Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections

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Offline iclozm

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #40 on: September 21, 2010, 04:54:41 pm »
So you want tax-free speculative gains on land? This is the very problem the LVT tries to address. The fact is none of us created the land to begin with so why compare it to something man made like shares in a corporation?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah and the State of California issues IOU's.

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

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

If it can be taxed you don't own it! It's just the illusion of ownership. Property must be free of any claim (reoccuring tax, fee, association, or any other).
"The status quo is rationalized by a complacent majority, which refuses to see the obvious: that the state is nothing but an illusion created by a minority to live at others' expense." Dr. Jesus Huerta De Soto

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Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #41 on: September 22, 2010, 12:55:35 pm »
That would be like telling someone who purchased a stock that did well that they owe extra for capital gains because they made a profitable decision.

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

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

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

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

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

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I'm still not buying LVT personally.

And I'm still not buying the Austrian School's discredited argument against it, so we'll simply have to agree to disagree.
"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

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Offline birther truther tenther

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #42 on: October 22, 2010, 12:58:24 am »
bump

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

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

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

Environmental destruction would be off the charts, outdoor recreation would be considered trespassing, and we would all be serfs renting from the elite, and all working for unaccountable monopolized mega-corporations if the Austrian School had their way.

Offline africknamerican

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #43 on: October 30, 2010, 03:14:28 pm »
bump

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

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

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

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

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

It's to the mutual benefit of landowners (most of all the really really big ones) and the banks.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Thanksgiving Day - the True Story
« Reply #44 on: November 23, 2010, 02:47:46 pm »
http://www.progress.org/fold65.htm

Thanksgiving Day - the True Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "The experience that has had in this common course and condition, tried sundrie years, and that amongst Godly and sober men, may well evince the Vanities of the conceit of Plato's and other ancients, applauded by some of later times; that the taking away of propertie, and bringing into commone wealth, would make them happy and flourishing, as if they were wiser than God."

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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving Day should be remembered not just as a day when we give thanks for our abundance, but more deeply and historically when we recall why we have this abundance. In our Thanksgiving Day celebrations, let us therefore tell one another the true origins of the thanksgiving and the great economic lesson that it rightfully should remember.
"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

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Offline Geolibertarian

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"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #46 on: February 15, 2011, 02:50:34 pm »
I just heard Alex and Paul Craig Roberts talk about how "land speculators" are artificially driving up the price of farm land.

I hope everyone realizes that this is the inevitable result of not having Henry George's Single Tax in place.

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



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

The root cause, says Henry George, is the speculative rise of land prices, which cuts into the earnings of labor and capital. Land rents and prices rise at a faster rate than general economic growth, because of two unavoidable facts:

  • Land is fixed in supply.
  • Land is needed for all production.

When sufficient numbers of workers and capitalists cannot afford to produce at the higher rents brought about by growth and speculation, production begins to stop.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This has several results:

  • Many are screened out by the increased need for credit.
  • Rising land value becomes part of the incentive to build. It can't go up forever. When it levels off at a high level, it becomes a serious drag. When it starts falling, it is worse.
  • Land value becomes collateral; its wild swings destabilize credit and money.
  • A lot of land is unused, (or run down in its present use), as the holder waits for a possible higher use that never materializes. In and after a crash, bid prices for land fall, but asking prices stay high, so sales drop like a stone. This behavior is inconsistent with the premises of the "rational expectations" theorists, but is good history: it has been extensively documented, over several giant cycles of boom and crash.

Land Speculation and Inflation?



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

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

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

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

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

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

[Continued...]

------------------------------
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Rebuttal to Arguments Against Land Value Taxation
« Reply #47 on: February 28, 2011, 01:34:48 pm »
http://www.progress.org/2011/fold706.htm

Rebuttal to Arguments Against Land Value Taxation

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

On 18 October 2010 I wrote on "Arguments Against Land Value Taxation" (to see it, click here ). I now provide the rebuttals.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15. Critics of LVT claim that property ownership promotes civil values and stability. This has been disputed, but if true, the ownership of one’s human capital, future wages, buildings, and personal property should provide similar benefits.

For more detailed rebuttals, read the book Critics of Henry George.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Mass Privatization as the "Final Stage" of Neoliberal Doctrine
« Reply #48 on: March 14, 2011, 11:01:29 am »
http://www.globalresearch.ca/wisconsin-death-trip-mass-privatization-as-the-final-stage-of-neoliberal-doctrine/23664

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

by Prof Michael Hudson and Prof Jeffrey Sommers



Global Research
March 12, 2011

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

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

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

Fast-forward to Scott Walker today. Representing a new breed apart from Wisconsin's earlier Republicans, he is seeking to re-birth the asset-grabbing Gilded Age. A plague of rent-seekers is seeking quick gains by privatizng the public sector and erecting tollbooths to charge access fees to roads, power plants and other basic infrastructure.

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

But who is one to steal from? Most wealth in history has been acquired either by armed conquest of the land, or by political insider dealing, such as the great US railroad land giveaways of the mid 19th century. The great American fortunes have been founded by prying land, public enterprises and monopoly rights from the public domain, because that's where the assets are to take.

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

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

[Continued...]
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #49 on: April 07, 2011, 04:23:11 pm »
http://www.savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/landvalue/

Land Value Tax

Conventional property tax falls mostly on improvements.

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

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



Land value tax (LVT) untaxes improvements

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

LVT is easier to assess

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

LVT fosters honesty

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

Location, location, location

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

Most home owners pay less

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

LVT encourages growth

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

LVT helps small business

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

LVT keeps housing affordable

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

It is only logical that a tax on buildings would discourage construction and reduce the supply of buildings, increasing real estate prices and rents. However, LVT is such a potent disincentive to idle landholding that it has a much stronger opposite effect. We found a strong correlation between high real estate taxes and housing affordability.

LVT reduces foreclosure

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

LVT costs renters nothing

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

LVT is naturally progressive

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

LVT helps keep government local

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

LVT reduces sprawl

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

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

LVT streamlines government

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

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

LVT reflects taxpayer benefits

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

LVT is the most endorsed tax

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

LVT has a rich and strong history.

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

LVT is fundamentally fair

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

Privileged interests oppose LVT

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

LVT is gaining momentum

The economic successes in cities that have adopted LVT, and the economic consequences of productivity taxation, have led more and more cities to embrace LVT in Pennsylvania, where it is already permitted, and has led other states to consider it as well. It also enjoys increased support in several other countries.
"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

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The Failed Explanation
« Reply #50 on: April 18, 2011, 10:20:13 am »
http://www.progress.org/2011/fold713.htm

The Failed Explanation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An opportunity to provide real economic education was missed. “The failed experiment” was a failed explanation. Interestingly, the fact that the author, a writer for the web site tax.com, did not explicitly advocate higher income tax rates, indicates that perhaps he may be conflicted, perhaps knowing the truth, but not daring to exclaim it.
"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

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #51 on: April 18, 2011, 11:23:59 am »
Related--

Once in a century rip-off

Real News Network Interview with Economist Michael Hudson

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

&

Reaganomics Sucked Wealth Up, Did Not Trickle It Down

Real News Network Interview with Economist Michael Hudson

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

&

Inquiry Doesn't Call Crisis Systemic Fraud

Real News Network Interview with Economist Michael Hudson

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0YDpM-_mU0

Offline Geolibertarian

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The carbon tax has also been in the news. The economic snake-oil salesmen who shamelessly peddle this ridiculous scheme routinely claim that it will "curb emissions" while helping to "strengthen" our economy. Now, since it is the wealth-producing process of applying labor and capital to land that generates much of the man-made carbon emissions that global warming cultists incessantly wax alarmist about, what the aforementioned salesmen are essentially claiming is that -- even though labor and capital are taxed to death already -- if we tax them even more, that will magically improve our collapsing economy. 

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

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

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

The American Dream
May 7, 2011

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

The following is how an article posted on The Hill describes some of the specifics of this proposal….

    Among other things, CBO suggested that a vehicle miles traveled (VMT) tax could be tracked by installing electronic equipment on each car to determine how many miles were driven; payment could take place electronically at filling stations.

Doesn’t that just sound lovely?

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

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

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

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

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

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

It doesn’t matter to them that carbon dioxide has nothing to do with global warming.

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

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

In Europe, the European Commission has unveiled a plan to ban all cars from major European cities by the year 2050.

Yes, you read that correctly.

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

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

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

[Continued...]
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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http://savingcommunities.org/issues/taxes/sales/destroyscommerce.html

Sales Tax Destroys Commerce

by Dan Sullivan

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

[Continued...]

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

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

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
2000

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

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

[Continued...]

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

California tells online retailers to start collecting sales taxes from customers

Marc Lifsher
Los Angeles Times
Thursday, June 30, 2011

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

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

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

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

Full story here.
"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

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

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #54 on: June 30, 2011, 03:41:26 pm »
Heh, could be worse, could have a sales tax of 20% on everything from food to plumbing supplies (like the UK does).

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Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?
« Reply #55 on: July 12, 2011, 04:05:26 pm »
http://www.progress.org/archive/fold239.htm

Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
2002

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

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

Take the example of pollution. If Bob the buyer pays Peter the polluter for a product Peter makes, this is voluntary between Bob and Peter. But in making the product, Peter has polluted the neighborhood, something that is not voluntary for the residents. Economists call this a "negative externality" as a cost imposed on others, not compensated by the polluter.

