Government's Proper Role
Is it the purpose of our government and our elected representatives
to protect privilege, or is it to protect the rights of each member of society
to their fair share of the commons and to equal opportunity?
Rev. A. C. Auchmuty: Gems from George, a
themed collection of excerpts from the writings of Henry George (with
links to sources)
IN socialism as distinguished from individualism there is an unquestionable
truth — and that a truth to which (especially by those most identified
with free-trade principles) too little attention has been paid. Man is primarily
an individual — a separate entity, differing from his fellows in desires
and powers, and requiring for the exercise of those powers and the gratification
of those desires individual play and freedom. But he is also a social being,
having desires that harmonize with those of his fellows, and powers that
can only be brought out in concerted action. There is thus a domain of individual
action and a domain of social action — some things which can best be
done when each acts for himself, and some things which can best be done when
society acts for all its members. And the natural tendency of advancing civilization
is to make social conditions relatively more important, and more and more
to enlarge the domain of social action. This has not been sufficiently regarded,
and at the present time, evil unquestionably results from leaving to individual
action functions that by reason of the growth of society and the developments
of the arts have passed into the domain of social
action; just as, on the other hand, evil unquestionably results from social
interference with what properly belongs to the individual. Society ought
not to leave the telegraph and the railway to the management and control
of individuals; nor yet ought society to step in and collect individual debts
or attempt to direct individual industry. — Protection or Free
Trade, Chapter 28 econlib
THE primary purpose and end of government being to secure the natural rights
and equal liberty of each, all businesses that involve monopoly are within
the necessary province of governmental regulation, and businesses that are
in their nature complete monopolies become properly functions of the State.
As society develops, the State must assume these functions, in their nature
co-operative, in order to secure the equal rights and liberty of all. That
is to say, as, in the process of integration, the individual becomes more
and more dependent upon and subordinate to the all, it becomes necessary
for government, which is properly that social organ by which alone the whole
body of individuals can act, to take upon itself, in the interest of all,
certain functions which cannot safely be left to individuals. — Social
Problems — Chapter
17, The Functions of Government
IT is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to
preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be
repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal
rights of each from aggression on the part of others, and the moment governmental
prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very
ends they are intended to serve.— Social
Problems — Chapter
17, The Functions of Government
ALL schemes for securing equality in the conditions of men by placing the distribution
of wealth in the hands of government have the fatal defect of beginning at the
wrong end. They pre-suppose pure government; but it is not government that makes
society; it is society that makes government; and until there is something like
substantial equality in the distribution of wealth, we cannot expect pure government. — Protection
or Free Trade, Chapter 28 econlib ... go
to "Gems from George"
Louis Post: Outlines of Louis F. Post's
Lectures, with Illustrative Notes and Charts (1894)
3. THE SINGLE TAX FALLS IN PROPORTION TO BENEFITS
To perceive that the single tax would justly measure the value of government
service we have only to realize that the mass of individuals everywhere and now,
in paying for the land they use, actually pay for government service in proportion
to what they receive. He who would enjoy the benefits of a government must use
land within its jurisdiction. He cannot carry land from where government is poor
to where it is good; neither can he carry it from where the benefits of good
government are few or enjoyed with difficulty to where they are many and fully
enjoyed. He must rent or buy land where the benefits of government are available,
or forego them. And unless he buys or rents where they are greatest and most
available he must forego them in degree. Consequently, if he would work or live
where the benefits of government are available, and does not already own land
there, he will be compelled to rent or buy at a valuation which, other things
being equal, will depend upon the value of the government service that the site
he selects enables him to enjoy. 14 Thus does he pay for the service of government
in proportion to its value to him. But he does not pay the public which provides
the service; he is required to pay land-owners.
14. Land values are lower in all countries of
poor government than in any country of better government, other things
being equal. They
are lower in cities of poor government, other things being equal, than
in cities of better government. Land values are lower, for example, in
Juarez, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande, where government is bad,
than in El Paso, the neighboring city on the American side, where government
is better. They are lower in the same city under bad government than
under improved government. When Seth Low, after a reform campaign, was
elected mayor of Brooklyn, N.Y., rents advanced before he took the oath
of office, upon the bare expectation that he would eradicate municipal
abuses. Let the city authorities anywhere pave a street, put water through
it and sewer it, or do any of these things, and lots in the neighborhood
rise in value. Everywhere that the "good roads" agitation of
wheel men has borne fruit in better highways, the value of adjacent land
has increased. Instances of this effect as results of public improvements
might be collected in abundance. Every man must be able to recall some
within his own experience.
And it is perfectly reasonable that it should be so.
Land and not other property must rise in value with desired improvements
in government, because, while any tendency on the part of other kinds
of property to rise in value is checked by greater production, land can
not be reproduced.
Imagine an utterly lawless place, where life and property
are constantly threatened by desperadoes. He must be either a very bold
man or a very avaricious one who will build a store in such a community
and stock it with goods; but suppose such a man should appear. His store
costs him more than the same building would cost in a civilized community;
mechanics are not plentiful in such a place, and materials are hard to
get. The building is finally erected, however, and stocked. And now what
about this merchant's prices for goods? Competition is weak, because
there are few men who will take the chances he has taken, and he charges
all that his customers will pay. A hundred per cent, five hundred per
cent, perhaps one or two thousand per cent profit rewards him for his
pains and risk. His goods are dear, enormously dear — dear enough
to satisfy the most contemptuous enemy of cheapness; and if any one should
wish to buy his store that would be dear too, for the difficulties in
the way of building continue. But land is cheap! This is the
type of community in which may be found that land, so often mentioned
and so seldom seen, which "the owners actually can't give away,
But suppose that government improves. An efficient administration
of justice rids the place of desperadoes, and life and property are safe.
What about prices then? It would no longer require a bold or desperately
avaricious man to engage in selling goods in that community, and competition
would set in. High profits would soon come down. Goods would be cheap — as
cheap as anywhere in the world, the cost of transportation considered.
Builders and building materials could be had without difficulty, and
stores would be cheap, too. But land would be dear! Improvement
in government increases the value of that, and of that alone.
