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Supply-Side Economics


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 great city.*
  • With all the burdens removed which now oppress industry and hamper exchange, the production of wealth would go on with a rapidity now undreamed of.
  • 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 from.
    *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. Imbued with fresh energy, production would start into new life, and trade would receive a stimulus which would be felt to the remotest arteries. The present method of taxation operates upon exchange like artificial deserts and mountains;

  • it costs more to get goods through a custom house than it does to carry them around the world.
  • It operates upon energy, and industry, and skill, and thrift, like a fine upon those qualities.
  • If I have worked harder and built myself a good house while you have been contented to live in a hovel, the taxgatherer now comes annually to make me pay a penalty for my energy and industry, by taxing me more than you.
  • If I have saved while you wasted, I am mulct, while you are exempt.
  • If a man build a ship we make him pay for his temerity, as though he had done an injury to the state;
  • if a railroad be opened, down comes the tax collector upon it, as though it were a public nuisance;
  • if a manufactory be erected we levy upon it an annual sum which would go far toward making a handsome profit.
  • We say we want capital, but if any one accumulate it, or bring it among us, we charge him for it as though we were giving him a privilege.
  • We punish with a tax the man who covers barren fields with ripening grain,
  • we fine him who puts up machinery, and him who drains a swamp.

How heavily these taxes burden production only those realize who have attempted to follow our system of taxation through its ramifications, for, as I have before said, the heaviest part of taxation is that which falls in increased prices.

To abolish these taxes would be to lift the whole enormous weight of taxation from productive industry. The needle of the seamstress and the great manufactory; the cart horse and the locomotive; the fishing boat and the steamship; the farmer's plow and the merchant's stock, would be alike untaxed. All would be free to make or to save, to buy or to sell, unfined by taxes, unannoyed by the taxgatherer. Instead of saying to the producer, as it does now, "The more you add to the general wealth the more shall you be taxed!" the state would say to the producer, "Be as industrious, as thrifty, as enterprising as you choose, you shall have your full reward! You shall not be fined for making two blades of grass grow where one grew before; you shall not be taxed for adding to the aggregate wealth."
And will not the community gain by thus refusing to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs; by thus refraining from muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn; by thus leaving to industry, and thrift, and skill, their natural reward, full and unimpaired? For there is to the community also a natural reward. The law of society is, each for all, as well as all for each. No one can keep to himself the good he may do, any more than he can keep the bad. Every productive enterprise, besides its return to those who undertake it, yields collateral advantages to others. If a man plant a fruit tree, his gain is that he gathers the fruit in its time and season. But in addition to his gain, there is a gain to the whole community. Others than the owner are benefited by the increased supply of fruit; the birds which it shelters fly far and wide; the rain which it helps to attract falls not alone on his field; and, even to the eye which rests upon it from a distance, it brings a sense of beauty. And so with everything else. The building of a house, a factory, a ship, or a railroad, benefits others besides those who get the direct profits.
Well may the community leave to the individual producer all that prompts him to exertion; well may it let the laborer have the full reward of his labor, and the capitalist the full return of his capital. For the more that labor and capital produce, the greater grows the common wealth in which all may share. And in the value or rent of land is this general gain expressed in a definite and concrete form. Here is a fund which the state may take while leaving to labor and capital their full reward. With increased activity of production this would commensurately increase.

And to shift the burden of taxation from production and exchange to the value or rent of land would not merely be to give new stimulus to the production of wealth; it would be to open new opportunities. For under this system no one would care to hold land unless to use it, and land now withheld from use would everywhere be thrown open to improvement.