The basic question here is, who is the morally proper owner of the land rent? If we agree that human beings are morally equal as persons and have equal natural rights, then the proper owner of natural land rent is all humanity in equal shares. In that case, when the landowner keeps all the land rent, he is stealing property that belongs to others, even if it is done legally. It is involuntary even if the members of the community do not claim this as their legitimate property, just as if a thief steals my radio and I don't know it is missing, the theft is still involuntary to me, as I did not consent to this taking.

The second moral question is whether a land transaction is voluntary even for the landlord and the buyer or renter. It is true that nobody is pointing a gun at them and ordering them to rent the land from the landlord. But suppose someone put you in prison and there were several empty cells you could be put into. The guard says, choose one of the cells. Is this choice voluntary? Relative to the cells, yes, you choose one. But the greater context of being in prison is involuntary, so the choice of cells is also involuntary. The higher-level coercions flows down to the lower-level choices. It is like asking you, if you are to be executed, whether you would prefer to be hanged, shot, gassed, or electrocuted. If your higher-level preference is to live rather than die, these choices are coerced, since you would rather not make such choices in the first place.

All land is monopolized, since new land cannot be created or imported. The landlords give you choice: which plot of land do you wish to be located in? You the tenant have no choice as to having to live on some land. Your only choice is which monopolist will take the rent that naturally and properly belongs to you in the first place as a member of the community. It is similar to the choice of prison cells. It is only superficially and by appearance a free choice, but the higher-level context of landlordism, of the landlords keeping rentals that do not properly belong to them, is mandated by the legal system imposed by government. So long as you are subject to that regime, you the tenant or buyer of land have no choice in substance.

The slave trade was also a voluntary transaction between a seller and buyer of slaves, but it was not voluntary to the slave, who morally was the proper owner of his own labor. It may not have been even voluntary to the buyer of slaves if everyone else in the neighborhood owns slaves and it is impossible to compete with them unless you too are a slave owner.

So only the overthrow of landlordism, the land tenure system where the title holder keeps all the natural rent, will make real-estate transactions truly voluntary. When the natural rent, due to the natural resource value, is shared by the community, including by using it for public revenue, then when a landlord rents to a tenant, this is truly voluntary, because the landowner is not taking what belongs to others. Then when a buyer purchases land, the purchase price is voluntary and also lower, because the rents belonging to others are not capitalized in the purchase price.

Don't blame all the landlords. Most are locked into the prison system just as much as the tenants. Blame the system. Blame the ignorance of the public, the greed of politicians and the landed interests who actively prevent rent sharing, and the apathy of voters who don't want to be bothered to improve their knowledge of ethics, economics, and government.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Re: Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?
« Reply #56 on: July 12, 2011, 04:15:53 pm »
http://www.progress.org/archive/fold239.htm

Is the Real Estate Market Voluntary?

Perhaps the most important conclusion to be drawn from the above article is that, contrary to what right-wing critics of Henry George’s Single Tax would have everyone blindly believe, the payment of land rent is “compulsory” regardless of whether or not it’s diverted into the public treasury. Why? Two reasons.

First, because land itself is fixed in both supply and location. If you go to a furniture store and buy, let’s say, 20 square feet of carpeting, is there automatically that much less carpeting to go around for everyone else? Of course not. Why? Because new carpeting is being produced all the time. The same principle applies to all other products of human labor. But with land it’s the very opposite: since land is fixed in both supply and location, if I appropriate so many acres or square miles of it, then there is that much less for everyone else. Hence Adam Smith’s conclusion that:

    "The rent of the land, therefore, considered as the price paid for the use of the land, is naturally a monopoly price."

-- The Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 11

Thus, if the Queen of England gets to assert exclusive, unconditional “ownership” of the billions of acres of land to which she holds title, then every other overprivileged aristocrat and absentee landlord gets to do likewise. The end result? An artificial scarcity of available land. And it is this artificial scarcity that allows landlords and slumlords to continually rent gouge landless wage-earners to such an extent that the latter rarely have more disposable income than is needed just to survive (many times not even that much -- hence the growing trend of college graduates having to move back in with their parents).

Secondly, because access to land is a universal precondition to life itself. Thus, in a world in which all land has been appropriated by a mere subset of the population, and in which billions of people are continually driven by the threat of either starvation or harsh weather into competing for access to it, land rent gets paid either way -- and is paid under penalty of "force" either way (as any sheriff who’s had to evict unemployed tenants at gunpoint will readily attest).

Reactionary defenders of privilege often object to this by asserting that, since wage-earners get to choose "who" they pay land rent to, it’s a “voluntary” payment. But as Dr. Fred Foldvary explains in the above article, this is misleading at best, because it conveniently ignores the fact that -- due to the two reasons just mentioned -- they have no real “choice” as to whether they pay, since the only “alternative” to paying is to either beg and grovel for charity or (if no charity is granted) simply starve.

    

This may be easier for some to understand if we consider the issue of chattel slavery. Would a chattel slave in the 19th century have been any less of a slave if he got to “choose” who his slavemaster was? Of course not. Why? Because he still wouldn’t have been free to choose whether he had a slavemaster to begin with.

    "Would the essence of slavery change if the rules at a slave auction permitted a slave to choose between the two highest bidders for himself? Could the fact that he made such a choice be interpreted as his sanction for his chains? How can it be argued that the citizen is free in a democracy when he has the choice of two candidates if neither candidate is willing to recognize his right to freedom?"

-- James Bovard, Freedom In Chains, p. 132

Same principle here. A person isn’t truly free unless he has not only the choice of who gets to exact tribute from him in exchange for a mere place to stand without being threatened or shot at, but the choice of whether he has to pay such tribute to anyone in the first place. And the bottom line is: in an Austrian School economy, millions if not billions of people would have only the former choice, not the latter -- that is to say, they’d have only the choice of to whom they pay feudal tribute, not whether they pay.

Thus, since the payment of land rent is compulsory regardless of whether it’s collected publicly or privately, the only question is, Does such payment constitute “feudal tribute” regardless of who the recipient is?

The short answer is “no.” To understand why, consider the following analogy.

Let’s say I invent a one-of-a-kind machine that generates unlimited electricity, and that I will it equally to my five sons. Once I pass away, the question immediately arises as to how to adjudicate disputes over who gets access to it, and on what terms. If the eldest son insists on enjoying exclusive possession of my machine, then the government-enforced payment of rent to the other four is, in that context, not a tribute for using that machine, but a fee for the state-sanctioned privilege of denying use of it to those who have an equal right to it. But what if we’re in an Austrian School economy, and what if, realizing this, the eldest son “mixes his labor” with the machine by cleaning it and painting it a different color? Then the court system will likely rule that any and all rental value that is generated by the ongoing competition for exclusive access to the machine is the “private property” of the eldest son. In that context, the payment of rent to the eldest son is not a fee for the privilege of denying use of the machine to those who are thereby dispossessed of their birthright, but a tribute paid by one of the dispossessed for mere access to that which, in reality, he has as much a “right” to as the one receiving tribute. In the former context there is justice, because all five sons are treated as moral equals. In the latter context there is injustice, because they’re not treated as moral equals.

Thus, whether the payment of land rent (returning now to the issue at hand) constitutes feudal tribute or not depends on to whom it’s paid. If it’s paid to titleholders, then it’s feudal tribute, because it’s based on the aristocratic notion of the earth being that to which titleholders have an exclusive right of access. If it’s paid instead (whether directly as a citizen’s dividend or indirectly through the rent-financed provision of public goods and services) to those who’ve been dispossessed of their natural birthright, then it’s mere compensation, because it’s based on the recognition that the earth is that to which all humans (not just titleholders) have an equal right of access.

To understand just how absurdly immoral and anti-“liberty” the Austrian School alternative is, imagine if someone proposed allowing wealthy rent-seekers to buy up all the air “with their hard-earned money” and begin charging everyone else rent for breathing “their” property. Most people, of course, would instinctively object to such a ridiculous proposal. But why they would object? Because they’d realize that the air we breathe is not provided or “allocated” to us by any person or group of persons presuming to “own” it all, but is made available to us by nature -- or by God, if you're religious -- and that to be denied access to it for failing to pay feudal tribute to an airlord is to have the property you have in yourself violated.

Georgists simply apply the same principle to land, because, just as air itself is a free gift of nature, so too is land; and just as access to air is a universal precondition to life itself, so too is access to land. (I realize land and air have different physical characteristics, but in the two key respects I just mentioned, they’re very much the same.)

As for the privatize-everything Austrian School, the bottom line is: if speculators could hoard the air the way they hoard land, and thereby confer to themselves the power of exacting a monthly ransom fee from those needing access to it to live, then, as long as there was a “free market” in the sale and purchase of air titles, there’d be slogan-parroting Austrians all over the place proudly defending this extortion racket in the name of (you guessed it) “liberty” and “private property rights.” They’d be saying things like, “Airlords aren’t parasitizing people through a form of legalized extortion as certain freedom-hating socialists and collectivists have claimed; they’re merely ‘allocating’ the air to the most productive breathers.”  ::)

As ridiculous as that sounds, the sad reality is that, as long as those spouting such aristocratic nonsense were wrapped in the American flag or the flag of “liberty,” millions of gullible people would actually fall for this and start blindly defending the very system that’s parasitizing them -- insisting all the while that only those who hate liberty and private property would so much as question the legitimacy of that system. It’s right out of a George Orwell novel.

