Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections

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Offline Geolibertarian

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Political Parties and Taxation
« Reply #80 on: May 10, 2012, 03:08:59 AM »
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/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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Proposition 13
« Reply #81 on: 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

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.

  • Housing prices have soared as a direct result.
  • Homeownership, which is among the lowest of all the states in the US, increased among those who in 1978 were of prime homeowning age and dropped among all younger age groups.
  • Commercial properties, which change hands infrequently, are paying a lower share of property taxes because of Proposition 13's protections.
  • Young homebuyers pay both huge mortgages and high property taxes, often supplemented by parcel taxes which weigh equally on owners of poorly located cottages and huge apartment complexes — and then, they and California's tenants, who are a large share of the population, also are faced with sales and other taxes.

The negative effects are wide-ranging. The injustices produced and the large land fortunes protected, are directly related.

[Continued...]


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 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...]

---------------------------
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline africknamerican

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #82 on: 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.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #83 on: 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

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=CG6mkodioOc
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline bento

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #84 on: 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.
We are all the sum of our tears. Too little and the ground is not fertile, and nothing can grow there. Too much and the best of us is washed away.

Offline Geolibertarian

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A Critique of a Critique of Georgism
« Reply #85 on: June 17, 2012, 03:29:38 AM »
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold772.htm

A Critique of a Critique of Georgism

by Fred E. Foldvary
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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: A Critique of a Critique of Georgism
« Reply #86 on: 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 will, if desperate enough, turn reality on its head in order rationalize economic free-riding by rent-seeking 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
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline freedom_commonsense

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #87 on: 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.

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #88 on: 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.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #89 on: 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.

Quote
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."

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline freedom_commonsense

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #90 on: 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.

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #91 on: 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.

* cat  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.

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William F. Buckley talks about Georgism
« Reply #92 on: 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
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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The Single Tax: A Refutation of a "Refutation"
« Reply #93 on: June 23, 2012, 12:31:38 AM »
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:

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

The Single Tax: A Refutation of Wendy McElroy's "Refutation"

by Dan Sullivan
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

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

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

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.

-----------------------------
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline africknamerican

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #94 on: 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.




Offline africknamerican

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Re: The Single Tax: A Refutation of a "Refutation"
« Reply #95 on: 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.


 

Offline freedom_commonsense

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #96 on: 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...

Offline TahoeBlue

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #97 on: July 11, 2012, 04:30:26 PM »
I wonder what Teddy's property tax is?

http://www.tedturner.com/ranches.asp


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....

Quote
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.
Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #98 on: 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 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, this and this) upon which monarchies and oligarchies invariably and desperately rely for their very existence?
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline TahoeBlue

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Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole ; He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. - Job 5

Offline Geolibertarian

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Rising rents leave a generation caught in the ‘Rent Trap’
« Reply #100 on: January 31, 2013, 02:40:58 PM »
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

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.



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...]
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline freedom_commonsense

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #101 on: 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...

Offline africknamerican

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #102 on: 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


Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #103 on: 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 types who unfortunately dominate the "liberty" movement, it's a trillion times more morally offensive to tax the publicly-created value of land than it is to tax the privately-created values of labor and capital, 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% 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

Dan put it best when he wrote:

    "Marx's biggest error was to suppose that society could be improved by grand design: that the solution was to impose a new order, rather than to abolish privileges embedded in the existing order. His scheme actually rescued the aristocracy he had condemned, as it required an aristocracy to run it, and it pitted labor against capital, when, in fact, true capital is nothing more than the fruits of labor, and is a natural ally of labor against privilege....

    "The errors of anti-Marxists derive mostly from overreaction -- from denying whatever Marx asserted, replacing Marxist half-truths with equally false anti-Marxist half-truths. Often, in so doing, they fall into the trap of accepting underlying Marxist assumptions....

    "While Marx treated land as capital to attack it, anti-Marxists treat land as capital to defend it. This not only accepts the Marxist redefinition of capital, but causes anti-Marxists to say absurd things about land that make sense only with regard to true capital.

