Mainstream Media Promote Real Land Rights
Matthew Bellamy and the Ontario Greens on Geoism
Lots of good press for an idea that makes sense lately (sent in by various readers). We trim, blend, and append six 2010 from: (1) the New York Times, Jun 17, on court rulings by the editors; (2) USA Today, Jun 22, on bad policy by the editors; (3) The Financial Times, Jun 21, on tinkering by the editors; (4) The Times, Jun 16, on taxing land by Philippe Legrain (his new book is Aftershock: Reshaping the World Economy After the Crisis); (5) The Frisky (part of Turner News), Jun 16, on Matthew Bellamy, posted by Kelli Bender; and (6) Ontario Greens, Jun 13, a resolution by Frank de Jong (candidate for Toronto City Council).
by editors of New York Times, of USA Today, of The Financial Times, , by Legrain, by Bender, and by de Jong
Common Sense and Private Property
The US Supreme Court heard a case brought to them after the state began adding sand to miles of eroded beaches in Floridaís panhandle. Homeowners said they should have exclusive access to the newly created beach, but the Florida Supreme Court said in 2008 that the owners had rights only to the old land. The owners said that would bring unwanted visitors, lowering their site values, and demanded compensation as a result of the courtís decision.
JJS: But would the wanna-be hoarders be so inclined to exclude everyone else if they had to pay compensate those whom they excluded? If they had to pay rent to their community? If society got back to understanding that owners owed? Present law and custom bend over backwards for owners, excluders, hoarders, speculators, and lenders. Thankfully, some major media question such policy.
Housing subsidies promote unfairness, bailouts
The Home Affordable Modification Program is the latest in a multi-decade series of misguided policies that have accomplished little but drive up home prices and promote irresponsible lending and borrowing.
Tax breaks to homeowners will cost the Treasury $212 billion per year by 2012Ab. That's about four times what is spent on homeland security.
More than half of the total comes from the deductibility of interest on mortgages. It applies to mortgages of up to $1 million. So average Joes are helping the rich live better.
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the "government sponsored enterprises" that buy and guarantee mortgages, collapsed. They repeatedly claimed they posed no risks to taxpayers -- who now must cough up an estimated at $381 billion.
For all of this, what has the country gotten? The homeownership rate was y 68% at the height of the bubble. In Canada, which has no mortgage deduction or many other subsidies, the ownership rate is about the same.
Housing subsidies are like a narcotic. Buyers have more money to spend, so prices rise. Then, when a recession turns the high into a hangover, real-estate lobbyists and their allies clamor to up the dosage.
Helping borrowers who are in so much trouble that they will default even with much better terms is little but a gift to bankers, who will take less of a hit in foreclosure. It also raises questions of fairness about why taxpayer money is going to the most imprudent of mortgage holders.
JJS: Want an answer to the question of fairness? And effectiveness? Look to England and Canada.
The Financial Times: The council tax should be replaced by a land value tax.
JJS: Canít get much more explicit than that -- and from the Wall St Journal of England yet! And The Times (of London) published the following:
Tax land: it canít be hidden from the Revenue
A century ago, Winston Churchill -- who, like the present coalition, was both Liberal and Conservative -- advocated a land tax. The aim would be to shift the tax burden off hard-working families and on to idle landlords -- as in Hong Kong, where revenues from land taxes keep income tax low, there is no VAT or capital gains tax, and enterprise flourishes.
When the Government taxes successful effort, people strive less -- some work less, others donít bother setting up a business, a few relocate overseas -- and since hiring is more expensive, fewer jobs are created.
A land tax would stimulate the regeneration of derelict sites. Unlike property taxes, people who do up their homes would not be penalized. Infrastructure that raises surrounding land values, such as a high-speed rail network, would pay for itself.
Taxing land values could also limit property bubbles -- and the inevitable busts. The notion that we can all get rich by swapping more or less the same stock of houses at ever more inflated prices is a dangerous delusion. Property speculation diverts funds from productive investment in promising companies -- and when the bubble bursts, the economy plunges into recession. Isnít it time we learnt from our mistakes?
Above all, a land tax would be fair. Since nearly all of us earn most of our lifetime income from work rather than from rent, taxing land instead of labor would make most people better off.
Things You Need To Know About Matthew Bellamy
Muse frontman Matthew Bellamy is a big believer in Geoism, also known as Georgism. Named after Henry George, followers believe that everything created or earned by a man or woman belongs to them fully. Geoists also believe that everything that comes from nature should be shared among all people equally, especially the land. This means no taxes on your paycheck and that celebrities should downsize their space-consuming mansions. [Knowledge Rush]
Resolution by the Green Party of Ontario
The GPO proposes a natural resource levy so that those who use, monopolize or despoil our common wealth and reducing everyone else's access to and benefit from our common heritage, are obliged to reimburse society for this privilege;
The GPO would reduce taxes on labor, business, and production and instead generate government revenue through fees and levies on the use and abuse of the global commons and on access to community assets;
JJS: May more Greens climb onboard.
Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.
Is Alaska's ex-governor right about taxing polluters?
What if property taxes are the best way to tax?
End All Taxes -- Except One
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