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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

Is the Bailout Justified?

QUESTION: We hear that the feds HAD to bail out Fannie and Freddie because of the terrible consequences of letting them fail. How much of that is real and how much is bunk? I’d have thought that if the companies go bankrupt, their stock sells for pennies on the dollar and the . . . → Read More: Is the Bailout Justified?

Tax Reforms to “Promote” Saving would Backfire

There is a strong movement afoot to tax just consumption rather than all income. The “good reason” for this is to promote saving and investment, and thus enhance domestic capital formation, said to be the main force for economic growth, poorly defined but assumed to be a good thing. A battery of well-financed pols, . . . → Read More: Tax Reforms to “Promote” Saving would Backfire

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

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

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

An Agenda for Strengthening the Property Tax

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

The Property Tax is a Progressive Tax

“The regressive property tax” has become a common block phrase among economists and in the popular press. President Nixon’s support for revenue-sharing is increasingly based on the need to protect the poor from heavy property taxes. Some prominent tax economists are favoring even sales taxes to make the tax system more progressive, by lowering the property tax.’ Even local income taxes, . . . → Read More: The Property Tax is a Progressive Tax

What is Property Tax Reform?

CAN PROPERTY TAX REFORM help the propertyless, the working men and women who-labor-for-wage incomes—the majority of Americans? Property is owned by people of property—the rich. Ownership of this rich tax base is concentrated in a few hands, much more so than income. The top 10 per cent of income receivers in the United States receive something like 30 per cent of . . . → Read More: What is Property Tax Reform?