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Re: [LandCafe] Fw: Common Ground Activity Update & Next Meeting Time [1 Attachment]

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  • bruno moser
    thanks. appreciated. many links posted on faCIAbook. ... b. ... -- International Land Economics Philadelphia, Hanoi, Les Prés-d Orvin TWO THOUGHTS FOR TODAY:
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 13, 2011
      thanks. appreciated. many links posted on faCIAbook.



      On Sun, Feb 13, 2011 at 2:27 PM, Scott Baker <ssbaker305@...> wrote:
      [Attachment(s) from Scott Baker included below]

      Hello Economic Reformers (names withheld by request):

      Back to the Core
      Our next Common Ground meeting will be held like the last two, at the Vanderbilt Y, at 224 E. 47 street, March 26, one day after Winter term graduation at the Henry George School.  I'm calling it a "back to the core" meeting because we will be focusing on our core mission - Land Value Taxation, and going into some depth on the property class tax system as it currently exists, and where it's deficient (just about everywhere) and why replacing it with a zoning-conscious Land Value Taxation system would be preferable.  To get you started, I attached a detailed and comprehensive article from the Manhattan Institute that shows how our property tax system "works" now.
      I'll have a more detailed agenda in a couple of weeks, but I can say right now, in addition to our regular activist items, we will have a half hour movie "One Way to Better Cities" featuring a very young Mason Gaffney, and other Georgists (though they never explicitly say this in the award-winning movie). The movie is from 1969, but it is still distressingly relevant when it talks about urban sprawl and wasted land opportunities.
      We may also have a special Georgist guest on The Landlord's Game - details TBA.

      Thoughts from an uber-capitalist
      Warren Buffet says that the TBTF banks, like the poor, will always be with us:
      Considering that such an admission would not exactly endear him to his financier buddies, perhaps we should take his warning seriously.

      Common Ground member & Georgist Bill Batt hits one out of the park!
      Our own leading Georgist and member of Common Ground, Bill Batt, has given a half hour interview to Susan Arbettor of The Capitol Pressroom:http://urbantools.org/news/cse-trustee-on-nys-the-capitol-pressroom.
      Bill is also part of the Center for the Study of Economics, where Executive Director Josh Vincent posted:
      CSE Trustee on NY's "The Capitol Pressroom"

      "The Capitol Pressroom is a daily one-hour public radio news magazine broadcast from the heart of the New York’s political hub: The Legislative Correspondents Association Pressroom, on the 3rd floor of the State Capitol in Albany."

      CSE Trustee on NY's "The Capitol Pressroom"

      Albany's Capitol

      CSE Trustee Bill Batt was given the time on the Capitol Pressroom to explain the philosophy and theory behind land value tax, but also apply the idea to the  tsunami of debt and disappearing revenues that threaten to swamp what was once one of the most dynamic and prosperous states in the US.  The Podcast can be found here; Dr. Batt can be found at the 31 minute mark, so the reader can pull the slider bar to that point.

             Sometimes I hear people say "Well, if we tax all the vacant land, there won't be any parks left!"  Not so.  Well-maintained parks add value to almost any neighborhood.  People want to live near parks and will pay extra money, even now, to do so.  So, why not collect that value as a rightful tax on the commons and apply it...to more parks?  I was reminded of this win-win possibility when I read a recent plea for more money to expand the hugely successful Highline Park here in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood.  A building boom has come to Chelsea from the Highline Park, near, and even over the park, and in Spring, they wish to expand this abandoned ex-elevated railway-based park even further, to 30th street!  But, most park costs are born of donations, and the rest by the "city" (read: all taxpayers, even those who are too far away from the park to benefit).  Now, instead of this:


      asking for expensive dinners to offset construction costs, while landowners reap the rewards, whether they pay for them or not, why not enact a Land Value Tax in the neighborhood that benefits from the new park?

      Take Action: Write to the Friends of the Highline and tell them: Tax the Land Value, not the donor base.



      Arizona has just introduced a new bill to provide transparency in all Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs):


      We should support this power-to-the-people move. 

      We have already formed a small subcommittee to look at New York's CAFRs in more detail to find the hidden billions, but this is hard, long, work, so any volunteers, especially those with accounting background, would be very welcome.

      Monetary Reform Movie

      Here is a link to "The Secret of Oz" a thought-provoking movie from the people who brought you the Money Masters in the mid-90s (also worth seeing, but getting dated now).  The Money Masters people have a somewhat simpler but still very Stephen Zarlenga-type solution to the debt-based money system (see attached).  It might be worth thinking about how it differs or is similar to Zarlenga's AMA/N.E.E.D. Act.  Zarlenga was very dismissive of Bill Still and the Money Master crew when I talked to him when he was last here, but frankly, only a person deeply steeped in economic prescriptions would see much daylight between them, other than on the State Banking issue, which Still & co. support (State Banking advocate Ellen Brown makes several appearances in the movie).

      This is the 4-minute trailer:
      The site says:

      It is commonly known in economics academia that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in 1900 is loaded with powerful symbols of monetary reform which were the core of the Populist movement and the 1896 and 1900 presidential bids of Populist Democrat William Jennings Bryan.

