieving taxation on wages and profits, thus reducing the marginal cost of labour to the employer. It also provides an enormous incentive to productive effort.

KEYNESIAN theory has no answer to the problems of rising unemployment and inflation. It cannot produce these answers because it has no theory of taxation. It does not recognise taxation as a factor in the equation, probably because taxation is not a factor of production. Despite what Keynes said, what is needed now is a return to the Ricardian tradition of measuring marginal productivity, together with a better formulation of the laws that govern wages. Keynes's own formulation, that the wage is equal to the marginal product of labour, would be a good starting point if only the marginal product of labour were equal to the wage. This can only occur if it is freed of taxation.

Adam Smith gave the elements of the law of wages; Ricardo gave the elements of the law of rent. Henry George appreciated the force of both these laws and struggled to reconcile them with the return to capital.

In fact, there is nothing difficult about the return to capital. It is simply that part of the marginal product which the employer takes in providing the means of enhancing the marginal product.

But it must never be forgotten that labour generates the marginal product and must be allowed to take its full share.

Taxation can be met in proportion to the better resources of industries better placed. This needs a concept of taxable capacity, measured by reference to rental values.

This would satisfy the first of Adam Smith's rules of taxation, that the taxpayers should contribute to the support of the Government as nearly as possible in proportion to their respective abilities.[20]

Adam Smith was right when he spoke in favour of liberal wages. "The liberal reward of labour, therefore," he said, "as it is the effect of increasing wealth, so it is the cause of increasing population. To complain of it is to lament over the necessary effect and cause of the greatest public prosperity."[21]

This was the approach with which the classical school began, the liberal approach that has been overthrown by slavish adherence to the doctrines of Malthus.

Keynes is only the latest exponent of these ideas and the price being exacted is the decline of the industrial economies of the Western world.


REFERENCES

1. Quoted in Professor Flew's introduction to An Essay on the Principle of Population by the Revd. Thomas Malthus. 1798: Penguin Library edn.. 1982. p.16.
2. David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, Pelican Classics edn.. 1971. For Mr. Malthus's opinions on rent, see p.390.
3. Progress and Poverty, 1879; Everyman's Library edn., 1911,p.121.
4. Principles of Political Economy, Book I. Ch. 12; Longmans Green 1926 edn.. p. 177.
5. Principles of Economics, Book IV, Ch. 4; Royal Economic Society. 1961. p. 178.
6. Ibid., Book IV. Ch. iv. pp. 179-80.
7. Ibid., Book IV, Ch. iii, p. 163. See also the appendix on Ricardo's theory of value.
8. An Inquiry into the Nature and Progress of Rent, 1815; John Hopkins Press, 1903, p.15.
9. Op. cit., p.395.
10. General Theory of Employment, Money and Interest, 1936; Royal Economic Society edn., p. 16.
11. Op. cit., p.21.
12. Principles, op. cit., p. 121.
13. Op. cit., p.32.
14. Op. cit., p.3.
15. Letter to Thomas Malthus, October 1820, quoted in the General Theory, op. cit., p.4.
16. Ibid., p.5.
17. The Wealth of Nations, Book I. Ch. 8: Everyman's Library edn., 1910, p.57.
18. Op. cit.,p.17.
19. The Ricardian definition is assumed here, whereby the rent of land is the compensation paid for access to its original powers, irrespective of any improvements produced by expenditure of capital.
20. Op. cit.. Vol. II. Book V. p.307.
21. Ibid.,Vo\. I. Book I, p.72.
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: pac522 October 24, 2015, 12:37:47 PM
Bookmarking.
: Nuns who help homeless face eviction in costly San Francisco
: Geolibertarian February 11, 2016, 12:53:59 PM
Once again, Henry George was right, and both his left-wing and right-wing critics were (and are) wrong:

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http://www.fox23.com/news/national/nuns-who-help-homeless-face-eviction-in-costly-san-francisco/68818997 (http://www.fox23.com/news/national/nuns-who-help-homeless-face-eviction-in-costly-san-francisco/68818997)

Nuns who help homeless face eviction in costly San Francisco

by: JANIE HAR
Associated Press
Feb 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Sister Mary Benedicte wants to focus on feeding the hungry lined up outside a soup kitchen in a gritty part of San Francisco.

But the city's booming economy means even seedy neighborhoods are demanding higher rents, threatening to force out an order of nuns who serve the homeless.

The sisters of Fraternite Notre Dame's Mary of Nazareth House said Tuesday that they can't afford a monthly rent increase of more than 50 percent, from $3,465 to $5,500, and they have asked their landlord for more time to find a cheaper place to serve the poor.

"Everywhere the rent is very high, and many places don't want a soup kitchen in their place," said Sister Mary Benedicte on Tuesday, in her French-accented English. "It's very, very hard to find a place for a soup kitchen where people can feel welcome and where we can set up a kitchen for a reasonable price."

[Continued... (http://www.fox23.com/news/national/nuns-who-help-homeless-face-eviction-in-costly-san-francisco/68818997)]

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Is there any amount of parasitic rent-gouging that brainwashed ideologues won't shamelessly wrap in the flag of "liberty"?

Apparently not.
: 4 Lessons on Economic Populism
: Geolibertarian March 18, 2016, 09:47:08 PM
http://earthsharing.org/2016/03/4-lessons-economic-populism/ (http://earthsharing.org/2016/03/4-lessons-economic-populism/)

4 Lessons on Economic Populism

By Alexandra W. Lough
Earth Sharing
March 11, 2016

Numerous articles and studies published over the past eight years on the effect of the 2008 financial crisis on the future of America’s “millennial” generation have reached the same conclusion: at its best, the future is uncertain; and its worst, the future is downright bleak.  It’s not difficult to understand why.  While the most highly educated generation of young adults in the nation’s history, Americans born between 1980 and 2002 also carry the highest loads of student debt and suffer one of the highest rates of underemployment.  As a result of their strained economic situation, many millennials are delaying marriage, starting a family, and buying homes—once considered central components of the American Dream.