The selling price of land would fall; land speculation would receive its death blow; land monopolization would no longer pay.* Millions and millions of acres from which settlers are now shut out by high prices would be abandoned by their present owners or sold to settlers upon nominal terms. And this not merely on the frontiers, but within what are now considered well settled districts.
* The fact that a tax on the rental value of land cannot be shifted by landowners to tenants, though recognized by all competent economists, is sometimes a stumbling block to persons untrained in economics. The reason such a tax cannot be shifted is that it cannot limit the supply of land. Landowners are presumably, before the tax is laid, charging all the rent they can get. There is nothing in a tax on the rental value of land to make tenants willing to pay more or to make land more difficult to hire. On the contrary, more land will be on the market, because of such a tax, rather than less, since the tax puts a heavy penalty on holding land out of use and unimproved for mere speculation. The competition of former vacant land speculators to get their land used will make land cheaper to rent rather than more expensive. And since only the net rent remaining after the tax is subtracted is capitalized into salable value, land will be very much cheaper to buy. H.G.B.
And it must be remembered that this would apply, not merely to agricultural land, but to all land. Mineral land would be thrown open to use, just as agricultural land; and in the heart of a city no one could afford to keep land from its most profitable use, or on the outskirts to demand more for it than the use to which it could at the time be put would warrant. Everywhere that land had attained a value, taxation, instead of operating, as now, as a fine upon improvement, would operate to force improvement. Whoever planted an orchard, or sowed a field, or built a house, or erected a manufactory, no matter how costly, would have no more to pay in taxes than if he kept so much land idle.
  • The monopolist of agricultural land would be taxed as much as though his land were covered with houses and barns, with crops and with stock.
  • The owner of a vacant city lot would have to pay as much for the privilege of keeping other people off of it until he wanted to use it, as his neighbor who has a fine house upon his lot.
  • It would cost as much to keep a row of tumble-down shanties upon valuable land as though it were covered with a grand hotel or a pile of great warehouses filled with costly goods.
Thus, the bonus that wherever labor is most productive must now be paid before labor can be exerted would disappear.
  • The farmer would not have to pay out half his means, or mortgage his labor for years, in order to obtain land to cultivate;
  • the builder of a city homestead would not have to lay out as much for a small lot as for the house he puts upon it*;
  • the company that proposed to erect a manufactory would not have to expend a great part of its capital for a site.
  • And what would be paid from year to year to the state would be in lieu of all the taxes now levied upon improvements, machinery, and stock.
*Many persons, and among them some professional economists, have never succeeded in getting a thorough comprehension of this point. Thus, the editor has heard the objection advanced that the greater cheapness of land is no advantage to the poor man who is trying to save enough from his earnings to buy a piece of land; for, it is said, the higher taxes on the land after it is acquired, offset the lower purchase price. What such objectors do not see is that even if the lower price of land does no more than balance the higher tax on it, (and this overlooks, for one thing, the discouragement to speculation in land), the reduction or removal of other taxes is all clear gain. It is easier to save in proportion as earnings and commodities are relieved of taxation. It is easier to buy land, because its selling price is lower, if the land is taxed. And although the land, after its purchase, continues to be taxed, not only can this tax be fully paid out of the annual interest on the saving in the purchase price, but also there is to be reckoned the saving in taxes on buildings and other improvements and in whatever other taxes are thus rendered unnecessary. H.G.B.

Consider the effect of such a change upon the labor market. Competition would no longer be one-sided, as now. Instead of laborers competing with each other for employment, and in their competition cutting down wages to the point of bare subsistence, employers would everywhere be competing for laborers, and wages would rise to the fair earnings of labor. For into the labor market would have entered the greatest of all competitors for the employment of labor, a competitor whose demand cannot be satisfied until want is satisfied — the demand of labor itself. The employers of labor would not have merely to bid against other employers, all feeling the stimulus of greater trade and increased profits, but against the ability of laborers to become their own employers upon the natural opportunities freely opened to them by the tax which prevented monopolization.

With natural opportunities thus free to labor;

  • with capital and improvements exempt from tax, and exchange released from restrictions, the spectacle of willing men unable to turn their labor into the things they are suffering for would become impossible;
  • the recurring paroxysms which paralyze industry would cease;
  • every wheel of production would be set in motion;
  • demand would keep pace with supply, and supply with demand;
  • trade would increase in every direction, and wealth augment on every hand.... read the whole chapter

Mason Gaffney: How to Revive a Dying City

But we've always heard that tax destroys incentives. The news in Henry George is that we can tax all the rent out of land, and not one square foot will walk away, nor will God switch off the Creation. Man creates capital by saving; some Other Force created land, and sustains and serves it every day, undeterred by taxes.