Unfortunately, these are the kinds of reactionaries who’ve territorialized the anti-NWO (i.e., anti-war/anti-police state/anti-eugenics/anti-global government) movement, which no doubt pleases the global elite, because that means the number of people who compose this movement will never reach critical mass (since most of the millions of non-reactionaries out there simply have better things to do with their time than listen to label-obsessed reactionaries call them liberty-hating “socialists” and “communists” all day long).

I can only hope that threads such as this one help to reverse that trend.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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"Queen Elizabeth II, head of state of the United Kingdom and of 31 other states and territories, is the legal owner of about 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface.

"She is the only person on earth who owns whole countries, and who owns countries that are not her own domestic territory. This land ownership is separate from her role as head of state and is different from other monarchies where no such claim is made – Norway, Belgium, Denmark etc.

"The value of her land holding. £17,600,000,000,000 (approx)."



“Given a stationary population and private ownership of all land, improvements in manufacturing methods do not, in the long-run, increase the earnings of labour and capital, but are absorbed by rent.”
 
-- Max Hirsch, Democracy vs. Socialism, p. 446


"I am using the word wages not in the sense of a quantity, but in the sense of proportion. When I say that wages fall as rent rises, I do not mean that the quantity of wealth obtained by laborers as wages is necessarily less, but that the proportion which it bears to the whole produce is necessarily less. The proportion may diminish while the quantity remains the same or even increases."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty, p. 216


"Place one hundred men on an island from which there is no escape, and whether you make one of these men the absolute owner of the other ninety-nine, or the absolute owner of the soil of the island, will make no difference either to him or to them.

"In the one case, as the other, the one will be the absolute master of the ninety-nine--his power extending even to life and death, for simply to refuse them permission to live upon the island would be to force them into the sea.

"Upon a larger scale, and through more complex relations, the same cause must operate in the same way and to the same end--the ultimate result, the enslavement of laborers, becoming apparent just as the pressure increases which compels them to live on and from land which is treated as the exclusive property of others. Take a country in which the soil is divided among a number of proprietors, instead of being in the hands of one, and in which, as in modern production, the capitalist has been specialized from the laborer, and manufacturers and exchange, in all their many branches, have been separated from agriculture. Though less direct and obvious, the relations between the owners of the soil and the laborers will, with the increase of population and the improvement of the arts, tend to the same absolute master on the one hand and the same abject helplessness on the other, as in the case of the island we have supposed. Rent will advance, while wages will fall."

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty, pp. 347-8


"A family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year, in order to afford a modest rental home, according to a report released April 21 [2010] by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Despite the recession, the report finds that rents continue to rise, while wages continue to fall across the country."



Keep the above in mind as you read the following:

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

http://www.prisonplanet.com/outcasts-tonight-tens-of-thousands-of-formerly-middle-class-americans-will-be-sleeping-in-their-cars-in-tent-cities-or-on-the-streets.html

Tonight Tens Of Thousands Of Formerly Middle Class Americans Will Be Sleeping In Their Cars

The Economic Collapse
July 13, 2011



Economic despair is beginning to spread rapidly in America.  As you read this, there are millions of American families that are just barely hanging on by their fingernails.  For a growing number of Americans, it has become an all-out battle just to be able to afford to sleep under a roof and put a little bit of food on the table.  Sadly, there are more people than ever that are losing that battle.  Tonight, tens of thousands of formerly middle class Americans will be sleeping in their cars, even though that is illegal in many U.S. cities.  Tens of thousands of others will be sleeping in tent cities or on the streets.  Meanwhile, communities all over America are passing measures that are meant to push tent cities and homeless people out of their areas.  It turns out that once you lose your job and your home in this country you become something of an outcast.  Sadly, the number of “outcasts” is going to continue to grow as the U.S. economy continues to collapse.

Most Americans that end up living in their cars on in tent cities never thought that it would happen to them.

An article in Der Spiegel profiled one American couple that is absolutely shocked at what has happened to them….

    Chanelle Sabedra is already on that road. She and her husband have been sleeping in their car for almost three weeks now. “We never saw this coming, never ever,” says Sabedra. She starts to cry. “I’m an adult, I can take care of myself one way or another, and same with my husband, but (my kids are) too little to go through these things.” She has three children; they are nine, five and three years old.

    “We had a house further south, in San Bernardino,” says Sabedra. Her husband lost his job building prefab houses in July 2009. The utility company turned off the gas. “We were boiling water on the barbeque to bathe our kids,” she says. No longer able to pay the rent, the Sabedras were evicted from their house in August.

How would you feel if you had a 3 year old kid and a 5 year old kid and you were sleeping in a car?

Sadly, if child protective services finds out about that family those kids will probably be stolen away and never returned.

America is becoming a very cruel place.

Unfortunately, what has happened to that family is not an isolated incident.

[Continued...]

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

If anyone thinks this privilege-induced trend of people being rack-rented out of their homes started only a few years ago, think again:

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

High California rents push working poor to cheap motels

CNN.com
October 30, 2000

ANAHEIM, California (CNN) -- Home for Yolanda Miramontes and her five children is a cheap motel room in Anaheim, California, a thriving city where the average apartment rents for $1,200 a month.

Southern California's booming economy has pushed rents so high that most apartments are far out of reach for low-income families. And that's contributing to a growing trend: entire families living -- permanently or semi-permanently -- in motels.

In Anaheim, population 310,000, as many as 2,000 people are full-time motel residents. "It's hard on the kids," Miramontes told CNN. "Although they call this home, I still can't accept it."

With few low-income housing projects underway, the working poor have been squeezed out of the housing market and into small motel rooms renting for $600 a month -- roughly $20 a day.

"I think this is the best place for us to be right now while we are looking for somewhere else," said Ebony Green, another motel dweller in Anaheim.

Renters 'are no longer the unemployed'

The Covered Wagon, a 70-unit motel in Anaheim, gets most of its business from locals. "What's different is that the people who are staying here are no longer the unemployed," said owner Jim Parkin.

His renters include parents who work at restaurants, amusement parks, gas stations and other service establishments in Orange County, home to such tourist magnets as Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm.

"There's no one here collecting cans," Parkin told the Los Angeles Times.

While there are no precise statistics on motel dwellers, motel owners in Anaheim, Long Beach and Van Nuys told the newspaper they've seen dramatic increases in the number of long-term motel residents.

"We are reaching an unparalleled crisis in our housing," said Gary Squier, a consultant and former head of the Los Angeles Housing Department.

[Continued...]

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

Yet what do privilege-worshipping right-wingers propose as a solution? Make socially-created land rent even more privatized than it already is, 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 ensure that governments continue to impose job-destroying taxes on the privately-created values of labor and capital!  ::)
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Bill O’Reilly Calls For New National Sales Tax
« Reply #58 on: July 14, 2011, 11:05:57 am »
http://www.prisonplanet.com/bill-oreilly-calls-for-new-national-sales-tax.html

Bill O’Reilly Calls For New National Sales Tax

You Tube
July 13, 2011

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BiB7aSVINw (Bill O'Reilly: We Need New Revenue)

O’Reilly calls for Americans to be hit with a 1% national sales tax, moving closer to a European-style system where people not only have some of the highest income taxes in the world, but also pay 20% or more in sales taxes (VAT).
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Michael Hudson on the importance of economic rent
« Reply #59 on: July 14, 2011, 12:46:32 pm »
In the following clip Professor Michael Hudson talks about the importance of economic rent:

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Elg6i3NxvdE
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Proudhon on Land
« Reply #60 on: August 01, 2011, 05:43:04 pm »
http://www.progress.org/2010/fold676.htm

Proudhon on Land

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
August 01, 2010

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon is known for his provocative statement, "Property is theft," in his book, What is Property? (1840).

In economics, Proudhon was partly a crackpot, but in the ethics of property in land, he was brilliant. His moral premise was the moral equality of human beings. He stated that he was not establishing any political system, but only asking for an end to privilege, an equality of rights, nothing but justice.

Proudhon wrote that if the will of the people, the majority of votes, is sovereign, that is despotism. Justice has to be derived rationally. If we have a right to property, then the taxation of that property is theft.

Proudhon examined the justification of property in land. He wrote that people have a right to use the wealth of nature, and the first claimant may claim possession. But possession is not complete ownership, as it should not include the ownership of the land rent.

Proudhon demolishes the justification of property in land, meaning the ownership of the rent. Agreements justify only the right of use, since the agreement has to be unanimous, and if any one person disagrees, the social contract is abolished.

The state cannot justify landed property by fiat law. Proudhon wrote that whether the state is a dictatorship or a democracy, it is always tyranny, unless people are free, which requires equality in natural opportunities. States, since the Roman Empire, have established property in land rent without looking at the consequences.

Human labor, wrote Proudhon, cannot establish property in land. He asks, "Who is entitled to the rent of the land? The producer of the land, no doubt. But who made the land? God. Therefore, proprietor, retire." Proudhon adds, "But the creator of the land does not sell it, he gives it; and in giving it, he is no respector of persons. Why, then, are some of his children regarded as legitimate and others as bastards?" (p. 71)

The occupation of land, said Proudhon, can justify only possession, not property in land, i.e. the ownership of its rent. "The right of property was the origin of evil on earth." (p. 75) But that is the philosophy of the status quo and of conservativism. What preserves this? Ignorance.