Despite all this, millennials report feeling “hopeful” about their own futures and that of the country. And many have channeled that hope into the 2016 presidential race, in which recent polls show that young voters aged 18 to 29 are participating in larger numbers in primaries and caucuses than in previous elections.  The two candidates who have thus far attracted the most support from millennials include Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, the so-called “anti-establishment” candidates who have promised to radically transform America’s rigged political and economic systems.  Although they stand on the opposite sides of many issues, both Sanders and Trump employ a certain type of rhetoric called “economic populism,” that decries crony capitalism and especially resonates with millennials and others who have yet to benefit from America’s economic recovery.

Before millennials cast their vote for one or another of these candidates, however, they should consider the modern origins of economic populism and the particular lessons of one of America’s most famous “economic populists”—Henry George (1839-1897). Never heard of Henry George? Think again. If you’ve played the popular board game Monopoly, at the very least, you’re familiar with his ideas which inspired the game’s founder, Lizzie Magie.

In the wake of one of the worst economic disasters in the nation’s history—the Long Depression of the 1870s—George, a middling California journalist, set out to expose and explain why industrial and technological progress seemed perversely to deepen poverty, inequality, and economic instability. In 1879, George published his findings in the aptly titled economic treatise, Progress and Poverty. The work became an international success and likely outsold every other book published in the nineteenth century except The Bible.

More than 135 years later, Progress and Poverty still holds key insights into the polarizing character of American capitalism and helps explain why vast disparities of wealth continue to accompany economic growth. More importantly, George’s ideas—and the amazing story of their life—provide important lessons to those seeking to build a more just and sustainable economic system. George’s ideas not only provide the necessary context for understanding the origins of America’s broken economic system but also the steps for constructing a more just and viable one.

LESSON ONE

The failure to treat land and natural resources as the common property of all people—as opposed to the private property of individuals—perpetuates crony capitalism, accounts for the growing divide between the wealthy and poor, and causes the pernicious boom and bust cycle that has afflicted the American economy since the late-eighteenth century.


Living and working in California in the post-Gold Rush Era, George closely observed the new and perplexing realities of industrial capitalism. Over the past century, human civilization had experienced unprecedented levels of technological development and industrial production. New sources of power including steam and electricity as well as improved methods of transportation such as canals, turnpikes, and railroads enabled mankind to produce and distribute more goods than ever before.

Despite the fact that society could produce exponentially more food, families continued to starve. Despite the fact that the nation’s leading industrialists earned more profit than at any other time in history, workers struggled to support their families. Despite the fact that America’s economy had become larger and more diversified, the nation continued to face worsening financial panics and industrial depressions.

Unlike other social commentators of his generation who attributed these conditions to overproduction, under-consumption, or a unsound monetary policy—Congress had recently passed the Coinage Act of 1873, which drastically reduced the price of silver—George concluded that at the heart of this dilemma was land. As he explained:
By “rent” George referred not only to the monthly fee a tenant paid to their landlord, but to “economic rent”—which economists define as the profit one earns simply by owning something of value, such as land.

George continued:
George defined land broadly to include not just the surface of the earth, but all the materials, forces, and opportunities freely supplied by nature. To George, buildings, houses, farms and other improvements to land represented wealth or capital, whose values could be separated from land. Unlike the value of capital, land value increased not as the result of any effort on behalf of the individual owner, but to the increase in the demand for land as a result of advancing population, the building of a railroad, the construction of a school, or a multitude of other public improvements. In other words, George argued that land values are social in origin, completely dependent on the development of the surrounding community.

The relationship between public improvements and an increase in land values was especially apparent in California and other western states. Following the announcement of a new railway route, for example, land values skyrocketed and investors raced to purchase large sections near the planned route. Speculators made a killing following the completion of the railway when they could sell the land for many more times what they had initially paid. Railroad officials often colluded with speculators to increase the price of land to help finance construction.

Unbridled speculation in land values, George correctly surmised in Progress and Poverty, had preceded every major North American economic panic since the late-eighteenth century.

LESSON TWO

To break the boom and bust cycle and prevent deepening wealth inequality, the federal government should replace all taxes that penalize the working and middle classes with one “single tax” on the full value of land rent.


Prior to the passage of the Sixteenth Amendment, which enshrined the modern federal income tax into the Constitution, Congress mainly relied on public land sales and tariffs—taxes on imported goods—to finance the activities of the federal government. State and local governments raised revenue almost entirely from the general property tax. Both tariffs and property taxes, George pointed out, unfairly privileged the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle classes.

By design, tariffs protect manufacturers by restricting and raising the price of imported goods and materials. Defenders of high tariffs claimed such taxes protected American jobs by reducing foreign competition. Opponents like George, however, pointed out that high tariffs make most goods purchased by laborers more expensive and thus, reduce the true value of wages.

Property taxes also tended to benefit the rich by failing to differentiate between the economic value of land and the value added by capital improvements. In many places, only improved land—that is, land with houses, farms, buildings, etc.—reached tax rolls, while the owner of many acres of valuable albeit undeveloped land entirely escaped taxation. Additionally, the rich were rather adept at “hiding” certain types of property—valuable jewelry, stocks, paintings, etc.—while also convincing tax assessors to underreport the value of property they could not hide—land.

To reduce corruption and more fairly distribute the tax burden, George proposed to eliminate all taxes save one tax on the full value of land minus the value of improvements. As he explained,
George’s proposal became known as the single tax and those who supported it were called “single taxers.”

Through the single tax, George hoped not only to reform the system of taxation, but also abolish the system of private property in land, which allowed individuals to horde resources nature bestowed to all of mankind and profit from the efforts of the entire community. According to George:
Beyond righting a wrong, the single tax promised a host of other social benefits. Taxing only land values would generate all the revenue needed to operate government and doing so would produce ever greater levels of opportunity, as man’s right to the bounty of nature and his desire for a productive life was strengthened. Taxing only land values would ameliorate and one day eliminate the hardship caused by continually bursting bubbles of land speculation. Taxing only land values, George believed, was not just the application of sound public policy, but the acknowledgement of a spiritual duty.

LESSON THREE

The unprecedented popularity of the single tax and all that it stood for prompted the beneficiaries of crony capitalism—the defenders of the status quo—to accept half-measures such as the federal income tax, while at the same time burying George under a mound of lies and epithets.