Nor will Georgist taxes leave owners sulking on their land, but the contrary. A 1983 Fortune magazine article calls them "Higher Taxes that Promote Development." The fixed tax is levied on land value, based on opportunity cost. The owner uses land harder and improves it more to meet a fixed tax; or sells, releasing surplus land to those needing more space. Taxes stifle enterprise only if they increase with enterprise. Land tax increases only with opportunity cost, which is independent of the enterprise of the owner. The only activity this tax impairs is withholding land from use.

George's land tax promotes equity toward the landless in at least four ways:

  • it relieves them of taxes, to the extent that landowners pay more;
  • it supplies them with more goods and services, as land is used better;
  • it offers them jobs producing those goods and services; and
  • it offers them a better chance to acquire land, as surpluses are released to the market.
This is supply-side economics with a kick. It works through tax transformation rather than tax reduction; total tax revenue may rise or fall, as a separate issue. We can raise taxes and stimulate supply together; there is no hard choice between them. At the same time, it is demand side economics: untaxing investment raises the marginal after-tax return, which, to demand-siders, is the motor that drives the macro-economy. George's program not only reconciles efficiency and equity, it squares taxes and incentives. What more can we ask of economic policy than to resolve stand-offs that have confused us, and dead-locked constructive action, for generations?

It is an achievement on a par with resolving Evolution and Creation, except George's program is something we can do something about. We can implement it as quickly as we unclog the cerebral arteries and follow thought with action.  ... read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: George's Economics of Abundance: Replacing dismal choices with practical resolutions and synergies
Introduction: Resolutions vs. trade-offs
1. Equity, Efficiency, and Incentives
a. Equity and efficiency
b. Reconciling progressivity and motivation.
2. Reconciling demand side and supply side economics
a. Aggregate. Consumption and production
b. Investing and Saving
3. Micro "structural" reform coupled with macro reform
4. Local, state, and national applications
5. Relieving labor without burdening capital
6. Urban renewal without subsidizing evictions
7. Contains urban sprawl, improves urban linkages among complementary land uses, without overriding market choices.
a. Taxing land sharpens market incentives via the leverage effect noted earlier.
b. Fosters resident ownership, civic participation
8. Reconciles common rights to land with private tenure
9. Paying the debt while also making jobs
10. Making labor cheaper to hire without lowering wage rates
11. Adding people and capital w/o diluting resource base
12. Fostering economy in government in the very process of raising revenue
13. Enhance evironment and conserve resources while making jobs
A summary of reconciliations
1. Couples equity with efficiency.
2. Couples progressivity with motivation. Abates concentration of wealth and power while widening the scope of productive ambition and enterprise.
3. Makes more jobs without inflation. Raises demand-side and supply-side together, "leveling them upwards."
4. Raises both inducement to invest and inducement to save, at any income level. Also raises saving by raising income level.
5. Couples structural reform and macro reform.
6. May be applied at local, state, and national levels, together or jointly, in small degrees or large.
7. Relieves labor of taxation without burdening capital, and vice versa.
8. Renews cities without subsidizing evictions.
9. Contains urban sprawl, infills and coordinates cities without superimposing planning on the market.
10. Fosters resident ownership and civic participation without laws against absentee ownership, or other use of compulsion, but in the very process of lubricating land markets.
11. Asserts common rights to land while strengthening private tenure. Permits of privatizing without giveaway.
12. Allows paying off public debts while fostering full employment through (true) fiscal stimulus.
13. Makes labor cheaper to hire while raising real wage rates (take-home pay, disposable income). Thus makes jobs without lowering wage rates or "making work."
14. Lets regions, nations, and the world add population and capital without diluting their resource bases.
15. Fosters economy in government in the process of raising revenue.
16. Saves the environment in the process of intensifying land use.
17. Smoothes business cycles without depending solely on contra-cyclical fiscal or monetary policy. Stabilizes and secures financial institutions with only minimal regulation.
18. Effects land reform and redistribution abroad and at home, urban as well as rural, without government expense, and without acreage limitations, working through free markets.
19. Equalizes credit ratings for land buyers without any controls over lenders.
Epilogue: how the public demonstrates its preference for resolutions over dismal choices

... Untaxing buildings obviously draws in outside capital, which is good locally, but is not capital formation to the whole economy. In Keynesian models, higher income leads to higher saving, and does create new capital. Supply-siders today worry more about raising the rate of saving from any given income. In supply-side models it is more important to increase the rate of saving, without depending entirely on the Keynesian effect, where higher income raises saving. Also, from the nationalist viewpoint, it is better to supply investable funds from domestic savings, to minimize foreign ownership.