Proudhon demolishes the case for the first comer being entitled to land. If occupation creates a land title, why is the renter not the owner? When one stops occupying, why should he continue to be the owner? The "traveller does not appropriate the highway which he travels, so the farmer does not appropriate the field in which he cultivates.“ (p. 113)

In trying to justify the unequal property in land rent, "the destable competes with the absurd." (p. 123) Property in land has its origin in violence. As fast as the economy grows, so do proprietors increase the land rent they get from tenants. Property in land results in failures, bankruptcies, and periodic economic catastrophes. The reestablishment of equilibrium distracts attention "from the real causes of the economic distress." (p. 141)

By taxing labor, the state says, "THIS IS YOUR WORK. YOU SHALL NOT HAVE IT" (p. 145, all caps in the original). When government taxes wages, the consumption by workers is less than their production. His wage cannot buy what the worker produces.

Many who call for radical social change remain "zealous defenders of property [in land rent], a radical proof that they know neither what they are doing nor what they want." (p. 158)

However, Proudhon carried the concept of equality too far. He argued that wages should be equal, and that capital goods should be socialized. There, his economic arguments are crackpot.

But Proudhon's moral reasoning regarding land ownership is brilliant and anticipated the clearer thought of Henry George, who was more careful in distinguishing the equal rights to the benefit of the land, which is rent. Proudhon remains perhaps the first to analyze the unequal appropriation of land rent, and to say that such "property is theft."

Reference: Pierre-Joseph Proudhon. 1840 [1994]. What is Property? Ed. and trans. by Kelley and Smith. Cambridge University Press, UK.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

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Tax the Poor because they have rich people items like A/C and Refrigerators.
« Reply #61 on: August 23, 2011, 02:37:54 pm »
Let me tell you how it will be
There’s one for you, nineteen for me
‘Cause I’m the Taxman
Yeah I’m the Taxman….

– George Harrison

If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes I would have thought it to be a work of darkly twisted, comical fiction. But it wasn’t. In fact it was all too real. During a Friday morning appearance on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, a pathetic shill from the Heritage Foundation named Robert Rector was being interviewed by a moderator who miraculously manged to keep a straight face throughout. He really should be called “Robert Rectal”. The guy is that much of an donkey.

I almost spit out my coffee, sitting there listening to this fool vomiting out the latest right wing talking point which was this: The poverty-stricken in America have got a really good deal. According to this loathsome jackass, a high percentage of poor people in this country are in the possession of “luxury items” that poor people just shouldn’t posses. I’ll give you two examples of what what he was referring to. Are you ready for this???

Refrigerators and air conditioners!

How the hell is a family expected to store food (which we all need in order to live as you probably know) without a freakin’ refrigerator? And air-conditioning? A luxury??? In a lethally hot summer – not quite unlike the one we’re experiencing right now – an air-conditioner is the only thing that stands between life and death by dehydration for some people – particularly the elderly. Maybe the poor can compromise. Maybe they can spend those long, hot summer nights taking turns sitting in the fridge. Then again, maybe not.

Here’s another statistic Mr. Rector is whining about: Sixty-three percent of the “poor” (Fox Noise now puts that word in quotation marks) have cable television. Didn’t these assholes get the memo? You can’t get television reception without an antenna anymore. Cable TV is no longer an option, it’s mandatory. Poor people are like most of us. They rely on television – not only for their entertainment – but for their news and information. They really shouldn’t (No one should) but they do.

TV also keeps the kids indoors. While that may not be such a healthy thing if you live in Bel Air or Palm Beach, in high crime neighborhoods that’s a lot more preferable to being outside, getting some “fresh air” while dodging a stray bullet or two. I wonder what the Poverty/Cable percentages were before the airwaves went digital? Much lower, no doubt. Obviously none of these factors were taken into consideration by Rector or any of the geniuses over there at the Heritage Foundation.

And it’s not just Robert Rector who is mouthing this kind of nonsense. In recent weeks Republican politicians and conservative talking heads have been dropping ominous hints as to what’s in store for this diseased country if the American people are stupid enough to ever again hand over all three branches of their government to that disgusting party. You see, the poor (or “the moocher class” as some reprehensible piece of dung on Fox Noise referred to them last week) don’t pay any taxes.

Therefore, instead of extracting badly needed revenue from a class of people who already have more money than they’ll ever be able to spend in a lifetime, the party of the plutocracy plans on taking from that other class of people; most of whom barely get by: The poor. Not just the working class – not just the vanishing middle class, mind you – the poor. Was this a great country or what?

According to these people, the tax code simply isn’t fair. People who live at or below the poverty level have to start chipping in! A family of four making $22,000 a year or less needs to shell out to the Feds. Can you believe that? Think about it: That single mother who barely scratches out a living assembling Big Macs at the McDonald’s down the street? If these hideous bastards and bitches have their way, she will now have to send a check (assuming she has a checking account) to the IRS every April 15. Of course that will mean she and others in her income bracket will have a lot less money to pump back into this already feeble economy – a fact that apparently has not been taken into consideration by the jerks who govern us.

And they call us “elitists”!

First of all, let me dispel the myth they just love to propagate as fact: that the poor pay no taxes. Everybody pays taxes. The eight-year-old kid who walks down to the corner store to purchase an Almond Joy candy bar pays taxes. Remember that the next time you pay $4.31 for a $3.99 pint of Nicolai Vodka. Do you wonder why cigarettes are now over ten dollars a pack in certain states? It isn’t really that difficult to figure out. The wealthy in this country are not contributing their share to the maintenance of society. Certain corporations are not contributing at all! Revenue is badly needed. Most smokers are not rich, and the ones who are can afford to pay ten bucks a pack. Cigarettes are so addictive that they know the smoker – no matter how poor – has a serious nicotine jones and will pay whatever needs to be paid to get his or her fix. It really is a no-brainer if you think about it.

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” – Jesus of Nazareth, Matthew 25:45

Let’s not let scripture’s inconvenient truth get in the way of the agendas of these hypocrites.

We are now living in a plutocratic dictatorship.

Oh, what the hell. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em as the old adage goes. Besides, it’s about time those obnoxious poor people start paying their fair share of the tax burden. Screw those people. They’ve had it far too damned easy for far too damned long. They’ve got it made in the shade, baby – what with not having to worry about monthly mortgages, health insurance payments and where to invest their quarterly dividends. It’s high time those wretched assholes learn a thing or two about the real world. It’s time for the lazy and irresponsible “moocher class” to tighten their cardboard belts. f**k ‘em all.

They say that they can’t afford to be taxed? They say that they have bills to pay and children to feed? No problem. Back in the age of Charles Dickens and human bondage they had a place for worthless, deadbeat dung like that: Debtors Prison! It’s high time we bring that institution back into being. Of course, it goes without saying that those prisons will be privately owned by corporations – corporations that will be able to anonymously donate untold sums to corrupt politicians who will pass harshly punitive laws that will make goddamned sure that those prisons are filled to utter capacity forever and ever. They will then build more prisons – and more and more and more prisons – until finally there will be only two classes left in this sick country: The ruling class and the prison class. That dripping noise you hear in the distance is the sound of the Koch brothers drooling. Speaking of the Koch brothers:

“Much of what the government spends money on does more harm than good. This is particularly true over the past several years with the massive uncontrolled increase in government spending. I believe my business and non-profit investments are much more beneficial to societal well-being than sending more money to Washington.” –Charles Koch, as quoted on AlterNet


Charles and David Koch and are billionaires many times over. Unlike most multi-billionaires, who have more money than they possibly know what to do with, the Kochs know damned well what to do with their fortune. They’re working overtime to ensure that America’s middle class is destroyed. They don’t merely want most of America’s wealth and treasure – THEY WANT IT ALL! Would you like them to have it? Then vote for the Republican party next year. You’ll deserve everything that happens to you.


http://www.laprogressive.com/economic-equality/tax-the-poor/

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America's Most Famous Forgotten Man
« Reply #62 on: September 02, 2011, 03:09:15 pm »
http://www.progress.org/2011/georgeh.htm

America's Most Famous Forgotten Man

Henry George (1839-1897), Social Reformer

If dedication inspires you, check out the life of this thinker. You might not go on to experience all the adventures he had, but you might win more real world victories. An earlier version of this article appeared in The News-Press, Santa Barbara CA's major daily, on Labor Day in 1994.

by Jeffery J. Smith
The Progress Report
2 September 2011

While the issues of 1886 were similar to today's -- jobs, wages, benefits, working conditions -- the voters were different. A successful writer, as was Henry George, could become a working class hero. The factory worker of the last century, often less than a generation removed from the farm, understood the connection between available land and available jobs.

Henry George did not initiate his 1886 campaign for mayor of New York but was drafted by the unions. Even then he tried to avoid the pressures of a campaign by challenging the unions to collect 30,000 signatures in the few weeks before the filing deadline. The challenge seemed insurmountable; George felt safe. However, for his birthday, September 2, the workingmen broke all records in rising to the occasion. Henry George was their man.