Now, the economic principle pursuant to which land-owners are thus able
to charge their fellow-citizens for the common benefits of their common government
points to the true method of taxation. With the exception of such other monopoly
property as is analogous to land titles, and which in the purview of the
single tax is included with land for purposes of taxation, 15 land is the
only kind of property that is increased in value by government; and the increase
of value is in proportion, other influences aside, to the public service
which its possession secures to the occupant. Therefore, by taxing land in
proportion to its value, and exempting all other property, kindred monopolies
excepted — that is to say, by adopting the single tax — we should
be levying taxes according to benefits.16
15. Railroad franchises, for example, are not usually
thought of as land titles, but that is what they are. By an act of sovereign
authority they confer rights of control for transportation purposes over
narrow strips of land between terminals and along trading points. The
value of this right of way is a land value.
16. Each occupant would pay to his landlord the value
of the public benefits in the way of highways, schools, courts, police
and fire protection, etc., that his site enabled him to enjoy. The landlord
would pay a tax proportioned to the pecuniary benefits conferred upon
him by the public in raising and maintaining the value of his holding.
And if occupant and owner were the same, he would pay directly according
to the value of his land for all the public benefits he enjoyed, both
intangible and pecuniary.
And in no sense would this be class taxation. Indeed, the cry of class
taxation is a rather impudent one for owners of valuable land to raise against
the single tax, when it is considered that under existing systems of taxation
they are exempt. 17 Even the poorest and the most degraded classes in the
community, besides paying land-owners for such public benefits as come their
way, are compelled by indirect taxation to contribute to the support of government.
But landowners as a class go free. They enjoy the protection of the courts,
and of police and fire departments, and they have the use of schools and
the benefit of highways and other public improvements, all in common with
the most favored, and upon the same specific terms; yet, though they go through
the form of paying taxes, and if their holdings are of considerable value
pose as "the tax-payers" on all important occasions, they,
in effect and considered as a class, pay no taxes, because government, by
increasing the value of their land, enables them to recover back in higher
rents and higher prices more than their taxes amount to. Enjoying the same
tangible benefits of government that others do, many of them as individuals
and all of them as a class receive in addition a tangible pecuniary benefit
which government confers upon no other property-owners. The value of their
property is enhanced in proportion to the benefits of government which its
occupants enjoy. To tax them alone, therefore, is not to discriminate against
them; it is to charge them for what they get.18
17. While the landholders of the City of Washington were
paying something less than two per cent annually in taxes, a Congressional
Committee (Report of the Select Committee to Investigate Tax Assessments
in the District of Columbia, composed of Messrs. Johnson, of Ohio, Chairman,
Wadsworth, of New York, and Washington, of Tennessee. Made to the House
of Representatives, May 24, 1892. Report No. 1469), brought out
the fact that the value of their land had been increasing at a minimum
rate of ten per cent per annum. The Washington land-owners as a class
thus appear to have received back in higher land values, actually and
potentially, about ten dollars for every two dollars that as land-owners
they paid in taxes. If any one supposes that this condition is peculiar
to Washington let him make similar estimates for any progressive locality,
and see if the land-owners there are not favored in like manner.
But the point is not dependent upon increase in the capitalized
value of land. If the land yields or will yield to its owner an income
in the nature of actual or potential ground rent, then to the extent
that this actual or possible income is dependent upon government the
landlord is in effect exempt from taxation. No matter what tax he pays
on account of his ownership of land, the public gives it back to him
to that extent.
18. Take for illustration two towns, one of excellent
government and the other of inefficient government, but in all other
respects alike. Suppose you are hunting for a place of residence and
find a suitable site in the town of good government. For simplicity of
illustration let us suppose that the land there is not sold outright
but is let upon ground rent. You meet the owner of the lot you have selected
and ask him his terms. He replies:
"Two hundred and fifty dollars a year."
"Two hundred and fifty dollars a year!" you
exclaim. "Why, I can get just as good a site in that other town
for a hundred dollars a year."
"Certainly you can," he will say. "But
if you build a house there and it catches fire it will burn down; they
have no fire department. If you go out after dark you will be 'held up'
and robbed; they have no police force. If you ride out in the spring,
your carriage will stick in the mud up to the hubs, and if you walk you
may break your legs and will be lucky if you don t break your neck; they
have no street pavements and their sidewalks are dangerously out of repair.
When the moon doesn't shine the streets are in darkness, for they have
no street lights. The water you need for your house you must get from
a well; there is no water supply there. Now in our town it is different.
We have a splendid fire department, and the best police force in the
world. Our streets are macadamized, and lighted with electricity; our
sidewalks are always in first class repair; we have a water system that
equals that of New York; and in every way the public benefits in this
town are unsurpassed. It is the best governed town in all this region.
Isn't it worth a hundred and fifty dollars a year more for a building
site here than over in that poorly governed town?"
You recognize the advantages and agree to the terms.
But when your house is built and the assessor visits you officially,
what would be the conversation if your sense of the fitness of things
were not warped by familiarity with false systems of taxation? Would
it not be something like what follows?
"How much do you regard this house as worth? " asks
"What is that to you?" you inquire.
"I am the town assessor and am about to appraise
your property for taxation."
"Am I to be taxed by this town? What for?"
"What for?" echoes the assessor in surprise. "What
for? Is not your house protected from fire by our magnificent fire department?
Are not you protected from robbery by the best police force in the world?
Do not you have the use of macadamized pavements, and good sidewalks,
and electric street lights, and a first class water supply? Don't you
suppose these things cost something? And don't you think you ought to
pay your share?"
"Yes," you answer, with more or less calmness; "I
do have the benefit of these things, and I do think that I ought to pay
my share toward supporting them. But I have already paid my share for
this year. I have paid it to the owner of this lot. He charges me two
hundred and fifty dollars a year -- one hundred and fifty dollars more
than I should pay or he could get but for those very benefits. He has
collected my share of this year's expense of maintaining town improvements;
you go and collect from him. If you do not, but insist upon collecting
from me, I shall be paying twice for these things, once to him and once
to you; and he won't be paying at all, but will be making money out of
them, although he derives the same benefits from them in all other respects
that I do." ...
c. Significance of the Upward Tendency of Rent
Now, what is the meaning of this tendency of Rent to rise with social progress,
while Wages tend to fall? Is it not a plain promise that if Rent be treated
as common property, advances in productive power shall be steps in the direction
of realizing through orderly and natural growth those grand conceptions of
both the socialist and the individualist, which in the present condition
of society are justly ranked as Utopian? Is it not likewise a plain warning
that if Rent be treated as private property, advances in productive power
will be steps in the direction of making slaves of the many laborers, and
masters of a few land-owners? Does it not mean that common ownership of Rent
is in harmony with natural law, and that its private appropriation is disorderly
and degrading? When the cause of Rent and the tendency illustrated in the
preceding chart are considered in connection with the self-evident truth
that God made the earth for common use and not for private monopoly, how
can a contrary inference hold? Caused and increased by social growth, 97
the benefits of which should be common, and attaching to land, the just right
to which is equal, Rent must be the natural fund for public expenses. 98
97. Here, far away from civilization, is a solitary settler.
Getting no benefits from government, he needs no public revenues, and
none of the land about him has any value. Another settler comes, and
another, until a village appears. Some public revenue is then required.