Land taxation helps here, too. Land taxation, if heavy enough to count, lowers the investment value of land, through "tax capitalization". There is a diminishing marginal utility of savings to any wealth-holder, meaning the more you have, the less you need more. With land devalued, those needing wealth seek substitute assets to replace land in their portfolios. To acquire those additional assets they must save more, and invest the savings in real new capital, rather than land.

Thus, Georgist taxation meets the proper goals of supply-side economics: raising output, and raising saving. It reconciles supply-side economics with taxation by providing a mode of taxation that stimulates instead of dragging down production and employment. 10  .. read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: The Partiality of Indexing Capital Gains

We surely agree with Roberts et al. that domestic capital formation is a crying current need; and the means is to foster saving and investing (but properly defined, as below). We also agree there is a strong, bi-partisan case for raising investment flows of the income-creating, work-activating kind. Here, however, we meet the problem of distinguishing new capital from old assets, especially land.

Land is not formed, like capital, by saving and investment; land is not reproducible. For that very reason land tends to appreciate, and therefore has to be a major source of what are misleadingly called "capital" gains. Again for that very reason, there is no supply-side kick in untaxing gains. Most of them are land gains, and should be called that. To use land as a store of value is macro-economically unproductive at best, and on balance counterproductive and destabilizing (considering its effect on financial institutions like the S&Ls).

To handle this matter we need two semantic distinctions which often are lost in the word-fencing of debate. Walter Heller, whose policies still enjoy bi-partisan support, thought and spoke in a Keynesian framework where "investment" means "investing," an affirmative, job-making action. It is a process, not a store of value; an economic flow, not a fund. It is not the asset held: this "investment" is a noun, macro-economically static and sterile. [Land may appreciate, and one may call this "investment," but the appreciation employs no one and creates no new wealth (although it may reflect the externalities of wealth created by others).]

To signalize these differences I use the present participle "investing," rather than the ambiguous noun "investment."  [Webster's 9th New Collegiate defines investment both ways: it is an action, (the Keynesian usage); it is also an asset being held, a store of value. Such a two-faced word is a natural medium for double-talk, and has been so exploited, to the detriment of general understanding.]

Every Keynesian also knew in 1961 that investment means net, positive-sum investing. It does not include buying and selling existing assets like land: these are zero-sum transactions, macro-economically non-functional and barren. [Keynes, although careless of consistency, generally took care to distinguish old and new assets. " ... the competition of a high interest-rate on mortgages may well have had the same effect in retarding the growth of wealth from current investment in newly produced capital-assets as high interest rates on long-term debts ... " [General Theory, 1936, p. 241.] The old macro-economists generally refer to investing in newly produced assets as "income- creating expenditure," which is clear and correct, but too much of a mouthful.]

I use "investing" only in the sense of net, income-creating, job-making spending. [Note the difference between real turnover and mere ownership turnover. Ownership turnover generates no income (except for brokers and M&A personnel) and creates no capital. Real turnover also creates no capital, but does forward supplies of goods to consume, and flows of investing to produce replacement goods. Most of gross investing is reinvesting funds received or anticipated from sales of old capital (including inventories, which turn fast, and "fixed" capital which turns slowly as it depreciates and the funds are reinvested).]

As to borrowing on land, that can be worse than barren when the financial system rises and falls on a land bubble, as it has and is.

Heller and his contemporaries also knew that the incentive driving job-making investing is MRORAT, the Marginal Rate of Return after Taxes. [Economists of the 1960s, following Keynes, called it the MEC, or "Marginal Efficiency of Capital," an awkward phrase now little used. Awkward or not, and intended or not, it had great historical consequence by putting the emphasis where it belongs, on marginal rates of return, excluding rents.]