The Republican candidate was Teddy Roosevelt (whose face now is on Mt. Rushmore). Later as president, TR borrowed a page from HG. Where George proposed sharing Earth, Roosevelt made Yosemite a park and signed the National Park Service into law. Where HG proposed shifting taxes from labor and capital to land, TR proposed a reform of the property tax so it'd fall less on improvements, more on location.

The Democrat was a puppet of Boss Crocker. Crocker, an acquitted murderer, headed the Tammany Hall political machine. Henry George outpolled both opponents, "upsetting all the plans of the powers that be," said Boss Crocker. The next morning, ballots for George could be seen floating down the Hudson River. Tammany Hall had fixed another election, making the Democrat mayor, a crime Boss Crocker confessed to on his deathbed 30 years later.

George may have been history's only populist economist. (While alive, Marx was not well-known outside of intellectual circles.) George authored Progress and Poverty (1879), the all-time best-selling work on economics in the English language. He proposed that society quit taxing human effort and start sharing the advantages of nature.

Born in Philadelphia in 1839, George ran away to sea at 14, saw Australia before it was colonized, saw the degradation of India where corpses rotted in streets and floated in the rivers, and prospected for gold in British Columbia.

Back in post-Gold Rush San Francisco, he married his first love, a young Australian of better means with whom he lived the rest of his life. On the brink of starvation while supporting his wife and kids, George was desperate enough to swallow his pride and go begging. If the one richly dressed man he stopped had not donated, George had been ready to mug him.

Working himself up from printer to newspaperman, George visited New York, representing his newspaper, to negotiate a deal with one of the major corporations of his day. The telegraph monopoly, Associated Press, refused to grant his paper a fair price. In the city, the wealthiest in the world, he was appalled and puzzled by the squalor amid the opulence.

George was a fiery orator, immensely important in an era before radio and television. At the peak of his fame, he was the third most popular public figure in America after Tom Edison and Mark Twain who wrote an article for George's newspaper. For his critique of economics, George was offered a professorship at the University of California - Berkeley, despite being a high school dropout. Later, for his criticism of economists, the offer was rescinded.

Nicknamed the “Red Rooster”, George corresponded with and debated the famous figures of his era. He lectured to packed houses all over the world. In Ireland, where absentee English lords owned the country, George was arrested on trumped up charges and barely escaped with his life.

In 1897, George ran again for mayor of New York. Four days before the final election, this insomniac and chain-smoker of cigars collapsed on stage. The next day he died.

His funeral was the biggest ever accorded a private American citizen, surpassed only by those of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. To glimpse his coffin, 100,000 people lined the streets of New York City. The over-loaded transit system kept another 100,000 from entering Manhattan. It took all day for the procession to get to Brooklyn, where George's remains lie today.

His follower had some success. His son was elected to Congress. His granddaughter, Agnes de Mille, the choreographer, helped preserve his ideas. But times were changing. Society's focus was shifting urbanward, losing sight of the role of land in economies. Land became a blind spot for the public, while remaining the prime driver behind favor and fortune.

Modern Americans may yet rediscover George’s insights about the flow of payments for land and nature, how it creates winners and losers. Having lost so much -- environment, neighborhoods, commons, family time, economic opportunity and security -- more people are beginning to ask questions and seek answers about fairness. These open minds, know it or not, are bound to discover the Georgist understanding of how economies work, why they fail, and what we can do about it.

[Continued...]


  Henry George when learning to set type in Philadelphia. 1857
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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The last resort: More and more Americans are calling long-stay motels home
« Reply #63 on: September 07, 2011, 02:26:30 pm »
"A family in the United States needs to earn $18.44 an hour, or nearly $38,360 a year, in order to afford a modest rental home, according to a report released April 21 [2010] by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Despite the recession, the report finds that rents continue to rise, while wages continue to fall across the country."


[...]

Yet what do privilege-worshipping right-wingers propose as a solution? Make socially-created land rent even more privatized than it already is, even though this will not only make the rent-wage gap even wider than it already is, but ensure that governments continue to impose job-destroying taxes on the privately-created values of labor and capital!  ::)

http://www.prisonplanet.com/the-last-resort-more-and-more-americans-are-calling-long-stay-motels-home.html

The last resort: More and more Americans are calling long-stay motels home

Guy Adams
London Independent
Saturday, September 3, 2011

A long way down the US housing ladder, beneath the grisly ‘projects’ of The Wire and the trailer parks hymned by Eminem, beneath the slums of New Orleans and the ghettos of Detroit, you’ll find the long-stay hotel. Cheap, not very cheerful, and pretty much a last resort, these institutions provide four walls and a roof, for a few hundred bucks a month. It’s some of the cheapest accommodation you’ll find anywhere in the US, aside from a cardboard box.

Long-stay hotels can be found in almost every major American city. They offer none of the privacy of trailer parks, and even less of the permanency. Guests make do with postage stamp-sized rooms, paper-thin walls, and nylon sheets. You’ll rarely find them listed in tourist guides, even the section of a Lonely Planet devoted to ‘rock-bottom dives’. Staying in one isn’t exactly what you might call a holiday. It is, however, an experience. So says Kalpesh Lathigra, whose compelling photo-essay on the Wilmington Hotel in Long Beach, Southern California, is published on these pages.

A British documentary photographer, he stumbled upon the place while looking up relatives during a family holiday to Los Angeles (it is owned by his uncle, Bachu), and has since re-visited for extended periods, building close relationships with its most colourful and well-established residents.

“The hotel is one of those places with a feel that you know just has to be recorded,” he says. “There’s something in the ether. I remember walking in for the first time, and straight away realising that it had this weird character that cried out to be photographed.

Full story here.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.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 #64 on: September 07, 2011, 05:34:19 pm »
I figure since this won't change soon, I may as well take advantage of the pro-owner bias in the system. Why pay obscene rents when a mortgage is cheaper and interest rates are historically low (along with falling prices)?

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Here's the guy who invented populism
« Reply #65 on: October 20, 2011, 03:36:50 pm »
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1

Forget 9-9-9. Here’s a Simple Plan: 1

by Jill Lepore
New York Times
October 15, 2011

Jill Lepore is a professor of history at Harvard and the author of “The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History.”
 
Cambridge, Mass.

IN the Republican debate on Tuesday, the restaurant industry executive Herman Cain, deftly countering a quip, said his “9, 9, 9” economic plan, which calls for a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax, “didn’t come off a pizza box.” Asked where it did come from, he said “the American people,” but added that he also has a team of economic advisers.

“One of my experts that helped me to develop this is a gentleman by the name of Rich Lowrie out of Cleveland, Ohio,” Mr. Cain said. “He is an economist.” Mr. Lowrie, a licensed stockbroker, is a wealth management consultant for Wells Fargo.

Lately, Mr. Cain has risen in the polls, buoyed by Tea Party populism, which is curious because when the word “populism” was coined, in 1890, it meant opposition to a monopoly on wealth held by businessmen and bankers.

Henry George, the most popular American economic thinker of the 19th century, was a populist before populism had a name. His economic plan was known as the Single Tax. His plan wasn’t 9-9-9; it was just: 1.

George was born in Philadelphia in 1839. He left school at 14 to sail to India and Australia on board a ship called the Hindoo. At the time, a lot of people were writing about India as a place of jewels and romance; George was struck by its poverty.

Returning to Philadelphia, he became a printer’s apprentice. He went to New York where he saw, for the first time, “the shocking contrast between monstrous wealth and debasing want.” In 1858, he joined the crew of a ship sailing around the Cape Horn because it was the only way he could afford to get to California. In San Francisco, he edited a newspaper; it soon failed. He spent most of his life editing newspapers, and, as with every other industry in the 19th century, many of them failed. In 1865, George was reduced to begging in the streets.

The 19th century was the Age of Progress: the steam engine, the power loom, the railroad. (Awestruck wonder at progress animated that era the way the obsession with innovation animates American politics today.) George believed that the other side of progress was poverty. The railroad crossed the continent in 1869. From the West, George wrote an essay called “What the Railroad Will Bring Us.” His answer: the rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. In a Fourth of July oration in 1877, George declared, “no nation can be freer than its most oppressed, richer than its poorest, wiser than its most ignorant.”

In 1879, George finished a draft of his most important book. “Discovery upon discovery, and invention after invention, have neither lessened the toil of those who most need respite, nor brought plenty to the poor,” George wrote. He thought the solution was to abolish all taxes on labor and instead impose a single tax, on land. He sent the manuscript to New York. When no one would publish it, he set the type himself and begged publishers simply to ink his plates. The book, “Progress and Poverty,” sold three million copies.

George was neither a socialist nor a communist; he influenced Tolstoy but he disagreed with Marx. He saw himself as defending “the Republicanism of Jefferson and the Democracy of Jackson.” He had a bit of Melville in him (the sailor) and some of Thoreau (“We do not ride on the railroad,” Thoreau wrote from Walden. “It rides upon us.”) But, really, he was a Tocquevillian. Tocqueville believed that democracy in America was made possible by economic equality: people with equal estates will eventually fight for, and win, equal political rights. George agreed. But he thought that speculative, industrial capitalism was destroying democracy by making economic equality impossible. A land tax would solve all.

In 1886, George decided to run for mayor of New York. Democrats urged him not to, telling him he had no chance and would only raise hell. “You have relieved me of embarrassment,” George answered. “I do not want the responsibility and the work of the office of the Mayor of New York, but I do want to raise hell.” The Democrat, Abram Hewitt, won, but George got more votes than the Republican, Theodore Roosevelt.

