Monday, March 03, 2014

Could a federal land value tax become reality soon after Biden becomes the next president?

When I go out into the yard, there are a few robins, mockingbirds, cardinals, crows (one in particular), feral cats and even a red fox that seem to recognize me and don’t run or flee.  They know me.  They know the yard that I pay property taxes on supports their happy hunting grounds and lifestyles.  I don’t have children or pets, but animal friends I don’t have to be responsible for, except with the pocketbook. 
  
There is a proposal floating around to replace some of the federal income tax with land value taxes. It would be assessed particularly on land in excess of what is necessary for the housing on the property. I had not heard of this before today.
  
Timothy B. Lee (moving to Vox and Project X from The Washington Post and previously Ars Technica) has an article today, “The case against land-value taxes”, here, on his own site blog, called “Bottom Up” (why does this remind me of “Bottoms Bridge” on I-64 between Richmond and Williamsburg?)  Apparently this is a proposal of Matthew Yglesias (link on Slate).

 Lee hints that this idea could come to fruition as early as 2017.  It isn’t hard to see how this would hit many retirees or drive down property values, especially unused land in urban areas.   It’s feasible to imagine that it could, in an area like Arlington, lead to more tear-downs and high-density condo development. 
   
There has also been debate over the idea of a “wealth tax”, and something like that exists in some European countries.  It sounds a bit Maoist – the idea that accumulated and especially inherited or generational wealth is morally wrong, and that everyone should take turns being a peasant or – in modern parents – being forced to work as a huckster rather than seeking the truth.   
 
I have a sense that we'll see more attacks on this proposal from The Washington Times soon rather than The Washington Post.

1 comment:

Ben Jamin' said...

Of course we already have a LVT. A small fraction of land values are already collected by the State via property taxes. The rest is privatised, either by landlords, banks and capital gains of owner occupiers.

Land values are publicly generated wealth. So privatising that, then socialising private wealth makes no moral or economic sense.

Something can only be your property, morally speaking, if you produced it, or have compensated others for their efforts.

The last time I heard, God created the Earth. But men like to claim they did.

The Earth is Man's to share and make productive. Not hoard and charge others a ransom for it's use. That's blasphemous.