The marginal idea is pivotal. The Average ROR includes rents; the Marginal ROR is the pure return to new investment, Keynes' "inducement to invest," which is activating and functional.

These Heller ideas were invoked again by supply-siders in early Reagan times. However, policy over the course of the 80s lost the substance of that policy, keeping only the guise. Domestic leaders forgot the usage of "investment" in macro-economics.

They gradually slipped into an illusion that buying and holding and bidding up old assets like non-reproduceable lands and stocks would make jobs and produce goods. They forgot to distinguish old from new assets, and marginal from average returns on investment (average returns, recall, include rents). Both critics and supporters of "supply-side" policies now darken counsel by debating current policies in supply-side terms, when the terms no longer describe the policy at issue.

 Along with normal confusion, there is intelligence behind such error. The case for downtaxing gains depends in part on exploiting confusion, in order to pass off rent-raising as an incentive for saving and investing, and so to disguise its non-functionality and eminent taxability. The policy is called "supply side," but isn't.  

The litmus test of the sincerity of capital-formation champions is their treatment of irreproduceable land. Raising rents and land prices, and protecting the gains from taxation, is purely distributive, with no power to foster saving and investing. On the contrary, a higher share for rent and/or land purchase must mean a lower share for the investor in new capital.

Ignoring land and its distinctive attributes has the effect of treating land as though it were true, reproduceable capital, to be formed by saving and investing, to be routinely worn out and replaced in the normal course of life and business. It lets advocates of investing and capital formation abuse the legitimate case for macro incentives, exploiting the case to camouflage unearned, nonfunctional rents and increments to land value.[Brookings' major contribution to our subject is Henry Aaron (ed), 1976, Inflation and the Income Tax, with chapters by 15 eminent economists. Land is treated by none and is not in the index. [It is mentioned in passing only by one, George Lent.]]  ... read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: Neo-classical Economics as a Stratagem Against Henry George

... Voters faced with two candidates, each coached by a neo-classical economist, also face a hard choice. They often appear apathetic and take a third choice, staying home. However, history denies that voters are intrinsically apathetic. They have gotten turned on by candidates who try to lead up and away from dismal trade-offs. 

In 1980 it was Ronald Reagan. Instead of the dismal Phillips Curve ("choose inflation or unemployment") he offered the happy Laffer Curve: lower tax rates would lead to higher supplies, higher revenues, and lower deficits, he promised. Lowering taxes, said Laffer, would eliminate the "wedge effect." He often cited Henry George in support of his position.4 Thus he would unleash supply, and collect more taxes while applying lower tax rates. The voters were sick of 2nd-generation Keynesians who had been reduced to preaching austerity, so they were game (if not wise) to buy into Reaganomics as advertised.

Unfortunately, the Laffer Curve turned out to be wildly overoptimistic, and Reaganomics partly fraudulent and hypocritical5 in application. The voters again tuned out and seemed apathetic. They are not saying, however, they don't care. They are saying "come back when you have something better, mean what you say, and deliver what you promise."  ...

The only shifting of a land tax is negative. By negative shifting I mean that the supply-side effects of taxing land will raise supplies of goods and services, and raise the demand for labor, thus raising the bargaining power of median people in the marketplace, both as consumers and workers. This effect makes the tax doubly progressive: it undercuts the holdout power and bargaining power of landowners vis-a-vis workers, and also vis-a- vis new investors in real capital. This effect also makes the land tax doubly efficient. ... read the whole essay
Mason Gaffney: Land Rent in a Tax-free Society  (Outline of remarks by Mason Gaffney, for use at Moscow Congress, 5/21/96) 
Rent will become huger yet when you abate taxes presently levied on production and exchange, because these now depress the rent of land. That is, in a tax-free market economy, the benefit of abating present taxes will lodge mainly in land rents. The taxable surplus simply shifts from one form to another.