Not much, but some. And the land has a little value, only a little; perhaps
just enough to equal the need for public revenue. The village becomes
a town. More revenues are needed, and land values are higher. It becomes
a city. The public revenues required are enormous, and so are the land
98. Society, and society alone, causes Rent. Rising with
the rise, advancing with the growth, and receding with the decline of
society, it measures the earning power of society as a whole as distinguished
from that of the individuals. Wages, on the other hand, measure the earning
power of the individuals as distinguished from that of society as a whole.
We have distinguished the parts into which Wealth is distributed as Wages
and Rent; but it would be correct, indeed it is the same thing, to regard
all wealth as earnings, and to distinguish the two kinds as Communal
Earnings and Individual Earnings. How, then, can there be any question
as to the fund from which society should be supported? How can it be
justly supported in any other way than out of its own earnings?
If there be at all such a thing as design in the universe — and who
can doubt it? — then has it been designed that Rent, the earnings of
the community, shall be retained for the support of the community, and that
Wages, the earnings of the individual, shall be left to the individual in
proportion to the value of his service. This is the divine law, whether we
trace it through complex moral and economic relations, or find it in the
eighth commandment. ... read the book
Louis Post: Outlines of Louis F. Post's
Lectures, with Illustrative Notes and Charts (1894) — Appendix:
Q1. Do you regard the single tax as a panacea for all social disease?
A. When William Lloyd Garrison announced his conversion to the single tax in
a letter to Henry George, he took pains to state that he did not believe it
to be a panacea, and Mr. George replied : "Neither do I; but I believe
that freedom is." Your question may be answered in the same way. Freedom
is the panacea for social wrongs and the ills they breed, and the single tax
principle is the tap-root of freedom.
Q3. In an interior or frontier town, where land has but little value,
how would you raise enough money for schools, highways, and other public
A. There is no town whose finances are reasonably managed in which the land
values are insufficient for local needs. Schools, highways, and so forth,
are not local but general, and should be maintained from the land values
of the state at large.
Q21. Do not the benefits of good government increase the value of houses
as well as of land?
A. No. Houses are never worth any more than it costs to reproduce
government tends to diminish the cost of house building; how, then, can good
government increase the value of houses? You are confused by the fact that
houses, being attached to land, seem to increase in value, when it is the
land and not the house that really increases. It is the same mistake that
a somewhat noted economic teacher, who advocates protection as his specialty,
made when he tried to show that there is an "unearned increment" to
houses as well as to lands. He did so by instancing a lot of vacant land
which had risen in value from $5000 to $10,000, and comparing it with a house
on a neighboring lot which, as he said, had also increased in value from
$5000 to $10,000. At the moment when he wrote, the house to which he referred
could have been reproduced for $5000; and had he been capable of thinking
out a proposition he must have discovered that it was the lot on which the
house stood, and not the house itself, which had increased in value.
Q26. Hasn't every man who needs it a right to be employed by the government?
A. No. But he has a right to have government secure him in the enjoyment of his
equal right to the opportunities for employment that nature and social growth
supply. When government secures him in that respect, if he cannot get work
it is because (1) he does not offer the kind of service that people want; or
(2) he is incapable. His remedy, if he does not offer the kind of service that
people want, is either to make people see that they are mistaken, or go to
work at something else; if he is incapable, his remedy is to improve himself.
In no case has he a right to government interference in his behalf, either
through schemes to make work, or by bounties or tariffs. ... read
Charles B. Fillebrown: A Catechism
of Natural Taxation, from Principles of
Natural Taxation (1917)
Q3. What is meant by economic rent?
A. Gross ground rent -- the annual site value of land -- what land, including
any quality or content of the land itself, is worth annually for use --
what the land does or would command for use per annum if offered in open
market -- the annual value of the exclusive use in control of a given area
of land, involving the enjoyment of those "rights and privileges thereto
pertaining" which are stipulated in every title deed, and which, enumerated
specifically, are as follows: right and ease of access to
* water, and
* health inspection,
* fire protection,
* steam and electric railway service,
* gas and electric lighting,
* telegraph and telephone service,
* public schools,
* private schools,
* public buildings --
utilities which depend for their efficiency and economy on the character
of the government; which collectively constitute the economic and social
advantages of the land which are due to the presence and activity of population,
and are inseparable therefrom, including the benefit of proximity to, and
command of, facilities for commerce and communication with the world -- an
artificial value created primarily through public expenditure of taxes. For
the sake of brevity, the substance of this definition may be conveniently
expressed as the value of "proximity." It is ordinarily measured
by interest on investment plus taxes.
Q15. What should be the limit of revenue under the single tax?
A. The same as under any other system of taxation, the cost of government
Q16. Did not Henry George hold that the full ground rent of land should
be taken in taxation?
A. No! Not only did he concede a margin of rent to the landlord, but as a
matter of fact, as Thomas G. Shearman said, "not all the power of all
governments" could collect in taxation all of ground rent.
... read the whole article
Albert Jay Nock — Henry Gorge: Unorthodox
George held with Paine and Thomas Jefferson that government is at best a
necessary evil, and the less of it the better. Hence the right thing was
it as far as possible, and reduce the functions and powers of the state
to an absolute minimum, which, he said, the confiscation of rent would do
whereas the collectivist proposal to confiscate and manage natural resources
as a state enterprise would have precisely the opposite effect — it
would tend to make the state everything and the individual nothing. ...read the whole article
Kris Feder: Progress and Poverty
George's central contribution
was to show that the distinction
between individual property and common property forms a rational
basis for distinguishing the domain of public activity from that of
the private. This distinction leads him to a theory of public
finance that reconciles the competing insights of socialism and
laissez-faire capitalism. By a simple
fiscal device, the revenue
arising from common property can be captured for the public treasury
and applied to the common benefit, so that government may assume
needed general functions without interfering with individual
- The benefits of sustained economic development would be
- The limited resources of the earth would be managed for
benefit of all, including future generations.