The simplicity and inherent fairness in the single tax drew followers from different walks of life and from all over the world. In 1886, the United Labor Party selected George as its candidate for Mayor of New York City. In a hotly contested and nationally followed race, the Democratic candidate Abram Hewitt narrowly defeated George, who earned more votes than any other third party candidate in the City’s history. He also outperformed the Republican in the race, Theodore Roosevelt, who placed third.

George was a profound influence on the religious reform movement known as the Social Gospel, both in the United Kingdom and the United States. One of his best known followers was the popular New York City priest, Edward McGlynn, whose outspoken efforts to bring a Georgist solution to the deepening poverty and inequality led him to be ex-communicated—and then re-communicated, in his lifetime and under the reign of Pope Leo XIII.

George’s growing religious influence in Europe and the United States coupled with the McGlynn controversy prompted Pope Leo XIII to issue the famous 1891 Encyclical Rerum Novarum, in which he reaffirmed the Catholic Church’s support for private property rights in land and also reminded Catholics of their spiritual duty to charity and the less fortunate.

Because he campaigned against private ownership of land, George’s detractors labeled him a socialist. In supporting private ownership of capital, however, George was clearly not a socialist. Karl Marx vehemently opposed George and the single-tax movement for misleading workers into believing that landowners rather than capitalists were to blame for their suffering. “Theoretically the man is utterly backward!” Marx wrote of George in 1880.

Despite the economic nature of his subject, George wrote for the common reader. He rejected the idea that one must possess a good deal of formal schooling to grasp the laws of political economy. His lack of academic credentials and increasing popularity threatened a growing number of professional economists who dismissed George’s theories as “half-baked” and “dangerous.”

The widespread appeal of the single tax together with the growing demand to lower tariffs, led many in Congress in 1913 to support a federal income tax. Although a good deal more progressive than today’s version, the federal income tax was a poor substitute for a tax on economic rent. The main problem with an income tax, according to George, was that it failed to differentiate between incomes justly earned and those earned from the labor of others. As he explained:
LESSON FOUR

Despite attempts to discredit George, his ideas inspired a generation of social activists on multiple continents who successfully built the single tax into a number of Progressive Era reforms and programs—particularly at the state and local levels—that continue to provide such basic human services as clean water, electricity, and public transportation to large populations all over the world.


Although the single tax was never fully implemented anywhere in the world, George’s ideas animated many of the most notable social reform movements of the era of high industrialism. In particular, local government leaders of the Progressive Era pulled heavily from the single tax to justify their efforts to raise taxes on public service corporations and transfer the provision of water, power, and transportation from private to public suppliers—a movement known as municipal ownership.

Similar to George’s single tax, which aimed at reclaiming and distributing socially created land values, advocates of municipal ownership targeted the socially generated wealth of public service corporations, which amassed huge profits by providing services required by all residents and using public property, such as streets, waterways, gas lines, and franchises, to do so. As Ohio State Senator and single tax advocate Frederic C. Howe explained in 1907,
In states with constitutional provisions against municipal ownership, urban reformers utilized the single tax in their efforts to increase taxation on the property of public service corporations, particularly that of railroads and streetcars.

The reach of the single tax into such seemingly disparate movements as labor politics, religious reform, and municipal ownership testifies to the importance of land and natural resources to the fundamental dilemma facing democratic society: how to encourage economic growth and provide an equal opportunity to all persons to engage in and benefit from the advancements of human civilization. To George the answer was simple: one tax based solely upon the wealth produced by land—the resource from the time of its creation that has always existed for the benefit of all men.

As the presidential election rolls nearer, young voters might fare well to remember George’s lesson that so long as the government continues to treat socially generated wealth as the private property of individuals, the benefits of industrial progress and economic recovery will not be shared equally; instead, those benefits will flow to those who control the greatest shares of economic rent.


Alexandra (http://earthsharing.org/2016/03/4-lessons-economic-populism/alexandralough.com) (Alex) holds a Ph.D. in American History from Brandeis University. She currently serves as the Director of the Henry George Birthplace (http://earthsharing.org/2016/03/4-lessons-economic-populism/hgarchives.org) and is preparing a book manuscript based on her 2013 dissertation, “The Last Tax: Henry George and the Social Politics of Land Reform in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.” (https://alexandralough.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/the-last-tax.pdf)
: A Tax That Liberals and Conservatives Could Love?
: Geolibertarian March 19, 2016, 10:53:25 PM
http://evonomics.com/a-tax-that-liberals-and-conservatives-could-love/ (http://evonomics.com/a-tax-that-liberals-and-conservatives-could-love/)

A Tax That Liberals and Conservatives Could Love?

How to discourage rent-seeking

By Matt Zwolinski
Evonomics
March 08, 2016

Nobody likes taxes. But not all taxes are equally bad. From a moral perspective, some taxes are more unjust than others – imposing costs, for instance, on precisely those people who are least able to afford them. And from an economic perspective, some taxes are more inefficient than others, distorting economic activity by discouraging work and/or investment.

So, if we resign ourselves to the fact that some taxation is a necessary evil, it’s worth asking the question: what is the least evil way for governments to raise revenue?

In 1879, an American social theorist named Henry George wrote a book entitled Progress and Poverty in which he proposed an intriguing answer to this question: government financing should be derived from one “Single Tax.” And that tax should be not on income, or on consumption, but on land.

By “land,” George meant not just the ground beneath your feet but all natural resources. That includes the dirt on which you’re standing but also the minerals under the dirt and the airspace above it. Anything that exists independently of human activity but which can nevertheless be appropriated and used for human purposes is a natural resource, and the unimproved value of such resources is a legitimate object of George’s Single Tax.

Why is this tax better than any other? George had two arguments: one moral, and one economic.

The moral argument starts from the same place as John Locke’s famous discussion of property, with the claim that each individual is the sole rightful owner of his body and labor. Because George accepted Locke’s idea of self-ownership, he argued that most forms of taxation are unjust – essentially a form of theft. If you own your labor, and you choose to sell your labor to somebody else, no third party – including government – can legitimately demand that you give them a portion of the income you’ve received. To do so would be, in effect, to steal your labor.

But natural resources are not the product of anyone’s labor. They simply exist, on their own, as a free gift of nature. And because nobody created them, nobody has any better claim on the raw value of those resources than anybody else. Your ownership of your body and of your body’s labor does not give you the right to put a fence around a piece of land that your labor did not create, and to prevent everybody else from using it without your consent.

