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RE: [LandCafe] Re: Legitimate LVT criticism

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  • Harry Pollard
    Walter, What exactly are the RPE and IPE? Harry From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of walto Sent: Sunday, February 24,
    Message 1 of 199 , Feb 25, 2013
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      Walter,

       

      What exactly are the RPE and IPE?

       

      Harry

       

      From: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com [mailto:LandCafe@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of walto
      Sent: Sunday, February 24, 2013 7:14 AM
      To: LandCafe@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [LandCafe] Re: Legitimate LVT criticism

       

       



      --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "mattbieker" wrote:
      >
      > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" wrote:
      > > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" wrote:
      > >
      > > > the only real parallel to the UIE is the universal individual income tax exemption.
      > >
      > > Correction: There are a few other policies that are, at a minimum, far more analogous to a UIE than welfare, though they do more closely approximate a CD than a UIE:
      > >
      > > 1. The universal individual oil royalty dividends distributed by Alaska, Alberta, and a few other jurisdictions whose economies are reliant on resource extraction.
      > >
      > > 2. British Columbia's universal individual carbon tax credit (though it also applies to corporate "persons," and not equally).
      > >
      > > 3. The universal individual US federal sales tax "prebate" that is part of the "Fair"Tax proposal (and without which that proposal would never have been advocated except by a handful of cranks -- hey, wait a minute, that reminds me of another radical tax reform proposal I read about somewhere...).
      > >
      > > 4. The universal individual "Harmonized Sales Tax" credit offered by some Canadian provinces.
      > >
      > > I trust that these additional examples of universal individual tax abatements, along with the example of the universal individual income tax exemption, will help Harry find a willingness to cease permanently his false and dishonest claims that the UIE can in any way (other than incorrectly and dishonestly) be characterized as resembling welfare.
      > >
      > > -- Roy Langston
      >
      > Roy's post made me bring up this topic, which I've been thinking about for some time. It's somewhat alarming, IMO, that we haven't had a discussion related to legitimate criticisms of the LVT.
      >
      > When I was first "converted" to the LVT, I was, like many I'm sure, something of an enthusiastic true-believer. I read everything I could relating to the LVT, and did my best to look at it from all angles. However, I also did a lot of online debate in favor of it, and in that course, I came across a few criticisms that do pose genuine problems for the scheme.
      >
      > The most glaring problem is a form of the old widow problem. Yes, we all know that it's largely a canard. But there still is genuinely some truth to it. There's tons of people who have no ambition whatsoever to profit off land rent, that nevertheless would be put in a bad position by the LVT. This is a genuine problem. Several methods are commonly employed to address it, I think phasing the tax in gradually is the most common. I'm with Roy, though, that something like his RPE is necessary. Politically, you're just not going to pass a tax that will utterly destroy the value of a major asset for millions of regular citizens. There has to be some relief.
      >
      > As for the individual exemption, again, I think Roy's right. George didn't propose an individual exemption, and he painted a picture where, freed from our existing policy, evereyone would be so much better off, it'd hardly be worthwhile to do so. But there's several problems with that. The first thing is that, when one tries to make the moral argument in favor of the LVT, skeptics will say "well, you're saying that landowners are charging everyone for use of the land now, but all you're doing is replacing them with the state." Like the old widow argument, that's not totally fair, but again, there's some truth to it. Where I saw it was considering historical examples. When I first got into the LVT, I had just happened to have recently read Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath," and I tried to envision how the LVT would free Steinbeck's Hokies. Sure, they'd have been better off on the homefront, and sure, California's lands would have been more open for production. But these are incremental changes. They'd still have no real right to exist, if they couldn't out-bid others. The same is true for the immigrants of Sinclair's "The Jungle." Even with a LVT, the Chicago stockyards would have been owned by large corporations. Sure, their taxes would have been reduced, and land surrounding Chicago's stockyards would have been used more efficiently, but again, the general principle would be that they would have no real right to live anywhere.
      >
      > I agree with Roy on the IPE and the RPE, but even for those who don't, I think it's time to recognize that we haven't done a good enough job of convincingly arguing against perceived shortcomings of the scheme. That's just two of them, but there may be more. We've been patting ourselves on the back here too long. Let's try to think like our opponenents and offer solutions that actually meet objections.
      >
      > I say this not just to this group, but to our pro-LVT lot generally. We'll never make any headway until we come up with better responses than "too bad you bought that land then" and "move to cheaper land."
      >
      > One last thing: please note that I'm not crapping on any incremental solution. Those who've worked in that direction have done excellent work. Every situation demands a specific strategy. But, to the extent that we are going to argue in favor of a broad-based change (particularly in situations where desperation opens a door), we need to have serious solutions.
      >

      I agree with all of this, Matt--nice post.

      I think that when I first read the George corpus and a number of mostly fawning commentaries, I too took the Pollardian position that the mai--indeed the sole!--source of economic pain in the world was land speculation (with taxes on production adding insult to injury). Get rid of those, i.e., move the margins in and eliminate taxes on wages and capital, and --voila!--all poverty will disappear. On that rosy view, while the revenue from LVT would be nice, you could really throw it all into the sea and utopia would magically occur anyways.

      The thing is, even without the political hurdles Matt focuses on above, it simply isn't true that land speculation and its resulting displaced margin of production is the principle cause of poverty all over the world. Not only for political purposes but for moral and economic reasons as well, geoists simply must embrace something like the UIE and RPE (and, to get the full utopian effects, probably banking reform as well).

      It's the 21st Century, and it's high time to stop being religious-style (i.e., Pollardian) "Georgists" and come to grips with the actual economic and moral principles in play here. If we do so, I believe the politics will (finally!) fall in line all by themselves. Religion is comforting certainly, and a religion of Georgism is no doubt preferable to most others, but it is limited in the way that religions must be, and, in any case, it's had its chance. Time to man up.

      W

    • walto
      ... Right. Both almost surely true. ... And the truths find there way in there too! W
      Message 199 of 199 , Mar 5, 2013
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        --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" <roy_langston@...> wrote:
        >
        > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <calhorn@> wrote:
        > >
        > > --- In LandCafe@yahoogroups.com, "roy_langston" <roy_langston@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > So you are saying that the existence of the Flat Earth Society DOES make the spheroidal shape of the earth disputable?
        > >
        > > My degree of confidence is roughly the same as that in my above judgment regarding your personality. Put it this way: is it possible I'm wrong about either the shape of the earth or your arrogance? Sure, I could be wrong about pretty much every proposition that seems obvious to me--that is the nature of human fallibility. But it's really, really doubtful in both cases.
        >
        > So you claim the earth's spheroidal shape is not only disputable, but about as disputable as your opinion of my personality?
        >

        Right. Both almost surely true.



        > "A sick man dreams nothing so dreadful that some philosopher isn't saying it." -- Marcus Terentius Varro
        >
        > -- Roy Langston
        >


        And the truths find there way in there too!

        W
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