- Government would become,
not a repressive power, but "the
administration of a great cooperative society.
- It would become merely the agency by which the common
was administered for the common benefit." Read
the whole article
Henry George: The Condition of
Labor — An Open Letter to Pope Leo XIII in response to Rerum Novarum (1891)
As to the use of land, we hold: That —
While the right of ownership that justly attaches to things produced by
labor cannot attach to land, there may attach to land a right of possession.
As your Holiness says, “God has not granted the earth to mankind in
general in the sense that all without distinction can deal with it as they
please,” and regulations necessary for its best use may be fixed by
human laws. But such regulations must conform to the moral law — must
secure to all equal participation in the advantages of God’s general
bounty. The principle is the same as where a human father leaves property
equally to a number of children. Some of the things thus left may be incapable
of common use or of specific division. Such things may properly be assigned
to some of the children, but only under condition that the equality of benefit
among them all be preserved.
In the rudest social state, while industry consists in hunting, fishing,
and gathering the spontaneous fruits of the earth, private possession of
land is not necessary. But as men begin to cultivate the ground and expend
their labor in permanent works, private possession of the land on which labor
is thus expended is needed to secure the right of property in the products
of labor. For who would sow if not assured of the exclusive possession needed
to enable him to reap? who would attach costly works to the soil without
such exclusive possession of the soil as would enable him to secure the benefit?
This right of private possession in things created by God is however very
different from the right of private ownership in things produced by labor.
The one is limited, the other unlimited, save in cases when the dictate of
self-preservation terminates all other rights. The purpose of the one, the
exclusive possession of land, is merely to secure the other, the exclusive
ownership of the products of labor; and it can never rightfully be carried
so far as to impair or deny this. While any one may hold exclusive possession
of land so far as it does not interfere with the equal rights of others,
he can rightfully hold it no further.
Thus Cain and Abel, were there only two men on earth, might by agreement
divide the earth between them. Under this compact each might claim exclusive
right to his share as against the other. But neither could rightfully continue
such claim against the next man born. For since no one comes into the world
without God’s permission, his presence attests his equal right to the
use of God’s bounty. For them to refuse him any use of the earth which
they had divided between them would therefore be for them to commit murder.
And for them to refuse him any use of the earth, unless by laboring for them
or by giving them part of the products of his labor he bought it of them,
would be for them to commit theft. ...
Nor do we hesitate to say that this way of securing the equal right to the
bounty of the Creator and the exclusive right to the products of labor is
the way intended by God for raising public revenues. For we are not atheists,
who deny God; nor semi-atheists, who deny that he has any concern in politics
It is true as you say — a salutary truth too often forgotten — that “man
is older than the state, and he holds the right of providing for the life
of his body prior to the formation of any state.” Yet, as you too perceive,
it is also true that the state is in the divinely appointed order. For He
who foresaw all things and provided for all things, foresaw and provided
that with the increase of population and the development of industry the
organization of human society into states or governments would become both
expedient and necessary.
No sooner does the state arise than, as we all know, it needs revenues.
This need for revenues is small at first, while population is sparse, industry
rude and the functions of the state few and simple. But with growth of population
and advance of civilization the functions of the state increase and larger
and larger revenues are needed.
Now, He that made the world and placed man in it, He that pre-ordained civilization
as the means whereby man might rise to higher powers and become more and
more conscious of the works of his Creator, must have foreseen this increasing
need for state revenues and have made provision for it. That is to say: The
increasing need for public revenues with social advance, being a natural,
God-ordained need, there must be a right way of raising them — some
way that we can truly say is the way intended by God. It is clear that this
right way of raising public revenues must accord with the moral law.
It must not take from individuals what rightfully belongs to individuals.
It must not give some an advantage over others, as by increasing the prices
of what some have to sell and others must buy.
It must not lead men into temptation, by requiring trivial oaths, by making
it profitable to lie, to swear falsely, to bribe or to take bribes.
It must not confuse the distinctions of right and wrong, and weaken the
sanctions of religion and the state by creating crimes that are not sins,
and punishing men for doing what in itself they have an undoubted right to
It must not repress industry. It must not check commerce. It must not punish
thrift. It must offer no impediment to the largest production and the fairest
division of wealth.
Let me ask your Holiness to consider the taxes on the processes and products
of industry by which through the civilized world public revenues are collected — the
octroi duties that surround Italian cities with barriers; the monstrous customs
duties that hamper intercourse between so-called Christian states; the taxes
on occupations, on earnings, on investments, on the building of houses, on
the cultivation of fields, on industry and thrift in all forms. Can these
be the ways God has intended that governments should raise the means they
need? Have any of them the characteristics indispensable in any plan we can
deem a right one?
All these taxes violate the moral law. They take by force what belongs to
the individual alone; they give to the unscrupulous an advantage over the
scrupulous; they have the effect, nay are largely intended, to increase the
price of what some have to sell and others must buy; they corrupt government;
they make oaths a mockery; they shackle commerce; they fine industry and
thrift; they lessen the wealth that men might enjoy, and enrich some by impoverishing
Yet what most strikingly shows how opposed to Christianity is this system
of raising public revenues is its influence on thought.
Christianity teaches us that all men are brethren; that their true interests
are harmonious, not antagonistic. It gives us, as the golden rule of life,
that we should do to others as we would have others do to us. But out of
the system of taxing the products and processes of labor, and out of its
effects in increasing the price of what some have to sell and others must
buy, has grown the theory of “protection,” which denies this
gospel, which holds Christ ignorant of political economy and proclaims laws
of national well-being utterly at variance with his teaching. This theory
sanctifies national hatreds; it inculcates a universal war of hostile tariffs;
it teaches peoples that their prosperity lies in imposing on the productions
of other peoples restrictions they do not wish imposed on their own; and
instead of the Christian doctrine of man’s brotherhood it makes injury
of foreigners a civic virtue.
“By their fruits ye shall know them.” Can anything more clearly
show that to tax the products and processes of industry is not the way God
intended public revenues to be raised?
But to consider what we propose — the raising of public revenues by
a single tax on the value of land irrespective of improvements — is
to see that in all respects this does conform to the moral law.
Let me ask your Holiness to keep in mind that the value we propose to tax,
the value of land irrespective of improvements, does not come from any exertion
of labor or investment of capital on or in it — the values produced
in this way being values of improvement which we would exempt. The value
of land irrespective of improvement is the value that attaches to land by
reason of increasing population and social progress. This is a value that
always goes to the owner as owner, and never does and never can go to the
user; for if the user be a different person from the owner he must always
pay the owner for it in rent or in purchase-money; while if the user be also
the owner, it is as owner, not as user, that he receives it, and by selling
or renting the land he can, as owner, continue to receive it after he ceases
to be a user.
Thus, taxes on land irrespective of improvement cannot lessen the rewards
of industry, nor add to prices,* nor in any way take from the individual
what belongs to the individual. They can take only the value that attaches
to land by the growth of the community, and which therefore belongs to the
community as a whole.
* As to this point it may be well to add that all economists
are agreed that taxes on land values irrespective of improvement or use — or what
in the terminology of political economy is styled rent, a term distinguished
from the ordinary use of the word rent by being applied solely to payments
for the use of land itself — must be paid by the owner and cannot be
shifted by him on the user. To explain in another way the reason given in
the text: Price is not determined by the will of the seller or the will of
the buyer, but by the equation of demand and supply, and therefore as to
things constantly demanded and constantly produced rests at a point determined
by the cost of production — whatever tends to increase the cost
of bringing fresh quantities of such articles to the consumer increasing
by checking supply, and whatever tends to reduce such cost decreasing
price by increasing supply. Thus taxes on wheat or tobacco or cloth add
price that the consumer must pay, and thus the cheapening in the cost
of producing steel which improved processes have made in recent years
reduced the price of steel. But land has no cost of production, since
it is created by God, not produced by man. Its price therefore is fixed —
1 (monopoly rent), where land is held in close monopoly, by what the owners
can extract from the users under penalty of deprivation and consequently
of starvation, and amounts to all that common labor can earn on it beyond
what is necessary to life;
2 (economic rent proper), where there is no special monopoly, by what the
particular land will yield to common labor over and above what may be had
by like expenditure and exertion on land having no special advantage and
for which no rent is paid; and,
3 (speculative rent, which is a species of monopoly rent, telling particularly
in selling price), by the expectation of future increase of value from social
growth and improvement, which expectation causing landowners to withhold
land at present prices has the same effect as combination.
Taxes on land values or economic rent can therefore never be shifted by
the landowner to the land-user, since they in no wise increase the demand
for land or enable landowners to check supply by withholding land from use.
Where rent depends on mere monopolization, a case I mention because rent
may in this way be demanded for the use of land even before economic or natural
rent arises, the taking by taxation of what the landowners were able to extort
from labor could not enable them to extort any more, since laborers, if not
left enough to live on, will die. So, in the case of economic rent proper,
to take from the landowners the premiums they receive, would in no way increase
the superiority of their land and the demand for it. While, so far as price
is affected by speculative rent, to compel the landowners to pay taxes on
the value of land whether they were getting any income from it or not, would
make it more difficult for them to withhold land from use; and to tax the
full value would not merely destroy the power but the desire to do so.
To take land values for the state, abolishing all taxes on the products
of labor, would therefore leave to the laborer the full produce of labor;
to the individual all that rightfully belongs to the individual. It would
impose no burden on industry, no check on commerce, no punishment on thrift;
it would secure the largest production and the fairest distribution of wealth,
by leaving men free to produce and to exchange as they please, without any
artificial enhancement of prices; and by taking for public purposes a value
that cannot be carried off, that cannot be hidden, that of all values is
most easily ascertained and most certainly and cheaply collected, it would
enormously lessen the number of officials, dispense with oaths, do away with
temptations to bribery and evasion, and abolish man-made crimes in themselves
But, further: That God has intended the state to obtain the revenues it
needs by the taxation of land values is shown by the same order and degree
of evidence that shows that God has intended the milk of the mother for the
nourishment of the babe.
See how close is the analogy. In that primitive condition ere the
need for the state arises there are no land values. The products of labor have value,
but in the sparsity of population no value as yet attaches to land itself.
But as increasing density of population and increasing elaboration
of industry necessitate the organization of the state, with its need for
begins to attach to land. As population still increases and industry grows
more elaborate, so the needs for public revenues increase. And at the same
time and from the same causes land values increase. The connection is invariable. The value of things produced by labor tends to decline with social development,
since the larger scale of production and the improvement of processes tend
steadily to reduce their cost. But the value of land on which population
centers goes up and up. Take Rome or Paris or London or New York or Melbourne.
Consider the enormous value of land in such cities as compared with
the value of land in sparsely settled parts of the same countries. To what
due? Is it not due to the density and activity of the populations of those
cities — to the very causes that require great public expenditure for
streets, drains, public buildings, and all the many things needed for the
health, convenience and safety of such great cities? See how with the growth
of such cities the one thing that steadily increases in value is land; how
the opening of roads, the building of railways, the making of any public
improvement, adds to the value of land. Is it not clear that here is a natural
law — that is to say a tendency willed by the Creator? Can it mean
anything else than that He who ordained the state with its needs has in the
values which attach to land provided the means to meet those needs?
That it does mean this and nothing else is confirmed if we look deeper still,
and inquire not merely as to the intent, but as to the purpose of the intent.
If we do so we may see in this natural law by which land values increase
with the growth of society not only such a perfectly adapted provision for
the needs of society as gratifies our intellectual perceptions by showing
us the wisdom of the Creator, but a purpose with regard to the individual
that gratifies our moral perceptions by opening to us a glimpse of his beneficence.
Consider: Here is a natural law by which as society advances the one thing
that increases in value is land — a natural law by virtue of which
all growth of population, all advance of the arts, all general improvements
of whatever kind, add to a fund that both the commands of justice and the
dictates of expediency prompt us to take for the common uses of society.
Now, since increase in the fund available for the common uses of society
is increase in the gain that goes equally to each member of society, is it
not clear that the law by which land values increase with social advance
while the value of the products of labor does not increase, tends with the
advance of civilization to make the share that goes equally to each member
of society more and more important as compared with what goes to him from
his individual earnings, and thus to make the advance of civilization lessen
relatively the differences that in a ruder social state must exist between
the strong and the weak, the fortunate and the unfortunate? Does it not show
the purpose of the Creator to be that the advance of man in civilization
should be an advance not merely to larger powers but to a greater and greater
equality, instead of what we, by our ignoring of his intent, are making it,
an advance toward a more and more monstrous inequality? ...
With both anarchists and socialists, we, who for want of a better term have
come to call ourselves single-tax men, fundamentally differ. We regard them
as erring in opposite directions — the one in ignoring the social nature
of man, the other in ignoring his individual nature. While we see
that man is primarily an individual, and that nothing but evil has come or
from the interference by the state with things that belong to individual
action, we also see that he is a social being, or, as Aristotle called him,
a political animal, and that the state is requisite to social advance, having
an indispensable place in the natural order. Looking on the bodily organism
as the analogue of the social organism, and on the proper functions
of the state as akin to those that in the human organism are discharged by
intelligence, while the play of individual impulse and interest performs
functions akin to those discharged in the bodily organism by the unconscious
instincts and involuntary motions, the anarchists seem to us like men who
would try to get along without heads and the socialists like men who would
try to rule the wonderfully complex and delicate internal relations of their
frames by conscious will. ...
Take, for instance, protectionism. What support it has,
beyond the mere selfish desire of sellers to compel buyers to pay them more
than their goods
are worth, springs from such superficial ideas as that production, not consumption,
is the end of effort; that money is more valuable than money’s-worth,
and to sell more profitable than to buy; and above all from a desire to limit
competition, springing from an unanalyzing recognition of the phenomena that
necessarily follow when men who have the need to labor are deprived by monopoly
of access to the natural and indispensable element of all labor. Its
methods involve the idea that governments can more wisely direct the expenditure
of labor and the investment of capital than can laborers and capitalists,
and that the men who control governments will use this power for the general
good and not in their own interests. They tend to multiply officials, restrict
liberty, invent crimes. They promote perjury, fraud and corruption. And they
would, were the theory carried to its logical conclusion, destroy civilization
and reduce mankind to savagery. ...
You state that you approach the subject with confidence, yet in all that
greater part of the Encyclical (19-67) devoted to the remedy, while there
is an abundance of moral reflections and injunctions, excellent in themselves
but dead and meaningless as you apply them, the only definite practical proposals
for the improvement of the condition of labor are:
1. That the state should step in to prevent overwork, to restrict
the employment of women and children, to secure in workshops conditions
to health and morals, and, at least where there is danger of insufficient
wages provoking strikes, to regulate wages (39-40).
2. That it should encourage the acquisition of property (in land)
by working-men (50-51).
3. That working-men’s associations should be formed (52-67). These
remedies so far as they go are socialistic, and though the Encyclical
is not without recognition of the individual character of man and of the
of the individual and the family to the state, yet the whole tendency
and spirit of its remedial suggestions lean unmistakably to socialism — extremely
moderate socialism it is true; socialism hampered and emasculated by
a supreme respect for private possessions; yet socialism still. But, although
use the ambiguous term “private property” when the context
shows that you have in mind private property in land, the one thing clear
surface and becoming clearer still with examination is that you insist
that whatever else may be done, the private ownership of land shall be
left untouched. ... read the
H.G. Brown: Significant
Paragraphs from Henry George's Progress & Poverty:
10. Effect of Remedy Upon Wealth Production (in the unabridged P&P: Part
IX — Effects of the Remedy: Chapter 1 — Of the effect upon
the production of wealth)
The elder Mirabeau, we are told, ranked the proposition of Quesnay, to substitute
one single tax on rent (the impôt unique) for all other taxes,
as a discovery equal in utility to the invention of writing or the substitution
of the use of money for barter.
To whosoever will think over the matter, this saying will appear an evidence
of penetration rather than of extravagance. The advantages which would be gained
by substituting for the numerous taxes by which the public revenues are now
raised, a single tax levied upon the value of land, will appear more and more
important the more they are considered.
- This is the secret which would transform the little village into the
- With all the burdens removed which now oppress industry and hamper exchange,
the production of wealth would go on with a rapidity now undreamed
- This, in its turn, would lead to an increase in the value of land — a
new surplus which society might take for general purposes.
- And released from the difficulties which attend the collection of revenue
in a way that begets corruption and renders legislation the tool of special
interests, society could assume functions which the increasing complexity
of life makes it desirable to assume, but which the prospect of political
demoralization under the present system now leads thoughtful men to shrink
*At the beginning of Book
IX of the complete Progress & Poverty, Henry George quotes from
Themistocles: "I cannot play upon any stringed instrument, but I
can tell you how of a little village to make a great and glorious city."
Consider the effect upon the production of wealth.
To abolish the taxation which, acting and reacting, now hampers every wheel
of exchange and presses upon every form of industry, would be like removing
an immense weight from a powerful spring. ... read the whole chapter
Henry George: In Liverpool: The Financial
Reform Meeting at the Liverpool Rotunda (1889)
That is what we strive for — for the freedom of all, for self-government
to all (hear, hear) — and for as little government as possible: (Laughter
and cheers) We don't believe that tyranny is a thing alone of kings and monarchs;
we know well that majorities can be as tyrannous as aristocracies (hear, hear);
we know that mobs can persecute as well as crowned heads. (Hear, hear) What
we ask for is freedom — that in each locality, large or small, the
people of that locality shall be free to manage the affairs that pertain
only to that
locality (hear, hear, and cheers); that each individual shall be free to
manage the affairs that relate to him; that government shall not presume
to say of
whom he shall buy or to whom he shall sell, shall not attempt to dictate
to him in any way, but shall confine itself to its proper function of preserving
the public peace, of preventing the strong from oppressing the weak, of
for the public good all the revenues that belong of right to the public,
and of managing those affairs that are best managed by the whole. (Cheers)
doctrine is the doctrine of freedom, our gospel is the gospel of liberty,
and we have faith in it, why should we not? (Cheers) ... read the whole speech
The Most Rev. Dr Thomas Nulty, Roman Catholic Bishop of Meath
(Ireland): Back to the Land (1881)
How Best to Use the Common
The great problem, then, that the nations, or, what comes to the
same thing, that the Governments of nations have to solve is -- what
is the most profitable and remunerative investment they can make of
this common property in the interest and for the benefit of the
people to whom it belongs? In other words, how can they bring the
largest, and, as far as possible, the most skilled amount of
effective labour to bear on the proper cultivation and improvement of
the land? -- how can they make it yield the largest amount of human
food, human comforts and human enjoyments -- and how
aggregate produce be divided so as to give everyone the fairest and
largest share he is entitled to without passing over or excluding
the whole letter
Judge Samuel Seabury: An Address delivered
upon the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henry George
WE are met to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Henry George.
We meet, therefore, in a spirit of joy and thanksgiving for the great life
which he devoted to the service of humanity. To very few of the children
of men is it given to act the part of a great teacher who makes an outstanding
contribution toward revealing the basic principles to which human society
must adhere if it is to walk in the way which leads to freedom. This Henry
George did, and in so doing he expressed himself with a clarity of thought
and diction which has rarely been surpassed. ...
Henry George never wrote a line which could be tortured into the support
of the principles of the totalitarian state, or that gave sanction to the
theory that men in their individual and social activities should be regimented
and directed by great bureaucracies such as all our modern states, including
our so-called democracies, have set up.
Henry George believed in the state, but it was a state that was the
servant, not the master, of the people: a state that was to be kept within
and whose powers were strictly limited and to be exercised in subordination
to the will of the people — a state, in short, such as is defined
in our national and state constitutions.
Machiavelli and Hobbes in their writings expressed the foundations for
despotism, and disclosed the cruelties, subterfuges and deceits by which
alone a despotism can be achieved.
Marx and Lenin, because of their belief that the rights of the individual
were fictional rather than real, built upon those principles of Machiavelli
and Hobbes which constitute the foundation of the modern totalitarian state.
'The whole idea of the totalitarian state, whether it finds expression
in a system of fascism, either of the Italian or the German variety, or
in the equally odious system of a dictatorship of the proletariat, rests
upon a disregard of fundamental human rights and the substitution of an
autocratic will for the encouragement of individual initiative among the
people. The tragic menace implicit in the despotism of the totalitarian
state, which makes it an offense to God and man, is its claim of absolutism
to crush the individuality and destroy the conscience of men.
The principles of freedom enunciated by Henry George are utterly inconsistent
with the Marxian creed which ends in state socialism or in the totalitarian
state, in principle identical with it. Indeed, the great French economist,
Charles Gide, in his lecture on the cooperative program, contrasts
a voluntary cooperative system, which retains individual initiative as
the basis of
all economic activity and preserves the spontaneity and inexhaustible
reserves of invention and creation, with state socialism, which is proving
more sterile both in economic production and in affording protection
to public and private freedom.
... Indeed, if we try to envision, in view of our present location this
World of Tomorrow," I have no hesitation in saying that if the world
of tomorrow is to be a civilized world, and not a world which has relapsed
into barbarism, it can be so only by applying the principles of freedom
which Henry George taught. The principles to which I refer are:
First, that men have equal rights in natural resources, and that these
rights may find recognition in a system which gives effect to the distinction
between what is justly private property because it has relation to individual
initiative and is the creation of labor and capital, and what is public
property because it is either a part of the natural resources of the country,
whose value is created by the presence of the community, or is founded
upon some governmental privilege or franchise.
Henry George believed in an order of society in which monopoly should
be abolished as a means of private profit. The substitution of state monopoly
for private monopoly will not better the situation. It ignores the fact
that even where a utility is a natural monopoly which must be operated
in the public interests, it should be operated as a result of cooperation
between the representatives of labor, capital. and consumers, and not by
the politicians who control the political state.
We should never lose sight of the fact that all monopolies are created
and perpetuated by state laws. If the states wish seriously to abolish
monopoly, they can do so by withdrawing their privileges; but they cannot
grant the privileges which make monopoly inevitable and avoid the consequences
by invoking anti-trust laws against them.
It is strange that the state, which has assumed all sorts of functions
which it cannot with advantage perform, still persists in neglecting
a vital function which it should and can perform — the function
of collecting public revenues, as far as possible, from those who reap
benefits of natural resources. In view of public and social needs,
it is remarkable that no effort has been made by governments to reduce
burdens on labor and capital, which are engaged in increasing production,
by transferring them to those who restrict production by making monopoly
privileges special to themselves.
These monopolistic privileges are of course disguised under many different
forms, but the task of ascertaining what they are, and their true value,
is a task within the competency of government if it really desires
to accomplish it. ... read the whole speech
Peter Barnes: Capitalism
3.0: Preface (pages ix.-xvi)
I’m also a liberal, in the sense that I’m not averse to
a role for government in society. Yet history has convinced me that representative
government can’t adequately protect the interests of ordinary citizens.
Even less can it protect the interests of future generations, ecosystems,
and nonhuman species. The reason is that most — though not all — of
the time, government puts the interests of private corporations first.
This is a systemic problem of a capitalist democracy, not just a matter
of electing new leaders.
If you identify with the preceding sentiments, then you might be confused
and demoralized, as I have been lately. If capitalism as we know it is
deeply flawed, and government is no savior, where lies hope? This strikes
me as one of the great dilemmas of our time. For years the Right has
been saying — nay, shouting — that government is flawed and
that only privatization, deregulation, and tax cuts can save us. For
just as long, the Left has been insisting that markets are flawed and
that only government can save us. The trouble is that both sides are
half-right and half-wrong. They’re both right that markets and
state are flawed, and both wrong that salvation lies in either sphere.
But if that’s the case, what are we to do? Is there, perhaps, a
missing set of institutions that can help us? ... read
the whole chapter
Peter Barnes: Capitalism
3.0 — Chapter 3: The Limits of Government (pages 33-48)
In his essay “The Tragedy of the Commons,” Garrett Hardin
envisioned only two ways to save the commons: statism and privatism.
Either a coercive government would have to stop humans from mindlessly
destroying the planet, or private property owners, operating in a free
market, would have to do the job. In the next two chapters I’ll
show why neither of these approaches suffices.
In considering the potential of governmental remedies, let’s clarify
what we mean. We’re not talking about tyranny; we’re talking
about legitimate forms of government activity such as regulation, taxation,
and public ownership. Can these traditional methods effectively preserve
common wealth for our children? ...
The notion that government should protect the commons goes back a long
way. Sometimes this duty is considered so basic it’s taken for
granted. At other times, it’s given a name: the public trust. Several
states actually put this duty in writing. Pennsylvania’s constitution,
for example, declares: “Pennsylvania’s public natural resources
are the common property of all the people, including generations yet
to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve
and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.” Note that
in this constitutional dictum, serving as trustee of natural resources
isn’t an option for the state, it’s an affirmative duty.