In the 1880s, George campaigned for the single tax, free trade and ballot reform. The last succeeded. George is why, on Election Day, your polling place supplies you with a ballot that you mark in secret. This is known as an Australian ballot, and George brought it back from his voyage halfway around the world.

George ran for mayor of New York again in 1897 but died in his bed four days before the election. His body lay in state at Grand Central. More than 100,000 mourners came to pay their respects. The New York Times said, “Not even Lincoln had a more glorious death.” And then: he was left behind.

[Continued...]
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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The Third Way
« Reply #66 on: December 24, 2011, 07:17:25 am »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNKHSpalLjM (The Third Way - part 1 of 3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1bF_VBhnopo (The Third Way - part 2 of 3)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-FUsvKmEZc (The Third Way - part 3 of 3)
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Satyagraha

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Re: Here's the guy who invented populism
« Reply #67 on: December 24, 2011, 08:36:09 am »
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/16/opinion/sunday/heres-the-guy-who-invented-populism.html?_r=1


George was neither a socialist nor a communist; he influenced Tolstoy but he disagreed with Marx. He saw himself as defending “the Republicanism of Jefferson and the Democracy of Jackson.” He had a bit of Melville in him (the sailor) and some of Thoreau (“We do not ride on the railroad,” Thoreau wrote from Walden. “It rides upon us.”) But, really, he was a Tocquevillian. Tocqueville believed that democracy in America was made possible by economic equality: people with equal estates will eventually fight for, and win, equal political rights. George agreed. But he thought that speculative, industrial capitalism was destroying democracy by making economic equality impossible. A land tax would solve all.


[Continued...]

Geo - thanks for this; and the videos.
"He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

~ Thomas Paine, A Dissertation on the First Principles of Government, 1795

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Here's the guy who invented populism
« Reply #68 on: December 24, 2011, 02:05:56 pm »
Geo - thanks for this; and the videos.

I live to share this information, so no need to thank me.  8)
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Prices and Taxation
« Reply #69 on: March 05, 2012, 10:58:32 pm »
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold757.htm

Prices and Taxation

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
26 February 2012

Punitive taxes are those which harm the economy and society. All “taxes in substance” are punitive. Taxes in form are compulsory payments to government; taxes in substance are payments to government having no direct link between the payment and any benefit.

One way that punitive taxes are destructive is by changing the information conveyed by market prices. A price is not just what one pays for stuff. The market-based price is a particular amount for a reason. Students of economics learn that the market price is set by supply and demand, at the quantity for which the quantity demanded equals the quantity supplied. That is the equilibrium, where all the gains from trade have been exhausted at that moment.

But let’s go deeper into the dynamics of market prices. Supply is based on the costs of production. The market price at some quantity comes from the cost of producing an extra amount of the good, the “marginal cost”. This cost is not just the cost of the scarce inputs for the firm, but more broadly the marginal cost of society’s resources.

Demand is based on the buyers’ willingness to pay, the most they are willing to pay for a good. The marginal willingness to pay at various quantities determines the demand, which plotted on a graph becomes the demand curve. Just as with supply, the demand more broadly reflects society’s marginal willingness to pay at various prices.

A free-market price reflects the interplay of scarcity and desire. At the market price, society’s willingness to pay for an extra amount just equals society’s cost of providing an extra amount. At a lower quantity, society’s willingness to pay is greater than society’s marginal cost of the resources, so it increases social wellbeing to produce more. At a quantity greater than equilibrium, the marginal cost is greater than the marginal benefit, so society should produce less. At the equilibrium price and quantity, society maximizes its welfare or wellbeing.

Now enters the punitive tax. The tax rudely interferes with the equilibrium price and quantity. Like a robber holding a gun, a sales tax forces they buyer and seller to hand over some money. The seller passes some of the tax on to the buyer, raising the purchase price. The tax reduces the gains from producing, which drives down the land rent that producers are willing to pay.

That sales tax does not just reduce the benefits to consumers and gains to producers and land-rent owners, but distorts the market signals provided by the price. At the higher price and lower quantity, the after-tax equilibrium no longer balances desire and scarcity. People would have benefited from more goods, and sellers would have employed workers to produce more, but the tax has voided the information provided by a free-market price. The price paid by the buyers is a distorted, skewed, falsified signal of desire and scarcity.

Suppose you were reading an instruction booklet, and somebody changed the wording, so that instead of inserting part A into tab X, you did something different. The product would become messed up. Free-market prices are instructions to producers and consumers on whether to produce and consume more or less. Punitive taxes change the instructions, creating a waste of resources and economic damage such as unemployment.

Even worse than the waste caused by punitive taxes are the distortions caused by rent-taking subsidies. By changing prices and moving away from the free-market equilibrium, subsidies cause a welfare loss similar to that of punitive taxes. But even worse, the explicit and implicit subsidies to land value generate an artificial speculative boom and subsequent bust that results in massive economic damage.

This deadweight loss or excess burden of punitive taxation and rent-seeking subsidy can be avoided by replacing taxes with the economic rent of land. Tapping the land rent is not a tax in substance but rather the prevention of an implicit subsidy to landowners as public goods generate land rent and site values. It is economically possible to finance government without the distortions caused by fiscal interventions.

The worst tax of all is the sales tax, because at least the income tax is zero if the profit is zero. The sales tax makes profit go negative if it is low or zero to begin with, forcing the company to shut down. If your wage is zero, you still have to pay sales taxes on what you buy. If you have to borrow funds, the sales tax forces you to borrow even more and then pay more interest.

Therefore what the national sales tax advocates are calling the “Fair Tax” is not only untrue, but deliberately deceptive. There is nothing fair about forcing people to pay much more for the goods they buy, and distorting the economic information provided by market prices. The “Fair Tax” advocates make false claims when they declare that sales taxes are better for the economy than land value taxes. They have not backed this claim with arguments, because they cannot.

The two real reasons for sales taxes are to force the poor to pay taxes, and to subsidize land values. The hidden agenda of sales-taxers is the subsidy to land value provided by public goods financed from sales taxes. Tenant-workers pay twice for public goods, once in taxes and then again in higher rent, while landowners get a rent and land value subsidy. There is no logical reason to want a sales tax other than to force a redistribution of wealth from workers to landowners.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.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 #70 on: March 23, 2012, 02:07:08 pm »
NYT article says: "But he thought that speculative, industrial capitalism was destroying democracy by making economic equality impossible. A land tax would solve all."

Well, not exactly. George didn't blame "industrial capitalism" nor speculation on commodities or capital. He blamed speculation in nature. And he didn't believe that a land tax would "solve all," but that it was the first necessary reform, without which no other major reforms would hold (or even be possible).

After fixing the land question, his program reads very much like conventional libertarianism:  abolition of taxes on production and trade; abolition of all private monopolies or other special privileges of any kind whatsoever ("privatization," corporate welfare, individual welfare, special exemptions from laws or regs, patent monopoly, private money monopoly, etc); and small, decentralized government.

Not left, not right -- just out in front.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Max Keiser: Now let's talk to the renegade economist, Fred Harrison. Fred, welcome to the Keiser Report.

Fred Harrison: Hi Max, good to be with you today.

Max Keiser: Thanks for joining us on the Keiser Report. Okay, let me kick this off by asking you: In 1997 you predicted that a global housing bubble would ensue in ten years -- the global depression of 2010 would happen. How did you do that?

"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline EvadingGrid

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #72 on: March 31, 2012, 01:02:32 pm »
Only Austrian "economists" predicted the 2008 financial collapse, right? WRONG!

Amusing title  ;D
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me, Shall be my brother;

Global Gulag

Offline Geolibertarian

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Progress and Poverty
« Reply #73 on: March 31, 2012, 05:56:11 pm »
“Out upon nature, in upon himself, back through the mists that shroud the past, forward into the darkness that overhangs the future, turns the restless desire that arises when the animal wants slumber in satisfaction. Beneath things, he seeks the law; he would know how the globe was forged and the stars were hung, and trace to their origins the springs of life. And, then, as the man develops his nobler nature, there arises the desire higher yet--the passion of passions, the hope of hopes--the desire that he, even he, may somehow aid in making life better and brighter, in destroying want and sin, sorrow and shame. He masters and curbs the animal; he turns his back upon the feast and renounces the place of power; he leaves it to others to accumulate wealth, to gratify pleasant tastes, to bask themselves in the warm sunshine of the brief day. He works for those he never saw and never can see; for a fame, or maybe but for a scant justice, that can only come long after the clods have rattled upon his coffin lid. He toils in the advance, where it is cold, and there is little cheer from men, and the stones are sharp and the brambles thick. Amid the scoffs of the present and the sneers that stab like knives, he builds for the future; he cuts the trail that progressive humanity may hereafter broaden into a highroad.”