Natural resources, George thought, belong to humanity as a whole, and not to any particular person. A tax on the unimproved value of those resources is therefore one way in which humanity as a whole can reclaim what has been unjustly monopolized by a few, and do so moreover without violating individuals’ self-ownership. The Single Tax, on George’s view, is the only kind of taxation that does not amount to theft.

But not only did George think the Single Tax was more just than other forms of tax; he also believed, like Adam Smith before him and economists from Milton Friedman and Joseph Stiglitz after, that it was more economically efficient. Most taxes have a distortive effect on economic activity. A tax on income causes people to work less than they would if they simply followed the normal market forces of supply and demand. A tax on capital gains causes them to invest less. In short, any time you tax something people do, or anything that is produced by things that people do, then people are going to do less of that thing and produce what economists call “deadweight losses.” But since natural resources are not the product of human activity, a tax on their value obviously doesn’t lead to people producing less of them. All it leads to is less “rent” winding up in the hands of the landlord, and therefore less of an incentive to become a landlord in the first place, at least if all you’re going to do with the land is hold it and charge other people for its use.

Of course, many landowners do more than this. Many landowners use their land productively. They build things on it; they plant trees on it; they fertilize the soil. Insofar as landowners improve the land – or “mix their labor” with it, in Locke’s terminology – they are entitled to something in return for their labor. But what they are entitled to, George insisted, was only the value of their improvement. If you make a $10,000 improvement to a $500,000 tract of land, your labor entitles you to the $10,000 you’ve produced. It does not entitle you to the $500,000 you simply took. By allowing people to keep what they’ve produced – but only what they’ve produced – we both respect their moral claim to the products of their labor, and we maintain a strong incentive for people to use their land productively.

[Continued... (http://evonomics.com/a-tax-that-liberals-and-conservatives-could-love/)]
: Economist Says Most of Billionaire Wealth is Unearned
: Geolibertarian April 09, 2016, 10:31:08 AM
http://evonomics.com/they-dont-just-hide-their-money/ (http://evonomics.com/they-dont-just-hide-their-money/)

Economist Says Most of Billionaire Wealth is Unearned

The concentration of wealth from rentseeking

By Didier Jacobs
Evonomics
April 08, 2016

The 62 richest people in the world own as much wealth as half of humanity. Such extreme wealth conjures images of both fat cats and deserving entrepreneurs. So where did so much money come from?

It turns out, three-fourths of extreme wealth in the US falls on the fat cat side.

A key empirical question in the inequality debate is to what extent rich people derive their wealth from “rents”, which is windfall income they did not produce, as opposed to activities creating true economic benefit.

Economists define “rent” as the difference between what people are paid and what they would have to be paid to do the work anyway. The classical example is the farmer who owns particularly fertile land. With the same effort, she can produce more than other farmers working on land of average productivity. The extra income she gets is a rent. Monopolists also get rent by overcharging customers as compared to what they could charge in competitive markets. More generally, economists have identified a series of “market failures”, which are situations where full competition does not prevail and where someone can therefore overcharge – they would be ready to do the work for less, but lack of competition allows them to make a quick extra buck. Government can alleviate market failures through proper economic regulation; or it can make them worse. Political scientists define “rent-seeking” as influencing government to get special privileges, such as subsidies or exclusive production licenses, to capture income and wealth produced by others.

So how much of extreme wealth derives from rents? It’s a pretty divisive debate, but one that can be resolved with data.

On one hand, Lawrence Mishel and Josh Bivens argue that the income of the top one percent richest Americans comes mainly from executive pay and the financial industry, two sources of income notorious for the market failure of imperfect information between buyers and sellers. CEOs have more information about their company than shareholders and portfolio managers than investors, which allows them to dramatically overcharge.

On the other hand, Steven Kaplan and Joshua Rauh claim that the fast growth of income at the top is broad-based and is better explained by rising returns to talent induced by technological progress and globalization.

Both camps use largely the same data to support rather divergent narratives, and in truth extreme inequality is driven by more than one phenomenon.

Data limitations do not allow us to compute rents anywhere close to accurately. But if I had to give a single number to settle the debate, it is this: when it comes to the very richest Americans (Forbes’ billionaires), 74% of their wealth is derived from rents.

I recently explored this issue in my paper Extreme Wealth Is Not Merited (https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/extreme-wealth-not-merited), and found that American industries that produce more billionaire wealth than average relative to their size share one of three characteristics:
Building on that finding, I calculate that the billionaire wealth generated by these industries in excess of what other industries (considered here as competitive industries) generate represents 74% of America’s billionaire wealth. The table below shows...

[Continued... (http://evonomics.com/they-dont-just-hide-their-money/)]
: How Economists Duped Us into Attacking Capitalism Instead of Rent-Seeking
: Geolibertarian November 27, 2016, 02:20:23 AM
http://evonomics.com/economists-duped-attacking-capitalism/ (http://evonomics.com/economists-duped-attacking-capitalism/)

How Economists Duped Us into Attacking Capitalism Instead of Parasitic Rent-Seeking

Time to resurrect an old idea: economic rent

By Dustin Mineau
Evonomics
November 19, 2016

Have you ever heard of the term “economic rent”?  No?  That’s probably because of the greatest political coup in the history of our republic.  In politics, true power comes – not from your argument – but from the ability to steer the conversation to what you want to talk about and away from what you don’t want to talk about.  The true elites in our society have continued “winning” the political debate by removing a very important concept from the political conversation.

I admit, reading the term, “economic rent” can cause eyes to glaze over quickly.  A more accurate description is “unearned income”.  It is people and companies who make money by doing zero work and risk little or none of their own assets.

Taking Back Adam Smith and “Classic Liberalism”

Many conservative economists claim to be staunch followers of Adam Smith.  They shout slogans such as “Supply and Demand!” “Capitalism”! “  “Let the markets work!”  However, for anyone who actually read Adam Smith, you would note that the “invisible hand” was not his only observation of the inner workings of capitalism.  Adam Smith recognized that many in the economy were making gobs of money, but weren’t contributing anything.  He was referring to what was eventually called “economic rent (http://www.henrygeorge.org/rent1.htm)”.

Smith observed that all production required 3 things.  Land, Capital, and Labor.  A very simple example would be a brick factory.  The building and oven needed to create the bricks are the “capital” – the owners are the capitalists.  The people making the bricks is the “labor” – the people doing the actual work.  The Land the factory occupies and the clay used to make the bricks is the “land” – the owners of the land are the “Rentiers”.  Any money made by selling the bricks is then divided up between these three groups: the rentiers, the capitalists, and the workers.

Adam Smith observed that only 2 of the 3 groups made any real contribution to the production process.  The workers contributed their time.  The capitalists contributed their capital that they either bought, but is now used and worth less than before it was used.  The Rentiers contributed their land, but have lost nothing.  Once the manufacturing of the bricks is done, they get their land back and it is still worth the same as it was before.  Any income they made by renting out their land was made without work, and without risk to their assets.  There is a word for someone that only takes, but doesn’t give back: a parasite.  Smith and those who carried on his work used the nicer term, Rentier. This is where the phrase “economic rent” originates.  It originally described a no value-ad landlord.

Adam Smith and future classical economists existed in a time where the noble families of medieval Europe were still the large landowners.  The nobles had just turned into Rentiers.  Because they owned the land, they were able to rent it out to capitalist and workers and claim a portion of their profits and wages by charging “rent”.  They were able to do this without ever working. It was unearned income.

Much of the work done by economists from Adam Smith until the late 19th century was all about finding and identifying “rent-seeking”.  These classical economists didn’t want to overthrow capitalism, they wanted to free it from the “rent-seeking” parasites.

The Neoclassical School “loses” rent

Right before the turn of the 20th century a new school of economists appeared.  They were later named the Neoclassical school and it continues today.  When the transition from classical to neoclassical occurred, one of the things that was lost was the concept of “economic rent”.  The Neoclassicals started treating land and capital as the same thing and therefore interchangeable.  In a world without land, economic rent no longer makes sense.  Some would argue (e.g. Gaffney’s Neo-classical Economics as a Stratagem against Henry George – pdf (http://www.masongaffney.org/publications/K1Neo-classical_Stratagem.CV.pdf)) that this was intentional.  If it was intentional, it was the greatest coup of ideas the elite class came up with to justify their existence since The Divine Right of Kings.  On the other hand, It may have just been a simple intellectual decision based on their new approach to economics.

In any case, the decision to treat land and capital as the same, haunts us to this day.  If land is treated as capital then the concept of “rent” goes away and rentiers can masquerade as capitalists and cloak their unearned “rent” income as justifiable profit. John Maynard Keynes blew away everybody and what they thought they knew about economics in the 20s and 30s.  In response to Keynesian economics, the neoclassical economists didn’t die, they decided to fight back.  Milton Friedman is the most famous of this group.  To fight against Keynesian economics, he and his contemporaries tried to lay claim as resurrecting the classic school of economics that said “less government is good”.  They even called themselves New Classicals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_classical_macroeconomics).  However, this “revival” of the classical economics was actual a revival of the neoclassical school.  They, like the neoclassicals before, again conflated capital and land.  Therefore, many modern economists no longer make a distinction between land and capital.  They group together income from rent and income from capital and call it profit. This school remains in the mainstream and therefore the concept of economic rent is no longer discussed in our politics.

Rent-Seeking

In the late 60s and early 70s “economic rent” saw a small revival among select economists.  For those select few, “Rent-seeking” was no longer defined as just “ownership of the land”.  It can take several shapes.  Rent-seeking is any income that is unearned. An alternative definition is “profit without a corresponding cost of production”.  “Economic Rent” can come from ownership of land and just “renting” it out for money. It can also come from collecting so much capital that a firm now has a monopoly and can set the price independent of supply demand considerations, It can be from government monopoly granting, control of other “land” like our rivers, broadband spectrum, or “mineral rights” of land.  It can come from control of financial assets like capital gains, dividends, and interest on loans (especially usury). It can also come from political favors from the government.

Political Implications

Economic rent was something I’d learned about in school several years ago and quickly forgot about it once the class was over.  Now in a post bank-bailout world, I ran across it again one day while researching another article, It was like a light-bulb clicking on in my head.  (A high-efficiency light bulb).  This is what progressives are currently fighting against.  This is the concept, the vocabulary, the name for the rage I feel in my gut at what’s happened.  The rentiers have taken over our country by masquerading as capitalists. How did this happen?

It was simple, once the neoclassicals removed the entire concept of “rentier” from the economic, and eventually political, conversation. It was all capitalism and capitalists in their world.  Therefore, now when progressives rail against the unearned income of the rentiers, we lack the vocabulary to properly express what is happening. Instead, conservatives try to make it look like liberals are railing against capitalism itself or against businesses in general.  In some cases we may even come to believe it ourselves.  Many times when we’re fighting against the “excesses of capitalism”, what we are actually fighting is parasitic rentiers that are hurting the true capitalists as much as the workers.

*  When a company has a monopoly and can charge whatever they want, that’s not being a capitalist or an entrepreneur, that’s being a “Rentier”.
*  When oil company’s make “windfall profits” as the price of oil goes up, that’s not profit, that’s “economic rent”.
*  When a drug company can keep the government from negotiating lower prices, that isn’t capitalism, that’s classic “rent-seeking” behavior.
*  99% of the money made on wall street is nothing but pure rent-seeking.
*  Companies lobbying for tax loop holes is just more unproductive rent-seeking.

Fortunately, some well known economists do talk about The Rentiers.  Unfortunately, not nearly enough are.  I’m guessing it’s because the vast majority of influential economists are still neoclassicals and don’t believe land and rentiers exist (http://blogs.ft.com/martin-wolf-exchange/2010/07/12/why-were-resources-expunged-from-neo-classical-economics/#axzz1bgJVDCev). They can try to deny their existence, but when I see the top 1% of the country make more money in one night while they are sleeping then most will make working at their job for 6 months, it’s hard to deny their existence.  It’s unfortunately that our intellectual class “lost” these words and concepts from the mainstream discussion.

So where does that leave us now?

[Continued... (http://evonomics.com/economists-duped-attacking-capitalism/)]
: Inside the shacks, cars, tents and boxes that America's homeless call home
: Geolibertarian December 28, 2016, 09:15:23 PM
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4069570/The-shantytowns-America-Inside-shacks-cars-tents-boxes-America-s-homeless-call-home.html (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4069570/The-shantytowns-America-Inside-shacks-cars-tents-boxes-America-s-homeless-call-home.html)

The shantytowns of America: Inside the shacks, cars, tents and boxes that America's homeless call home

* Mary Lou Uttermohlen captured these captivating images of homeless people across the United States
* Her ongoing documentary series, Structure Out of Chaos, shows how the homeless built shantytowns 
* The series began in 1993 in Miami, Florida, and ended up in New Orleans when Uttermohlen moved there


By DAILYMAIL.COM REPORTER (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=&authornamef=Dailymail.com+Reporter)
December 27, 2016

From Florida to Louisiana, one photographer has captured these captivating images of homeless people across the United States.

Mary Lou Uttermohlen's ongoing documentary project, Structure Out of Chaos (http://www.marylou.us/index2.php#!/5/STRUCTURE_OUT_OF_CHAOS:_SHANTYTOWNS_OF_AMERICA'S_HOMELESS/100), shows how the homeless have organized their lives by building shantytowns.

Uttermohlen told Feature Shoot (http://www.featureshoot.com/2016/12/exposing-the-shantytowns-of-americas-homeless/) that the series began in 1993 when she moved to Miami.

[Images omitted - see original article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4069570/The-shantytowns-America-Inside-shacks-cars-tents-boxes-America-s-homeless-call-home.html)]

'At the time the city was being sued for arresting homeless people prior to public events.

'During the federal court case a judge ruled that “safe zones” must be established where people could eat, sleep and bath in public without fear of arrest until services could be offered to them,' she said.

Uttermohlen said that as a result of the ruling 'shantytowns sprung up all over Miami and across the country'.

There are an estimated 1,200 people living in shantytowns in Miami.

She said that in order to take the portraits she had to 'build relationships and abide by the requests of the community', because a lot of people didn't want to be photographed.

[Continued... (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4069570/The-shantytowns-America-Inside-shacks-cars-tents-boxes-America-s-homeless-call-home.html)]
: Trump Tax Plan To Benefit "Top 1%" ... Middle Class To Pay More Taxes
: Geolibertarian October 20, 2017, 05:41:37 PM
Trump's proposed tax cuts are designed to benefit primarily the parasitic rent-seekers (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/r/rentseeking.asp) (er, beg pardon, "producers") who disproportionately compose the top 1%, not the wage-earners and small business owners who compose the lower and middle classes. Wrapping it in the flag of "Americana" doesn't change that.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-29/new-trump-tax-analysis-shows-most-benefits-go-top-1-middle-class-pay-higher-taxes (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-29/new-trump-tax-analysis-shows-most-benefits-go-top-1-middle-class-pay-higher-taxes)

Trump Tax Plan To Benefit "Top 1%" Most, Cost $2.4 Trillion, Middle Class To Pay More Taxes

by Tyler Durden
Zero Hedge
Sep 29, 2017

Based on what we already know about the proposed Trump tax reform, which can be summarized as follows:

* collapse the seven individual income tax rates to three (12, 25, and 35 percent),
* increase the standard deduction,
* eliminate personal exemptions,
* increase the child tax credit,
* eliminate most itemized deductions,
* repeal the individual and corporate alternative minimum taxes,
* repeal the estate tax,
* reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, tax pass-through business income at a top rate of 25 percent,
* allow businesses to fully expense investment in equipment and machinery for at least five years,
adopt a territorial tax system that would exempt the foreign earnings of US corporations from US tax

... moments ago the Tax Policy Center released its analysis of what the practical impacts of the Trump tax plan will be on the broader population. Below we present the key findings.

The tax plan will cost $2.4 trillion over the first decade and $3.2 trillion over the second dacade, on a static basis

* The proposal would reduce federal revenues by $2.4 trillion over the first ten years and $3.2 in the second decade. This means that absent a matched deduction in spending, US deficit and debt will increase by a similar amount. This is a problem as a Senate GOP budget resolution unveiled on Friday only allows for adding $1.5 trillion to the debt, implying a revenue shortfall of just under $1 trillion.
(http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2017/09/28/tpc%201_0.jpg)

[Embedded video omitted - see original article]

While many Americans will benefit, the biggest gains will go to the 1%, whose after-tax income would increase by over 8%.

[Continued... (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-29/new-trump-tax-analysis-shows-most-benefits-go-top-1-middle-class-pay-higher-taxes)]
: Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
: TahoeBlue November 04, 2017, 12:46:40 PM
it seems the GOP has co-opted the tax reform ... not the trump intension .. it will be interesting to see if  the Pres. Trump will sign it .,.
: What Tax Plan?
: Geolibertarian November 05, 2017, 02:43:14 AM
it seems the GOP has co-opted the tax reform ... not the trump intension .. it will be interesting to see if  the Pres. Trump will sign it .,.

If there's any compelling evidence that Trump fundamentally disagrees with the rest of the GOP when it comes to the general idea of giving huge tax breaks to the usurers and rentiers who largely compose the top 1% (while perhaps tossing a few comparative crumbs to the lower and middle classes for public relations purposes), I've yet to see it. They may disagree on certain details, but little else.

http://michael-hudson.com/2017/10/what-tax-plan/ (http://michael-hudson.com/2017/10/what-tax-plan/)

What Tax Plan?

by Michael Hudson
michael-hudson.com
October 3, 2017

(http://michael-hudson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Screen-Shot-2017-10-06-at-7.53.58-AM.jpg)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTBM2WUrDrw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTBM2WUrDrw) (Trump's Tax Plan Helps Wall Street, Not Main Street)

Transcript

“Trump’s Tax Plan Helps Wall Street, Not Main Street,” TRNN, October 3, 2017.

It should be called the Leona Helmsley tax plan,’ says economist Michael Hudson. ‘Only the little people will pay taxes’.

S. Peries: It’s the Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore.

A general consensus is emerging that Trump’s tax plan, which he presented last Wednesday will benefit mostly the country’s upper classes and corporations. In fact the only people that got a tax increase are the poorest taxpayers. A quick scan of even business press headlines will reinforce what I’m saying. For example, Bloomberg writes, “Tax reform could open a huge loophole for wealthy Americans”, and the conservative magazines National Review has a headline that reads, “Congressional Republicans tax plan isn’t great for Trump suburbanites.” However Trump himself promised on Wednesday that he and the rich generally would not benefit from this plan. Here’s what he said.

