In 1907 Cannan fired off a round at local rating of site values. It hit home. First he recited the logic of what today we call the “tragedy of the commons” (it was common coin long before Garrett Hardin). Then he pointed out that a city taxing only site values to provide free public services would attract too many people . . . → Read More: A Cannan Hits the Mark
Henry George proposed that land speculation creates boom-bust cycles. I propose a real-assets model of economic crises, loosely based on George’s theory, in which land prices play a central role. Swings in land prices affect the entire economy by three mechanisms: construction on marginal sites, partial displacement of circulating capital by fixed capital investment, and the . . . → Read More: A Real-Assets Model of Economic Crises: Will China Crash in 2015
California has long been and remains a major oil-extracting state. It is the largest gasoline consumer by far, at the highest prices. Its fields were yielding up hydrocarbons not long ago when oil was at $10/bbl or less, and natural gas was a drug on the market. There is much economic rent there. And yet California is the only . . . → Read More: A Severance Tax on California Oil?
MOST OF OUR CENTRAL CITIES, as is now well known, are threatened by a vicious circle which is related to property taxation.
As buildings become older, they tend to become fiscal deficits requiring more in cost than they return in taxes. As the central cities age, the buildings become old and fiscal-deficit generators. This requires the central city to increase its . . . → Read More: A Tax Tool for Meeting Urban Fiscal Crisis
More economists than not believe that land rent has superior qualities as a tax base. Their failure to push harder for focusing more of the tax burden on land stems partly from a belief that “there is no money in it.” The following journalistic passage reflects this belief: “Authorization of the graded tax would be useless, however, unless the present freeze . . . → Read More: Adequacy of Land as a Tax Base
Alfred Russel Wallace rose to fame with Charles Darwin: They independently found the principle of natural selection. Wallace later focused on reforming Great Britain’s land tenure system, under which a few owners had come to control most of the land, while most citizens had little or none of their own. In Land Nationalization (1882) Wallace proposed for the state to acquire . . . → Read More: Alfred Russel Wallace’s Campaign to Nationalize Land: How Darwin’s Peer Learned from John Stuart Mill and Became Henry George’s Ally
How should the forests be taxed? All agree they should be taxed on the basis of parity and equity with other industries and resources. But, with parity in respect to what? There is no substance to “parity” until we define the base. And unfortunately almost everyone, ourselves included, tends to define the base in the manner . . . → Read More: Alternative Ways of Taxing Forests
Insights Column in Groundswell . . . → Read More: America’s Low Saving Rate: What Can We Do?
I have four points: we do not need property tax relief; we do need assessment reform; we do need to shift the property tax in part to the stale level; and we do need to convert the general property tax into a tax on site vaiue.
“An Agenda for Strengthening the Property Tax.” In George Peterson (ed.), Property Tax Reform. . . . → Read More: An Agenda for Strengthening the Property Tax
Constructive problem-solving is when one takes problems and dilemmas and composes them into solutions. A simple example is when two lonely, longing people meet and marry. Another, more prosaic, is when a producer converts wastes into useful by-products. Another, more general, is whenever demand meets supply.
An address by Mason Gaffney at a meeting of . . . → Read More: Answer to Futilitarians