-- Henry George, Progress and Poverty, p. 136

I can't help but wonder if the following clip was in some way inspired by my repeated posting of the above quote:

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

Here's another clip of someone (in this case Paula Gloria) reading from the same book:

       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8kOJVNqHB6M
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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The Destruction of the American Libertarian Party
« Reply #74 on: April 02, 2012, 08:48:55 pm »
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold761.htm

The Destruction of the American Libertarian Party

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
March 26, 2012

The American Libertarian Party is being destroyed in its ideology and philosophy. The moral philosophy of libertarianism was, until very recently, full-spectrum liberty. Libertarianism included full civil liberties, with no restriction on peaceful and honest human action. The libertarian economic policy was a pure free market, with no restriction or tax on acts that do not coercively harm others. The foreign policy was peaceful co-existence, defending the homeland while avoiding foreign interventions.

The core of government power and policy is taxation. Governments get funded by forcibly taking property from people. Since libertarians until recently believed in equal self-ownership, they regarded this taking as morally wrong. The slogan was “taxation is theft!” But what that really meant was appreciated only by the Georgist branch of the movement, the geo-libertarians who recognized that the provision of public goods by government generates higher land values, and that if the generated rentals are not paid back, that constitutes a subsidy. A pure free-market policy avoids subsidies, and thus requires that these rentals be paid back to society by landowners. So geo-libertarians recognized that “taxation is theft” applies to taxation in substance, not merely taxation in form, thus not to the repayment of value received.

But in 2012, American libertarians began committing ideological suicide. Today’s libertarians have not been as well educated as those in previous times. They don’t understand the moral philosophy of natural rights, and the economic effects of taxation. American libertarians today are embracing the violation of free trade, the subsidy to land values, and the quantum destruction of private enterprise that is entailed in a national sales tax.

Most libertarians are not anarchists. They are minarchists, favoring limited government. That implies a need for some revenue. Libertarians are aware of the moral and economic objections to the taxation of income, but they have rejected the source of public revenue that is compatible with self-ownership and a free market – public revenue from land rent. This rejection is described in the book by Harold Kyriazi, Libertarian Party at Sea on Land. American libertarians have even rejected the replacement of much of government by private communities financed from the rentals that they generate. No, the doctrine increasingly being embraced is domestic tariffs on trade.

There is a movement in the USA that advocates a national sales tax. Cleverly, they label this a “fair tax,” although there is nothing just or fair about violating free trade. The explanation for the compulsion to tax goods requires a psychological analysis. I have no credentials in academic psychology, but it seems to me that the core American creed is not liberty, but a combination of Puritanism and land grabbing. If the core American creed were liberty, the USA would not have upheld chattel slavery, nor would it have imposed punitive taxation from the beginning.

Economic puritans believe that consumption is bad. They favor the mercantilist policy of promoting production and exports, while stifling consumption and imports. Economic puritans seek to shift taxation from production to consumption. Secondly, Americans from the beginning have profited from land grabbing, first from the Native American Indians, then from the Mexicans and the Spanish, and then indirectly by overthrowing governments such as that of Guatemala, which did not allow American-owned plantation and mining land grabs. Americans are greedy for stolen land because they know it offers one of the best avenues to becoming rich with other people’s money.

Libertarians were once proudly counter-cultural, advocating the legalization of victimless acts, and opposing the welfare-state culture that has become a global religion. But now, US libertarians have succumbed to the core American cultural values, Puritanism and land grabbing. That is why libertarians have rejected explicit subsidies of money and price controls, but not the implicit and much greater subsidy to greater land values. Libertarians framed this policy as allodialism, the complete ownership of land and its rent by those who are “first claimants” by having title, ignoring the fact that imposed taxation pumps up that land value.

Having rejected public revenue from land rent, even from free-market private community rentals, libertarians have replaced liberty with economic Puritanism, the tax attack on consumption. The leading candidate for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination is promoting a national sales tax of 30 percent of the pre-tax price of goods. Endorsed by many state parties, he will surely be the Libertarian Party candidate. As taxation is the core issue, the American Libertarian Party will have been transformed into a national sales tax party. What was once the “Party of Principle” will have degenerated into the party of the ugly side of American culture, Puritanism and land grabbing.

Because the libertarian party is the public face of the libertarian movement, the implicit party slogan, “tax goods, not land” will infect the movement and philosophical base. Perhaps a million sales taxers will join the Libertarian Party, making it a permanent national sales tax party.

There are still some libertarians, especially geo-libertarians, who believe in pure economic freedom. Frustrated by a movement that is libertarian in name but no longer in substance, they may well join or form other parties such as Free Earth or a “Taxation is Theft” party. One can only hope that the attack on consumption by American pseudo-libertarians will not be copied by classical liberals in other countries.

Fortunately, Mason Gaffney has shown in his writing on “sales tax suicides” that governments such as that of pre-revolutionary Russia and France, which adopted high national sales taxes, committed economic and political suicide, and even puritan Americans will balk at the hardship and tax cheating that would be imposed by a high national sales tax on top of state sales taxes. Thus the American Libertarian Party is headed towards both philosophical and political ruin. It may well be that just as the term “liberal” became disassociated with liberty, the term “libertarian” will too become so corrupted by taxed trade that true liberty seekers will have to call themselves “classical libertarians” or free-earthers, and no longer just plain “libertarian.”
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Taxing Mail Orders and Barter
« Reply #75 on: April 17, 2012, 10:35:23 am »
http://www.progress.org/2012/fold764.htm

Taxing Mail Orders and Barter

by Fred E. Foldvary
The Progress Report
16 April 2012

Where there is a sales tax, in order for it to be effective, it has to be consistent. This is why, for example, in California, the state sales tax applies also to mail orders. If you purchase goods from a company that has no presence in the state, the buyer is legally obligated to pay the sales tax even if the seller does not charge it. This is called a "use tax," but few people pay it on goods personally imported except for cars.

The state does not bother to enforce the use tax, because the enforcement would be expensive and intrusive. But if the federal government switched from income taxation to a national sales tax, then the tax evasion would be much greater, and the benefit-cost ratio would swing to the national enforcement of taxes on personal purchases from abroad.

With a national sales tax, goods directly purchased from a firm in another state would be taxed, and the federal tax records would be used by the US states to enforce their sales taxes, so the evasion of use taxes by mail order from other states would end. However, there would be a problem with goods directly purchased from foreign sellers.

The US federal government is spending $6.3 trillion dollars in 2012. The gross domestic product is $15.4 trillion. The ratio of federal spending to GDP is about 40 percent. Half of that is for transfer payments, so private spending for goods is 80 percent of GDP, or $12.3 trillion. If all the $6.3 federal spending is from sales taxes, the sales tax rate on the $12.3 trillion spending is 51 percent. Add a national state sales tax average rate of over 9 percent, and the sales tax rate becomes 60 percent.

However, the "Fair [Sales] Tax" movement says that business-to-business purchases would be exempt from the national sales tax, because it is "fair" to tax households, but "unfair" for firms to pay sales taxes. Congress would also make spending by government tax exempt. Since household spending is 70 percent of GDP, business and government spending is 30 percent. Since 70 percent of $15.4 trillion is $10.8 trillion, to pay for the federal spending of $6.3 trillion, the private sales tax rate would have to be 6.3/ 10.8 = .58, or a sales tax rate of 58 percent. Add the state sales tax of 9 percent to get the total sales tax rate of 67 percent. If some states switched from taxing income to higher taxes on sales, the combined rate would be even greater.

With a tax rate of 67 percent on goods, there would be massive tax evasion. People would order goods directly from foreign firms. To prevent tax evasion, the federal government would have to open all packages shipped in from abroad. There would also be colossal amounts of smuggling of goods. To fully enforce the "Fair Tax," the government would have to randomly send FBI agents into people's homes. If you did not have a sales receipt, you would be presumed to be a tax cheater, and have to pay the tax plus a big fine. There would also have to be intrusive audits on enterprise to make sure they are not buying goods tax-free for personal use.

It would be political suicide for any establishment political party to advocate a national sales tax. Only minor parties such as the Libertarian Party would be foolish enough to campaign for a national sales tax that would so greatly destroy privacy. Moreover, the combined tax rate of 67 percent would destroy millions of firms that are unable to pass sales taxes on to customers.

But it gets worse. Barter transactions are subject to both income and sales taxes. If you make shoes that sell for $100, but trade them for carrots, you pay the same income tax as you would selling them for cash, and the same sales tax. But many such informal exchanges currently escape both taxes. But with the federal government depending on sales taxes, the federal government would have to prevent barter tax evasion with extreme penalties along with rewards for snitches who inform on others. As with snitching for drug-law enforcement, snitching would be so lucrative that there would be much fraudulent snitching. Only minarcho-capitalist allodial libertarians would favor such a destruction of public trust.

Thus the switch from federal income taxes to a national sales tax would be so ruinous to the economy and to personal liberty that even state socialists are opposed to it. The real reason why the "Fair Tax" movement and its libertarian allies are for a national sales tax is to prevent a discussion of land value taxation. For that goal they have been successful, because the national debate on tax reform only discusses economy-crushing sales versus income taxes, and utterly ignores the free-market economy-enhancing policy of public revenue from land rent.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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Holy shite!
« Reply #76 on: April 24, 2012, 08:56:33 am »
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward has over sixteen million views on one youtube channel alone:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0

Offline Geolibertarian

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A geolibertarian review of "Zeitgeist: Moving Forward"
« Reply #77 on: April 24, 2012, 08:57:44 am »
Zeitgeist: Moving Forward has over sixteen million views on one youtube channel alone:

     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

A geo-libertarian review of Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

POSTED APRIL 24, 2012 BY EDWARD B MILLER

by Dan Sullivan,

(Reprinted with permission. Originally published 07 February 2012 at LVT. You can find him at Saving Communities)


                       Green Supercomputer | Argonne National Lab

Two hours and 41 minutes, and it’s just half-truths from beginning to end.