D. Trump: Our framework includes our explicit commitment, that tax reform will protect low income and middle income households, not the wealthy and well-connected. They can call me all they want, it’s not gonna help. I’m doing the right thing, and it’s not good for me, believe me.

S. Peries: Joining us to analyze what Trump’s tax plan would mean for us is Michael Hudson. Michael is a distinguished research professor of economics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. He’s the author of several books, and the most recent among them is J Is For Junk Economics. Good to have you back, Michael.

M. Hudson: Good to be here, Sharmini.

S. Peries: Michael. Let’s cut to the chase here. Everyone seems to agree that this tax plan will benefit only the rich. Give us a sense of your main points of why you want to contest this tax plan is beneficial for all.

M. Hudson: Sure. It should be called the Leona Helmsley tax plan. Only the little people will pay taxes. But about the loopholes, the interesting thing is Trump said he wasn’t going to gain a penny, and he may have been telling the truth. That would be true if he’s already paying zero income tax. So his income tax rate is going to go from zero to zero.

That’s about the same for a lot of the biggest corporations in America. Apple, Google, Alphabet, these companies that have been taking all of their profits abroad, trillions of dollars, supposedly, that they’re holding abroad. They haven’t paid any U.S. taxes on this money, because they’ve held them nominally in a teeny little office in Ireland, or the Cayman Islands, claiming that they have to pay hardly any income tax at all.

The misrepresentation here is that Trump says that he can now bring all this money back from these offshore enclaves and tax avoidance zones. The reality is the money’s never been in these zones. It’s been in America all the time. Apple, Google and rich real estate companies simply hold all this “foreign” money in an American bank, but in the name of the foreign affiliate, an office registered in Panama or some other offshore enclave.

So there’ll be zero effect on the balance of payments, but it will lock in their zero rate, enabling them to have avoided taxes for over a decade. I think 2004 was the last such tax holiday. They’ll bring them all back now, without having to pay much tax at all.

S. Peries: Michael, another method that wealthy individuals and companies can use to avoid paying taxes is deducting investment expenses. Tell us how this works.

M. Hudson: If you look at the real estate sector’s loopholes, since World War II the National Income and Product Accounts (NIPA) report that real estate is hardly paying any income tax at all. If you own a building and you’re an absentee owner – not living there, not a homeowner, but absentee owners – they avoid paying any income tax because they don’t earn any reportable income. They pay interest, which is a tax-deductible expense, or they pretend – under the accounting rules that their lobbyists have bought from Washington – that the buildings actually are depreciating in value, even while the price is soaring. It’s going way up, they don’t have to pay an income tax. Then finally, when they die neither their estate nor their heirs have to pay any capital gains. The heirs get it without having to pay any tax.

The richest people have to pay an estate tax, but that’s being knocked out also. I think that everybody, as you pointed out, who’ve looked at the tax plan, says, “All the benefits are at the top. Where’s the benefit for the low-income people?”

Well, the wage earners are going to have to pay more tax. The minimum tax rate is actually raised from 10% to 12%. Also, people who live in Democratic states, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California and so forth, will not be able to subtract the state and local taxes that they’ve been deducting from their taxable income all these years. So the tax rate for wage earners, for people who actually have to file tax forms and declare an income, is actually going to go up. The economy is going to be made poorer.

S. Peries: Now, Trump and his supporters argue that tax reductions will make the U.S. more competitive, and it will lead to more investment. In an earlier interview that we had with Dean Baker, he points out that historically this has not happened when taxes on corporations and on the wealthy were reduced. So if it does not lead to more investment, what do the corporations do with this additional untaxed income?

M. Hudson: They’re going to do the same thing they’ve done with 92% of corporate earnings in the last decade. They’re going to pay it out as higher dividends, pushing up the stock price, and most of all they’re going to use the money for stock buybacks. They’re going to buy back their stocks to raise the price. They are not going to invest.

The reason you would invest would be to sell more goods to the market and expand the economy. But most corporations, and certainly Wall Street, know that the game is over. The economy has not grown since 2008, except for the financial sector and the real estate sector. That is, except for the richest 5%. For 95% of Americans the economy has shrunk, just like it’s shrinking in Europe.

Corporations know this and say, “There’s only one thing we can do, now that the game is over and the economies are shrinking. We’re going to take the money and run. We’re going to pay all the tax cuts we get and give it to our stockholders.”

S. Peries: What are the consequences of this for us?

M. Hudson: It means the class war is back in business with a vengeance. But I don’t think it’s going to go through. There is no way that a group of Republican senators are really going to commit political suicide by actually voting for this plan, any more than they voted for Trump’s medical health plan revoking Obamacare.

What this is really doing politically though, is driving a stake through the heart of the Democratic party. The Democrats are so sure that the kerfuffle over this tax plan is going to backfire against the Republicans that the knives are out. They’re fighting like they’ve never fought before against the supporters of Bernie Sanders, against Elizabeth Warren. The Wall Street-Hillary, wing of the Democratic party says, “Now we’re going to win the election. We don’t need Bernie supporters. We don’t need the working class. We can form an even more right-wing party than Hillary had and what her program was.”

Obviously the Bernie supporters and the bulk of the Democratic party are not going to go along with the heads of the national committee. It’s going to probably split the Democratic party, because the way in which politicians are opposing the tax plan is on the ground that it’s going to vastly increase the budget deficit if it passes. Just like the Reagan and Bush tax cuts quadrupled the national debt. So the Democrats who are arguing against the Trump plan are budget hawks. They’re saying, “A deficit is bad.”

Now, as you know from the people you have on this program, like my colleague Bill Black and the Modern Monetary Theorists, we were all in favor of having the government run a budget deficit if it pumps money into the economy, if it leads to more investment, if it employs more people. But in this case the deficit isn’t going to pump money into the “real” economy. It’s only going to pump money into Wall Street, and the money is going to be used just to push up stock prices, push up bond prices, and push up real estate prices and trophies for the rich. It’s the opposite of the kind of deficit that we’ve been urging all along.

