Rolling Stone: Work to Recover Land Value, Pay Everyone a Share
|January 6, 2014||Posted by Staff under Good Press|
Five Economic Reforms Millennials Should Be Fighting For
This 2014 excerpt of Rolling Stone, Jan 3, is by Jesse A. Myerson.
Here are a few things we might want to start fighting for, pronto, if we want to grow old in a just, fair society, rather than the economic hellhole our parents have handed us.
Social Security for All
As much as unemployment blows, so do jobs. What if the government would just add a sum sufficient for subsistence to everyone’s bank account every month. A proposal along these lines has been gaining traction in Switzerland.
We live in the age of 3D printers and self-replicating robots. Actual human workers are increasingly surplus. A universal basic income would provide everyone time to cultivate new pleasures, activities, senses, passions, affects, and socialities that exceed the options of working and saving, producing and accumulating.
Take Back The Land
Ever noticed how much landlords blow? They don’t really do anything to earn their money. They just claim ownership of buildings and charge people who actually work for a living the majority of our incomes for the privilege of staying in boxes that these owners often didn’t build and rarely if ever improve. In a few years, my landlord will probably sell my building to another landlord and make off with the appreciated value of the land s/he also claims to own – which won’t even get taxed, as long as s/he ploughs it right back into more real estate.
Think about how stupid that is. The value of the land has nothing to do with my idle, remote landlord; it reflects the nearby parks and subways and shops, which I have access to thanks to the community and the public. So why don’t the community and the public derive the value and put it toward uses that benefit everyone?
The most mainstream way of flipping the script is a simple land-value tax. We can make disastrous asset price bubbles impossible and curb Wall Street’s hideous bloat. TWe have to stop letting rich people pretend they privately own what nature provided everyone.
A Public Bank in Every State
The whole point of a finance sector is supposed to be collecting the surplus that the whole economy has worked to produce, and channeling that surplus wealth toward its most socially valuable uses. It is difficult to overstate how completely awful our finance sector has been at accomplishing that basic goal. Let’s try to change that by allowing state governments into the banking game.
There is only one state that currently has a public option for banking: North Dakota. When North Dakotans pay state taxes, the money gets deposited in the state’s bank, which in turn offers cheap loans to farmers, students, and businesses.
If any of these ideas sound good to you, there’s a bitter political struggle to be waged. Let’s get to work.
Ed. Notes: The author listed two other ideas but these three selected are more crucial and actually related. How do you fund an extra income for everyone? You use taxes, fees, dues, or leases to redirect all of society’s spending for land and resources and government-granted privileges like corporate charters (her LVT above) into the public treasury. Then you’d have a surplus for paying citizens a dividend.
How do you make banking unattractive to business so it’d evolve into a public utility organically? Again, you use taxes, dues, etc, to recover the annual rental value of sites, resources, and of little pieces of paper like patents and copyrights. Then, as the dues for land rises, the price for land falls, shrinking mortgages, spoiling their role as the gravy train for bankers. Also, with so much income from these charges, government no longer would need to borrow so much, again deflating the lust of lenders. Doing so would also deflate the cost of living, so people would have much less need for loans and credit cards. Bankers will become very unhappy so government may want to step up to the plate and provide whatever few financial services people may still want.
The economy would no longer be a major threat in anyone’s life.