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The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

A tax based on land value is in many ways ideal, but many economists dismiss it by assuming it could not raise enough revenue. Standard sources of data omit much of the potential tax base, and undervalue what they do measure. The purpose of this paper is to present more comprehensive and accurate measures of land . . . → Read More: The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

A tax based on land value is in many ways ideal, but many economists dismiss it by assuming it could not raise enough revenue. Standard sources of data omit much of the potential tax base, and undervalue what they do measure. The purpose of this paper is to present more comprehensive and accurate measures of land . . . → Read More: The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land: Enough and to Spare

The Sales Tax: History of a Dumb Idea

Commercial-capitalist civilization has progressed in step with people’s success in fending off sales taxes in their various guises. We might begin with The Enlightenment, late 18th Century, with its epicenter in Versailles. At the core were the philosophes; at their core were les économistes, or Physiocrats; and at their core was the physician from . . . → Read More: The Sales Tax: History of a Dumb Idea

A Cannan Hits the Mark

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

The Philosophy of Public Finance

THE TREATMENT of rent as public revenue is part and parcel of an organic theory of the State.
In the contractual theory, government is a kind of business which extends services to landowners. They only need pay for benefits received, which are construed in the narrowest possible terms.
In the organic theory, landowners hold title to land as a privilege. In return, . . . → Read More: The Philosophy of Public Finance

The Taxable Capacity of Land

The question I am assigned is whether the taxable capacity of land without buildings is up to the job of financing cities, counties, and schools. Will the revenue be enough? The answer is “yes.”

1993. In Patricia Salkin (ed.), Land Value Taxation, Papers from a Conference sponsored by The Government Law Center of Albany Law School, The Senate Environmental . . . → Read More: The Taxable Capacity of Land

The Taxable Surplus in Water Values

Taxes or rental charges for water use are bearable and legal and would spur water economy, but the following fallacies impede acceptance of these ideas: (1) water rights are real property, (ii) a charge on water would be passed on to consumers, (iii) the cost of water is just its development cost, (iv) markets solve most problems if property rights . . . → Read More: The Taxable Surplus in Water Values

Equity Premises and the Case for Socializing Rent

The Harvard Registrar reports the most popular undergraduate courses now are “Justice,” “Principles of Economics,” “The Concept of the Hero,” and “Literature of Social Reflection.” The “Me Generation” is passing; Justice, Heroism and Social Thought are “In.” Are economists ready for this future? I think not: changes must be made.
Classical political-economists were moral philosophers. They made distribution of wealth and income central . . . → Read More: Equity Premises and the Case for Socializing Rent

The Partiality of Indexing Capital Gains

In 1986, Congress made realized capital gains fully taxable, in the spirit of uniformity animating the 1986 reform. Now we are witnessing a major effort to revive the exclusion of part or all of capital gains from taxable income, partly on the grounds that much of the gains are “phantom” income, an illusion of . . . → Read More: The Partiality of Indexing Capital Gains

Indexing Capital Gains

A CONSENSUS has emerged among centrist economists that realized capital gains, before they are taxed, should be indexed for inflation in order to exclude phantom gains. Indexing means multiplying the historical cost, or tax “basis,” of the asset by a price index before subtracting it from sales price. This, apparently reasonable proposal is, in fact, partial and dicriminatory. All assets, . . . → Read More: Indexing Capital Gains