    "Buying into the Marxist equation of wealth and privilege, anti-Marxists defend privilege as if it were wealth. They do this with regard not only to land, but to banking, incorporation, franchises, the overextension of patents, etc. While there are sometimes glimmers of theoretical distinctions, there is a near constant defense of those parties whose wealth comes almost entirely from capitalized privilege, and only minimally from true capital. Such errors defy logic, are inconsistent with classical liberalism, and are intuitively rejected by the unindoctinated....

    "The true opposite of collectivism is not neoconservatism, but classical liberalism. The opposite of collective rights is not private rights purchased from the collective, but of common rights that precede the collective. The answer to attacking property as if it were privilege is not to defend privilege as if it were property, but to clearly distinguish between property and privilege. Most importantly, the answer to Marxist mythology is not to react with an anti-Marxist mythology, but to begin with principles of liberty and follow them wherever they might lead."

"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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New York’s Homelessness Worst Since The Great Depression
« Reply #104 on: March 06, 2013, 04:09:35 PM »
Despite unprecented levels of labor-saving technology and aggregate wealth, the privilege-induced rent-wage gap continues to paradoxically create the deepest levels of poverty precisely where wealth most abounds -- just as Henry George said it would:

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

http://www.prisonplanet.com/new-yorks-homelessness-worst-since-the-great-depression.html

New York’s Homelessness Worst Since The Great Depression

Zero Hedge
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, 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.



Via WSJ,

[Continued...]

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

And what does the Keynesian-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 and capital to death while leaving the publicly-created value of land 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-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 even wider than it already is -- and thereby make the society-destroying wealth-and-income gap 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!



How much more ridiculously concentrated must wealth and income become in the hands of a privileged few before a critical mass of people finally awaken to the fact that Democrat-vs.-Republican is not the only "false paradigm"?
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #105 on: 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
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #106 on: 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.

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Taxes, from Best to Worst
« Reply #107 on: June 13, 2013, 01:27:03 PM »
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 are, in effect, using public air and water 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 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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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http://www.progress.org/2013/queeneng.htm



What Labor Does She Perform to Deserve This?


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

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 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. 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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Rent 'unaffordable' for low-income families in third of UK
« Reply #109 on: July 15, 2013, 05:56:40 AM »
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



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, 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 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 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://kaalvtn.blogspot.co.uk/p/index.html

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

http://savingcommunities.org/docs/churchill.winston/landandincometaxes.html
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Gentrification
« Reply #110 on: July 28, 2013, 02:12:52 PM »
http://www.progress.org/fold149.htm



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 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 and sales, 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 to land rent, excluding the rental return to improvements. That would raise wages and at the same time lower land costs, making it more affordable 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 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).

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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: Gentrification
« Reply #111 on: July 28, 2013, 02:20:45 PM »
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.


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.


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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Casino Capitalism
« Reply #112 on: July 30, 2013, 09:06:52 AM »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmsyoWCsxRY (Treason Part 1: Casino Capitalism)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Can an LVT Save Us?
« Reply #113 on: July 30, 2013, 01:23:49 PM »
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 (see 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 (Shepheard-Wallwyn Limited, 2012) provides an exhaustive update of George’s original work.

As Winston Churchill 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 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. The capitalistic funding model in itself isn’t the primary source of our major economic and social problems.

The Concept of Economic Rents



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 includes unearned profit gained from selling land that has increased in value (often due to land speculation). A “rent-seeker” 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, 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 -- Connecticut, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, 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.
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Study: Record Number 21 Million Young Adults Living With Parents
« Reply #114 on: August 03, 2013, 10:19:38 AM »
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.
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
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline freedom_commonsense

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #115 on: 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.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Introducing the Land Value Tax
« Reply #116 on: 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 to the ridiculously false Austrian-vs.-Keynesian-vs.-Marxist paradigm...

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTxyNQ0ea-k (Introducing the Land Value Tax)
"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline jerryweaver

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #117 on: 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.



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.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #118 on: 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



"Abolish all taxation save that upon land values." -- Henry George

"If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill." -- Thomas Edison

http://schalkenbach.org
http://www.monetary.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline jerryweaver

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #119 on: 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.