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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Tax privilege, not productive work

File under: tax policy, opportunity, privilege, taxes

0 (0 votes)

From: Chuck M., Chicago, IL

A pair of complementary fiscal reforms would vastly reduce unemployment and poverty.

(1) Stop taxing productive work. That means no payroll tax and no income tax on wages or capital goods.

(2) Tax privilege at a very high rate. A big part of privilege is the private ownership of land. So this means a tax based on land value. (This preserves private ownership, while eliminating speculation.) Other kinds of privilege include valuable mineral leases, underpriced grazing rights on federal lands, electromagnetic spectrum, and a number of others. It may be desirable to place part of the land value tax not on the owner of the land, but on the holder of the mortgage.

The net result of these two changes is that effective wages go up, but the cost of hiring labor becomes cheaper, so unemployment is vastly reduced. Resources withheld for speculative purposes become available to those who want to use them productively.

This is a simple concept but has many ramifications -- more than one would likely want to read here. Many useful papers have been written to describe and explain. One good one is Fred Foldvary's "The Ultimate Tax Reform: Public Revenue from Land Rent."


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American RadioWorks |
Photo: Daniel Buchanan

How to help students hope

A polling expert finds students less engaged with school as they get older. Brandon Busteed from Gallup Education says if schools taught to strengths instead of weaknesses, more students would be successful in school and in life.

Recent Posts

  • 10.21.14

    Making it stick

    Why do we remember some things, and forget others? That's what author Peter Brown and psychologists Henry Roediger and Mark McDaniel set out to answer in their new book Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning.
  • 10.14.14

    What teachers need

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford talks with author Elizabeth Green about her new book, Building a Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How to Teach It to Everyone).
  • 10.07.14

    Intelligence is achievable and other lessons from The Teacher Wars

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford continues her conversation with Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars.
  • 10.01.14

    Teaching: The most embattled profession

    Education correspondent Emily Hanford talks with bestselling author Dana Goldstein about her new book, The Teacher Wars.