So you’re going to have a lot of junk economic theories on the Democratic side opposing the junk economic theories on the Republican side. They’re claiming that this is trickle-down economics and supply-side economics, but the people who originally introduced supply-side economics under Reagan, people like Craig Roberts, have denounced the Trump plan, saying, that this is a travesty of supply-side economics, because all it does is supply more money to the richest 1%. It supplies more money to Wall Street, not to the economy at large. That’s what really should be brought out. I know that you’re bringing it out, but certainly the mainstream press is not emphasizing this.

[Continued... (http://michael-hudson.com/2017/10/what-tax-plan/)]
: As renters struggle to pay the bills, landlords and speculators cash in
: Geolibertarian November 06, 2017, 11:01:04 AM
This, for the millionth time, is why Henry George was right, and why both his left-wing and right-wing critics were (and remain) wrong:

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-housing-profiteers-20171104-story.html (http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-housing-profiteers-20171104-story.html)

As renters struggle to pay the bills, landlords and speculators cash in

By Steve Lopez
LA Times
November 04, 2017

Renita Barbee, 52, has begun packing up the belongings in her rented South Los Angeles home. She was trying hard to hold her composure as she told her story the other day. But at times, her eyes filled.

“When I found this place, I fell in love,” said Barbee, who moved into the three-bedroom, two-bath brown stucco home four years ago with her husband, daughter and mother.

But the latest monthly rent increase will take her to roughly $500 more than she paid when she moved in, and the L.A. city dispatcher said she can’t handle that despite a decent annual salary of about $78,000.

“We just don’t have the money to pay it,” said Barbee, who’s not sure where the family will find something affordable. Her husband, a plumber, has had two strokes and her mother, whose Social Security check helped pay the bills, just died.

Barbee and her family are among the thousands of losers in California’s real estate economy, as rents rise way faster than wages, displacing low- and middle-income families and transforming neighborhoods in a way that one observer called “white flight reversal.”

But not everyone is losing.

When neighborhoods gentrify and rents and property values spike, landlords, developers and speculators cash in.

[Continued... (http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-lopez-housing-profiteers-20171104-story.html)]
: A "middle class" tax cut, huh? Yeah, right!
: Geolibertarian December 22, 2017, 10:42:58 AM
Zero Hedge got it right months ago: the Republican tax bill is, indeed, primarily a tax cut for the top 1% (which, as I've been saying for years, is composed disproportionately -- not of "producers" -- but of parasitic rent-extractors (http://michael-hudson.com/2016/08/finance-is-not-the-economy/)).

Those who blindly insist that this regressive bill benefits primarily "the middle class" and "working families" are (to put it mildly) as gullible and naive as Obama supporters were when they blindly insisted that the passage of Obamacare meant that health care was going to become more "affordable" for the average American.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16791174/republican-tax-bill-congress-conference-tax-policy-center (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16791174/republican-tax-bill-congress-conference-tax-policy-center)

The Republican tax bill got worse: now the top 1% gets 83% of the gains

In its last year, the bill raises taxes on more than 53 percent of Americans.

By Dylan Matthews
Vox
Dec 18, 2017

By 2027, more than half of all Americans — 53 percent — would pay more in taxes under the tax bill agreed to by House and Senate Republicans, a new analysis (http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/distributional-analysis-conference-agreement-tax-cuts-and-jobs-act) by the Tax Policy Center finds. That year, 82.8 percent of the bill’s benefit would go to the top 1 percent, up from 62.1 under the Senate bill.

And even in the first years of the bill's implementation, when it’s an across-the-board tax cut, the benefits of the law would be heavily concentrated among the upper-middle and upper-class Americans, with nearly two-thirds of the benefit going to the richest fifth of Americans in 2018.

(https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/DcJlCDz2l171MorjPO9R__8K2p0=/800x0/filters:no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/9892245/tpc1.png)

The paper is the first rigorous analysis of who wins and loses under the bill as agreed to in conference committee. House and Senate negotiators agreed to a number of changes in the bill, most notably lowering the top income tax rate for individuals to 37 percent from its current level of 39.6 percent. The analysis does not include an additional cost of the legislation: its repeal of the individual mandate, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates could cause as many as 13 million fewer people to have health insurance, reducing federal spending for poor and middle-class Americans’ health insurance by $338 billion over 10 years. That worsens the bill’s distribution for the poor and middle class.

Almost all provisions of the bill, with the exception of the reduction in the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, are temporary, expiring at the end of 2025. One exception is the adoption of a new slower-growing inflation measure to adjust tax brackets, a change that effectively raises taxes over time and helps pay for the permanent corporate rate cut. Since corporate rate cuts mostly help Americans rich enough to own stock, that means that in 2027, poor and middle-class Americans would see a very mild tax increase on average:

[Continued... (https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/18/16791174/republican-tax-bill-congress-conference-tax-policy-center)]
: Re: A "middle class" tax cut, huh? Yeah, right!
: TahoeBlue December 27, 2017, 12:14:36 PM
yeah is always sad ... the trickle down meme continues ...
Oh this is globalization continued ... corporate tax rates in the US are now to be normalized to the globalist agreed level ! ..

Now that US capital has been moved to all the other globalist controlled countries and the meltdown of US industry is complete ,,, Trump comes to at least stem the tide ... without any incentive to return the 10 trillion that is off shore  ...

Then also is the move to the flat tax for the little people in stealth mode with the doubling of the standard deduction and removing deductions .

as far as I can tell my fed taxes will be higher in the future ...

Oh and don't get me started on the whole global  corporate accounting in the world to day ...
Do you trust Author Anderson or KPMG  global  accounting  ?   geez

How much does oil really cost .?

How much does Google really make ?

What are the real profits of these pirates ?


Zero Hedge got it right months ago: the Republican tax bill is, indeed, primarily a tax cut for the top 1% (which, as I've been saying for years, is composed disproportionately -- not of "producers" -- but of parasitic rent-extractors (http://michael-hudson.com/2016/08/finance-is-not-the-economy/)).

Those who blindly insist that this regressive bill benefits primarily "the middle class" and "working families" are (to put it mildly) as gullible and naive as Obama supporters were when they blindly insisted that the passage of Obamacare meant that health care was going to become more "affordable" for the average American.

...