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Greater Social Benefits From our National Forests

Economists are not doing their job if they merely act like auditors and snoops. We are actually more dangerous than that. We become aware that there are gross perceptual biases in popular awareness of different kinds of waste. A poor congressman can get ruined for hiring a steno with a fast track record, but quietly waste billions of the . . . → Read More: Greater Social Benefits From our National Forests

How a Water Market Might Work

This will not be a perfect market. There will be only one seller, and the buyers will surely form a user’s association. But this should not deter us. No human institution is perfect, except some that are perfectly awful. The present water market is one of these, and the point is to make it less awful. Maximum feasible improvement is the . . . → Read More: How a Water Market Might Work

Intergovernmental Competition for Energy Resources

Commissioner Dorgan is quite right that North Dakota, like other states, possesses a sovereign right to levy taxes in the manner of its choosing provided only that it does not discriminate against interstate commerce in a gross and overt way. I am only surprised that he feels a need to defend North Dakota’s use of its indisputable right. Anyone, . . . → Read More: Intergovernmental Competition for Energy Resources

Land Gains, Fast Write-Off, and Incentives to Build

Once upon a time each building was written off from taxable income over something purporting to approximate its economic life. Then Congress and the industry began implementing the Commons variation of the George principle. They began shortening tax lives and steepening the gradient of depreciation paths. The light broke on most of us with the speed of a crepuscular Yukon sunrise, but . . . → Read More: Land Gains, Fast Write-Off, and Incentives to Build

Mason Gaffney’s Testimony to the President’s Commission on Urban Problems

The higher tax rate in cities drives investors elsewhere, both home builders and industry, because whoever puts un a new building under this state of affairs tends to become a fiscal surplus generator, and no one really wants to be that: it means you pay more in taxes than you get back in services.
Since there are many competing jurisdictions, . . . → Read More: Mason Gaffney’s Testimony to the President’s Commission on Urban Problems

The Many Faces of Site-Value Taxation

There is a great interest stirring currently in Canada and elsewhere in tapping for the public revenues more of the economic rent of natural resources and/or the unearned increment of land values. “Economic rent”, not long ago a strange alien wording, has become common currency in Canadian discussion. Ontario has enacted a tax on increments of land value when realized by . . . → Read More: The Many Faces of Site-Value Taxation