It’s easy to buy into the idea of rich people being obsessed with wealth and acquisition if you don’t actually know any rich people. This is the starting premise of their half-truths.

Then they get into a long digression about genetics vs. environment, partly to set up an “ain’t it awful” mentality, and partly to lull half the audience and to drive the thinking half away. I noticed some very unscientific statements, so I suspect these are not neurobiologists at all, but people picked because they contribute to the point they are eventually going to make.

They completely misinterpret Locke, and then substantially misinterpret Adam Smith. From this they launch into a confused (essentially Marxist) interpretation of money that jumps from point to point as if they were connecting dots, but they overlook the obvious questions of where money came from in the first place.

They make a huge deal about GDP being a poor indicator of well-being, as if everyone in economics didn’t already know that, and [then] they treat *all* increases in GDP as detrimental.

There’s more “ain’t it awful” moaning, in terms of the environment, but no cause and effect. They call our economy an “anti-economy,” but they ignore privilege and complain about competition. They condemn “cost efficiency” without having a clue as to what might distort cost efficiency. Will they suggest taxing the creation of social costs and untaxing labor? I suspect not, since they would not need such a long time to set up such a straightforward idea.

They make a naked assumption about “planned obsolescence,” and “cyclical consumption,” again without a clue as to what causes these. But ain’t it awful? The strategy of dwelling on how awful something is will induce people to buy into a proposal no matter how illogical it is.

Over an hour into the movie and they haven’t suggested a single solution, yet, since they’ve already smeared Locke and Smith, you can bet that their solutions will involve a lot of command and control, and the elimination of private property.

They complain about advertising, just as Marxists did a century ago, and, then as now, without a clue as to why this happens. Then they launch a gratuitous attack on several right-wing economists, including [drum roll] John Maynard Keynes! Is this some other John Maynard Keynes than the one all the right-wingers themselves attack?

They trash money demand, but they have no idea why there is a disconnect between money demand and need. Rather than to get to the bottom of that, they seem to be just into trashing monetary demand generally.

Oh, wait! They are talking about the debt money! Will they propose the direct issue of currency and the elimination of the fractional reserve! That would be so cool, because then very little else (other than land tax) would be necessary.

Nope, now they are on to something else – how evil it is to *trade* debt. They just glossed over the obvious solution that if there were no artificial debt, there would be no trade in artificial debt. Never mind that… more robots!

So let’s get this straight, rich people are acquisitive robots, consumers are robots, and investment traders are robots. So clearly we need more robots!

Oh, now we are off to public health, having talked about banking and a bunch of other things without actually proposing anything. Now we are talking about “inequality.” Will they go to the root, or are they just going to say, “ain’t poverty awful?”

It’s the “Monetary-Market System!” But what does that mean?

Project Earth! Now maybe they are going to talk about a solution! Only 60% into the movie!

“Science has no ego. It holds onto nothing and accepts everything.” (Really? Where did we get these egoless scientists?) But, I smell a solution coming!

“We” locate, identify and track all the resources in the world. “We” identify how fast trees grow, etc., and “track” the inventory of the world’s resources. “A global resource management system.” The ultimate in central planning. “There is simply no alternative.” This is the old left vs. right lie that either “we” must control everything or “they” must control everything, and “they” will screw it up. (That second part is true, no matter whether “they” are the plutocratic monopolists of the right or the bureaucratic monopolists of the left.)

Now they are going to govern how computers are designed. A central computer will tell us “the absolute best method for sustainable production.” They never heard of GIGO, I suppose.

The supercomputer will tell us to reduce the travel of goods as much as possible. Couldn’t a tax on fuels accomplish the same things without centralized coercion? It’s as if we couldn’t have an egalitarian, resource-efficient world without a supercomputer.

I’m sorry; I mean a “demand distribution tracking system” to prevent overages and shortages. But the true progressives knew that there was no such thing as excess production as a long-term phenomenon.

No ownership. “Strategic access” will replace it. “Centralized and regional access centers” will work like libraries. Then they show speedboats and water skiers. So, we will take speedboats out whenever we want and then return them. If only speedboats needed no more care and maintenance than books need.

Global abundance results. No explanation of *how* it results.

“The free enterprise system was great 35 years ago,” they say. No mention of what changed. They throw in some more nonsense about how objective scientists are. (We’re talking about economic science here.) This is exactly what Marx said in 1850. Free enterprise had its place, and we are grateful for the innovations, but now that we have the steam engine, what more is there to invent?

Now they are designing cities as a circle. No credit for Ebeneezer Howard, who designed exactly the same things in 1919. Never mind that Howard’s circles had lots of problems, and never mind that most of the world is not nice and flat. Most of all, never mind that the worst development patterns came on the heels of zoning laws.

Now we have a visage of total mechanization, as if that is somehow an improvement over craftsmanship. Never mind that mechanization consumes far more resources than craftsmanship – not only in the running of robots, but in the building of them. Robots can make robots that make robots that make chairs, consuming fuels and non-renewable resources at every step, or a craftsman can make chairs with hand tools. I guess once they put all the inputs into their supercomputer, they will see that. Or, perhaps not. Both monopoly capitalism and socialism are based on the myth of corporate efficiency, a myth that these people have swallowed.

They will have no money at all! Or so we are told. Centralized planning will tell me whether I would rather eat at a restaurant or go to a movie. I can have unlimited amounts of both! A computer will cook for me (exactly the way I like it), and make my life wonderful in every way. Obesity anyone?

Their example of “sustainable” automation shows a factory stamping out big plastic containers. If someone could make clues out of plastic, maybe they could buy one.

Next they trash incentives, as if the problem were that people were naturally rewarded for their efforts. Money is only a reward for “competitive mundane actions” that their supercomputer would replace. Yet I have done many jobs that, while not in the league of Thomas Edison, were quite creatively pursued, and I did them because they earned money.

The Wright brothers never showed a monetary incentive? They ran a bicycle shop for profit, and their interest in flight grew out of their professional and *profitable* business, making (and motorizing) profit.

Having not solved so many other problems, they are now not solving crime. What can’t they do?

They show really obnoxious Archie Bunker types calling these ideas Marxism, but it is more exactly and precisely Marxist than anything I have ever seen, outside of the tracts that had Marxism right on the header. They make the point that Marx hadn’t contemplated the reality of limited resources, but this is a trivial detail. The solution of abolishing profit, abolishing monetary choices, and ultimately abolishing labor, is right out of Marx. So far, I haven’t seen a word in their proposal that doesn’t fit into the phrase, “We must control the means of production.”

They condemn printing money with no collateral, which is exactly the right thing to do. Ain’t it awful, we’re running out of oil! Well, we are running out, and it is awful, but they are clueless about what to do about it – other than that they must control everything. Wouldn’t a stiff oil extraction royalty and a cut in income taxes let me make my own choices as to how I would use less oil?

There is no profit in resource efficiency. Well, why not? No clue. It’s just too awful to consider any approach less than complete centralized planning and the end of profit itself. So terribly awful.

As we drift into the last 15 minutes of the film, the “explosions of awfulness” increase in rapidity like the grand finale of a fireworks display. It’s an all-out “us vs. them” revolt of the masses. Then, magically, everyone has a love-fest and the rich withdraw all their money and throw it away in contempt.

Flash to the vision of utopia, orgasm and close. Their final lines are “This is our world. The revolution is now.” Yet they seem to have no clue what “This is our world” really means, and certainly no clue that we could each enjoy the world without some dictatorship of the super-computer telling us what our allotment is.
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.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 #78 on: April 24, 2012, 02:20:11 pm »
I haven't watched the film, but I'll take Sullivan's word for it.

"It’s easy to buy into the idea of rich people being obsessed with wealth and acquisition if you don’t actually know any rich people."

That one statement is a little off though. The Rockefellers and Rothschilds of the world are using their (ill-gotten) gains as a means to an end, more control. The way the economy is set up by these types usually prohibits any significant wealth being acquired through hard work, so we end up with the wealthy inevitably being more of the same aristocracy.

Offline Geolibertarian

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Re: Land Value Taxation: Rebuttals to Common Objections
« Reply #79 on: May 08, 2012, 12:37:26 pm »
I haven't watched the film, but I'll take Sullivan's word for it.

"It’s easy to buy into the idea of rich people being obsessed with wealth and acquisition if you don’t actually know any rich people."

That one statement is a little off though. The Rockefellers and Rothschilds of the world are using their (ill-gotten) gains as a means to an end, more control.

I've known Dan long enough to know that he wasn't referring to the parasitic super rich -- i.e., to multi-billionaires and trillionaires -- but rather to millionaires, who are a much more diverse lot.

To make a long story short, there's a world of difference between (a) a retired small business owner with a net worth of, say, $6 million and (b) a born aristocrat like Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking of Mr. Sullivan, he was recently interviewed on American Freedom Radio. Fast-forward to the beginning of the second hour:

     http://www.americanfreedomradio.com/archive/Truth-Jihad-32k-050412.mp3
"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://webofdebt.com
http://schalkenbach.org
http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=203330.0