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One thing that is normally best appreciated by conservative people is that property taxes are the best way to enslave poor and middle class people (especially in rural places).

Imagine the following scenario (of which I know many examples):

Person has a small plot of land (really small, maybe not even enough for subsistence) with a small home. Person is unemployed, cannot make much money, etc. If there is some kind of property tax that this person cannot pay then (s)he might get expropriated. So, from a poor person with a measure of self-reliance we now have a desperate slave.

One just needs a property tax that is designed to hit this segment.

by cagatacos on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 01:45:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm a georgist, so i'm a supporter of property taxes. The idea is that the land taxes don't benefit property owners or creditors, only industry and labour (wealth creation). Unlike most of all other taxes.

I agree that georgism is not without question marks. However your example is not one of those:

Person has a small plot of land (really small, maybe not even enough for subsistence) with a small home.

This person would pay zero LVT, because his plot produces only subsistence. LVT taxes only surplus, not necessary costs of capital or labour.

by kjr63 on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 05:05:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the tax designed to expropriate the smallholder would not have been designed according to Georgist standards.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 10:07:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly. The devil is in the details.
by cagatacos on Thu May 19th, 2011 at 10:39:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What would tax collector benefit by capturing worthless land? If one is unemployed, naturally in a civilised society, he receives unemployment benefits.
And do banks design housing prices according to "georgist standards?" Why should a small income family pay labour taxes to benefit them and property owners and only increase their own rents? Are they masochists? Shouldn't taxes create wealth, benefit the real economy and the poor and the sick?
by kjr63 on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 06:35:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What would tax collector benefit by capturing worthless land?

The tax collector could be an agent, not of the people, but of the very rich people. And if such a very rich person can get control of enough "worthless land" in an area and obtain favorable tax treatment for HIS holdings, on whatever pretext, in time the land might become valuable, especially if he successively acquires contiguous parcels.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 08:14:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The tax collector could be an agent, not of the people, but of the very rich people.

You mean that the tax collector would change the tax code at the moment the ownership is changed? Why otherwise would very rich people pay tax from a plot that does not produce anything? And when the land becomes more valuable, the tax increases even more. You are not talking about land tax at all. You are talking about "poll tax."

The tax collector is an agent of the very rich people now. They tax labour for the benefit of banks and property owners.

by kjr63 on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 08:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean that the tax collector would change the tax code at the moment the ownership is changed?

No. More likely would be that the wealthy individual has access to tax credits not widely known or available that would offset his tax, but not offset the tax on the small holder.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:20:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I just add, that naturally your point is correct. Powerful interests would try to fix property tax for their benefit. But this goal is already achieved much simpler way by taxing labour. When property is tax free, money men can capture rental value simply by creating credit. Or capture the whole ownership by creating property bubble and foreclosures.
by kjr63 on Fri May 20th, 2011 at 09:09:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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