      The yellow brick road (gold standard), the Scarecrow (farmers), the Tin Man (industrial workers), the Wicked Witch of the West (Cleveland banker  J.D. Rockefeller) and the Wicked Witch of the East (NY banker J.P.Morgan), the Emerald City of Oz (greenback money), the illusory power of the Wizard in the capitol city (who monopolized power through deceit),  even Dorothy’s silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers for the color movie version -symbols of Baum’s and Bryan’s belief that adding silver coin to gold coin would provide much needed money to a depression-strapped, 1890s America).  Oz is a virtual forest of monetary reform symbolism, done by someone extremely well versed in the Populist monetary reform goals of the period (Baum was a newspaperman and author) – goals which have never changed - they are still valid today, they are needed now more than then.

      Note the debt counter racing in the lower right of the screen.

      From Amazon:
      The Secret of Oz won best documentary of 2010 at the Beloit International Film Festival. It won the Silver Sierra Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the Yosemite Film Festival. It won the Award of Merit at The Accolade Competition in La Jolla, California. It won the Silver Screen Award at the Nevada Film Festival.It's received an excellent review on Nathan's Economic Edge, one of the world's top economics blogs.It's British premier was at the prestigious Bromsgrove conference on Oct. 1.What's going on with the world's economy? Foreclosures are everywhere, unemployment is skyrocketing - and this may only be the beginning. Could it be that solutions to the world's economic problems could have been embedded in the most beloved children's story of all time, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"?The yellow brick, the emerald city of Oz, even Dorothy's silver slippers (changed to ruby slippers for the movie version) were powerful symbols of author L. Frank Baum's belief that the people - not the big banks -- should control the quantity of a nation's money. The bottom line: No More National Debt. All our money is created out of debt. But nations don't have to borrow money from banks. Sovereign nations can create their own money -- debt free -- just as Abraham Lincoln did.

      The full 1:50 film is here:

      State Banking News

      The initial issue of Public Banking News can be found here:

      Here is just one highlight:
      Enter BND - North Dakota's Public Bank

      Soon after floodwaters swept through Grand Forks, the state-owned Bank of North Dakota began taking unprecedented action to help families and businesses recover. Led by BND's then-president and CEO John Hoeven--future North Dakota governor and US senator--the bank quickly established nearly $70 million in credit lines:8


      ·  $15 million for the ND Division of Emergency Management

      ·  $10 million for the ND National Guard

      ·  $25 million for the City of  Grand Forks

      ·  $12 million for the University of North Dakota, located in Grand Forks

      ·  $7 million allocated to raise the height of a dike at Devil's Lake, about 90 miles west of Grand Forks


      BND also launched a Grand Forks disaster relief loan program and allocated $5 million to help other areas affected by the spring floods. With BND leading the way, local financial institutions matched these funds, making available more than $70 million altogether.9


      Flooding swept away many jobs, leaving families without a livelihood. BND coordinated with the US Department of Education to ensure forbearance on student loans. The bank also worked closely with the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Administration to gain forbearance on federally backed home loans and to establish a center where people could apply for federal/state housing assistance. Further, BND worked with the North Dakota Community Foundation to coordinate a disaster relief fund, and the bank served as the fund's deposit base.10


      BND didn't stop there. Agriculture has long been a North Dakota economic mainstay. In the Great Depression, BND helped keep families on their farms.11 With the record 1997 spring floods, many farm families again faced financial ruin. BND responded by reducing interest rates on existing Family Farm and Farm Operating programs. Families used these low-interest loans to restructure debt and cover operating losses caused by wet conditions in their fields.12


      To help finance the disaster recovery, BND obtained funds at reduced rates from the Federal Home Loan Bank, in turn enabling the publicly-owned bank to pass along cost savings to flood-affected borrowers in the form of lower interest rates.13


      Some impacts can be readily measured; others may be deduced. Between the 1997 floods and 2000, Grand Forks lost 3% of its population. Sister city East Grand Forks, right across the river in Minnesota, lost 17% of its population in the same period.14 Coincidence? Or did Grand Forks--one minute away by car--achieve a more rapid, more graceful economic recovery, in part because of what North Dakota's unique, publicly-owned bank accomplished there?

      Likely, one could also compare the results of BND's efforts to what happened in New Orleans, after hurricane Katrina, and end up with the same answers.

      Scott Baker - Op Ed News Journalist/Senior Editor; Huffington Post Blogger; Author; President: Common Ground - NYC; NY State Coordinator: Public Banking Initiative

      International Land Economics
      Philadelphia, Hanoi, Les Prés-d'Orvin

      A man can't ride on your back unless it's bent. -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (1929-1968)

      Wer die Wahrheit nicht kennt, ist nur ein Dummkopf. Wer sie aber kennt, und sie eine Lüge nennt, ist ein Verbrecher.
      -Galileo Galilei, Italienischer Physiker und Astronom,(1564 - 1642)
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