Yet here as elsewhere, rhetoric and reality differ. Political institutions
don’t function in a vacuum; they function in a world in which power
is linked to property. This was true when fifty-five white male property
owners wrote our Constitution, and it’s no less true today.
America has been engaged in two experiments simultaneously: one is called
democracy, the other, capitalism. It would be nice if these experiments
ran separately, but they don’t. They go on in the same bottle,
and each affects the other. After two hundred years, we can draw some
conclusions about how they interact. One is that capitalism distorts
democracy more than the other way around.
The reason capitalism distorts democracy is simple. Democracy is an
open system, and economic power can easily infect it. By contrast, capitalism
is a gated system; its bastions aren’t easily accessed by the masses.
Capital’s primacy thus isn’t an accident, nor the fault of
George W. Bush. It’s what happens when capitalism inhabits democracy.
This isn’t to say the United States government can’t, at
times, restrain corporations. It has a number of tools at its disposal,
and has used them in the past with some success. But the measures it
can take are woefully inadequate to the task of safeguarding the planet
for our children. Let’s see why. ...
Does this mean there’s no hope? I don’t think so. The window
of opportunity is small, but not nonexistent. Throughout American history,
anticorporate forces have come to power once or twice per century. In
the nineteenth century, we had the eras of Jackson and Lincoln; in the
twentieth century, those of Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt. Twenty-first
century equivalents will, I’m sure, arise. It may take a calamity
of some sort — another war, a depression, or an ecological disaster — to
trigger the next anticorporate ascendancy, but sooner or later it will
come. Our job is to be ready when it comes.
What constitutes readiness? Three things, I believe.
- First, we must have a proper view of government’s role. That
role isn’t to run the economy, or even to manage the commons
directly; it’s to assign common property rights to trustworthy
guardians who will.
- Second, we must have a plan to fix our economic operating system,
not just to put patches on symptoms.
- And third, we must recognize that the duration of any anticorporate
ascendancy will be brief, and that we must use that small
window to build institutions
that outlast it.
Laws, regulations, and taxes are easily rescinded or weakened when corporations
don’t like them. Property rights, by contrast, tend to endure,
as do institutions that own them. So we should focus on creating such
institutions and endowing them with permanent property rights.
Make no mistake: it will take more than a few wand strokes to bring
capitalism into harmony with nature and the human psyche. This is a
thirty- to fifty-year project. During this time, we must be locked
on a steady
course. For this reason, I wouldn’t place much faith in slim
and fickle majorities in Congress. As we’ll see, I would place
it in the hands of commons trustees, empowered with property rights
as much as humanly possible to generations hence. ... read
the whole chapter
Peter Barnes: Capitalism
3.0 — Chapter 9: Building the Commons Sector (pages 135-154)
One of the most valuable lessons I learned in business was, when you
need something done, find the right person, give that person clear marching
orders, authority, and resources, and get out of the way. In other words,
The same logic applies to government. When government wants to do things,
it has to find people to do them. It can add people to its own bureaucracy,
or it can contract with outsiders. It shouldn’t matter as long
as the public purpose is met at reasonable cost.
When it comes to building the new commons sector, there’s plenty
for everyone to do. Government in particular has four important
roles to play:
1. Until it assigns responsibility for a commons to someone else, government
is the default trustee, and should be held to trusteeship standards.
2. Government is the initial assigner and ultimate arbiter of property
rights. Instead of privatizing nearly everything, it should assign
more property rights to commons trusts and give commons rights precedence
3. Only government can broker inter- and intragenerational compacts
like Social Security and Medicare. We need government to do this
health insurance and the Children’s Opportunity Trust.
4. Government can help finance the reacquisition and restoration of previously
privatized pieces of the commons. State and local governments in particular
have the authority to issue long-term tax-exempt bonds, which can be
used to acquire private land and water rights.
These four roles reflect government’s unique responsibilities and
strengths. But there are areas where government doesn’t have
a competitive advantage, and much of this book has been about one
Earlier I discussed the trusteeship function — the work that someone
must do to protect our shared inheritances. We need this function to
work right, because if it doesn’t, our descendants, along with
many other species’ offspring, are doomed. So we have to ask, who
is best suited to perform this function? The evidence suggests that neither
government nor private corporations can do this particular job well.
So we’re left with trusts that are accountable to future generations.
I suggest to those who care about the future: it’s time to delegate
the trusteeship function to trusts.We should give the trusts clear missions,
authority, and resources, and then get out of their way. The trusts may
not be perfect, but they’re likely to do a better job, for a longer
time, than any of the known alternatives. ... read
the whole chapter
Peter Barnes: Capitalism
3.0 — Chapter 10: What You Can Do (pages 155-166)
To build Capitalism 3.0, we each have unique roles to play. I therefore
address the final pages of this book to a variety of people whose participation
is critical. ...
Everyone wants your attention. Channel 5 is on line 3 and a powerful
lobbyist is at your door. It’s hard for you to see the forest for
the trees. What can I possibly tell you?
What I want to tell you is, there’s a fork in the road. On one
side lies capitalism as we know it; on the other, an upgrade. You must
decide which branch to take. Your choice has vast ramifications. Very
possibly, the fate of the planet is in your hands. Trillions of dollars
are also at stake. I want you to be courageous. I want you to choose
But that isn’t what one says to a politician. What one says is,
we need to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, create jobs in America,
and protect the environment. All those things cost money, and government
doesn’t have enough. But here’s what government can do.
- First, delegate to an independent authority — something like
the Fed — the power to cap U.S. carbon consumption. That way, when
energy prices go up (which they inevitably will), you won’t get
blamed. Also, make sure the carbon authority pays dividends, like the
Alaska Permanent Fund. Then, when checks are mailed to your constituents,
you can take credit.
- Second, talk about jobs and energy independence in your speeches.
And push for an American Permanent Fund financed by sales of pollution
a few years, thousands of people in your district will be installing new
energy systems and cashing dividend checks. You’ll be a hero.
- Finally, tell your donors not to worry. You’re a low-tax, small-government,
pay-as-we-go kind of person. You think the environment should be protected
through market mechanisms. You favor an ownership society in which every
American has a tax-deferred savings account and no child is left behind.
the whole chapter