This is more than a simple shift of a fixed amount. When you substitute land revenues for existing taxes, the surplus actually grows, as if by synergy. You gain more revenue base than you lose, because existing taxes now suppress much latent production. Payroll taxes directly drive workers from taxable jobs to untaxed gains from crime. Abating those taxes will unleash suppressed economic giants, along with all the new surplus values their latent production will generate. "Monetarists" warn you that "there are no free lunches." In fact, however, good policy creates lots of "free lunches." It makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Imagine the benefits, alone, of turning people from destructive careers in crime to useful jobs producing goods.

At the same time, the effect of socializing land revenues is to stimulate better land use - the opposite of the effect of existing taxes. Every landowner, to pay the required land charge, is pushed to steer his land to the best use (just as paying interest steers capital to its best use). Thus, the shift to rent-based revenues doubly induces new production: it releases the brake of present taxes, and replaces it with an added push to produce. This is "supply-side economic policy" in the best and truest sense. It generates yet more surplus. You may take all of rent to support government functions, without damaging private market incentives, but only sharpening them.

This policy lets us achieve and reconcile two policies that many now believe are incompatible, viz.: free markets, and common rights in land. It is a kind of miracle, yet simple to understand and implement. Monetarist advisers would bind you in a dilemma: they claim you must choose between private markets and common rights. In fact, you may have both at once. Public revenue is simply the kind of socialization that occurs in a market economy. Socialize the rent of land, and you socialize the net benefits of owning land, even while privatizing the management of land, and gaining the benefits of using free markets.

The combined effect of all this stimulus would be a burst of growth such as few economies have ever shown, except in wartime. We learned in the U.S.A. in World War II the astounding effects of simply taking the brakes off production. U.S. GNP doubled, 1941-43; all willing workers were fully employed. This same miracle can occur in Russia, 1996-98. The natural resources and human talent are here: you only need the right incentive structure to turn labor from idleness and crime to producing goods and services.... read the whole article

Mason Gaffney: Introduction: The Power of Neo-classical Economics  (Introduction to The Corruption of Economics, London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 1994)
Georgist tax policy reconciles equity and efficiency. Taxing land is progressive because the ownership of land is so highly concentrated among the most wealthy,18 and because the tax may not be shifted. It is efficient because it is neutral among rival land-use options: the tax is fixed, regardless of land use. This is one favorable point on which many modern economists actually agree, although they keep struggling against it, as we will see.

George showed that a tax can be progressive and pro-incentive at the same time. Think of it! An army of neo-classicalists preach dourly we must sacrifice equity and social justice on the altar of "efficiency." They need that thought to stifle the demand for social justice that runs like a thread through The Bible, The Koran, and other great religious works. George cut that Gordian knot, and so he had to be put down.

The only shifting of a land tax is negative. By negative shifting I mean that the supply-side effects of taxing land will raise supplies of goods and services, and raise the demand for labor, thus raising the bargaining power of median people in the marketplace, both as consumers and workers. This effect makes the tax doubly progressive: it undercuts the holdout power and bargaining power of landowners vis-a-vis workers, and also vis-a- vis new investors in real capital. This effect also makes the land tax doubly efficient. ...   Read the whole article

Fred E. Foldvary — The Ultimate Tax Reform: Public Revenue from Land Rent

Even if land value taxation does not yield the revenue that is desired, this is no argument against shifting as much public revenue as possible to rent-based sources. Public revenue from land values is the most complete application of “supply-side” economic policy. Supply-side policy attempts to increase production and the supply of goods by decreasing costs, such as by lowering taxes and eliminating excessive regulations and barriers to trade. A complete tax shift, away from taxing production to taxing land values, is the ultimate supply-side policy, since it removes the excess economic burden of taxation. The public collection of land rent is thus the ultimate in tax reform.

Land value taxation would also result in a substantial reduction in the cost of government. The administrative cost of land value taxes would be less than that of existing property taxes (which require a greater inspection of buildings and improvements), and the cost of enforcing income and sales taxes would be eliminated. By improving economic growth and allowing workers to keep all the money they earn, land value taxation would result in higher incomes, reducing the demand for government welfare programs. Decentralization, privatization, and the elimination of wasteful government programs would further reduce the amount needed to fund government. ... read the whole document

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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper