THE GEORGIST NEWS
Volume Nine, Number Five November 1, 2006
Welcome to the November issue of The Georgist News.
This month, with an eye on the mainstream press, we found a lot about our
eroding economy. If you feel this length is too unwieldy, let us know and even
suggest what to cut. That way we'll know your preference, what size to aim
for. Having said that, please do continue to send us any relevant items you
discover. Now sit back and enjoy!
CONTENTS: (to return here just click the headline)
1. President Woodrow Wilson under HG's influence
2. UK's Guardian again comes through
3. John Stossel, Prominent free-trader
4. An ex-Bush Sr. advisor on subsidies
5. Lone Alaskan voice of reason
6. Former Conservative Transport Minister pro rent recovery
7. Taxing land in Vietnam?
8. Land Distribution Statistics Released in Korea
9. HGS Graduate is on the Cook County ballot
10. Maryland Gazette cites LVT candidate
11. Help on Location Value Tax Shift
12. UK Co-op Party to investigate LVT
13. Letter printed in World Watch Magazine, Nov/Dec 2006
14. Nation's paper shows sense on subsidies
15. Wetzel Article published by STWR
16. Home median price falls
17. What the slowing GDP portends
18. Harsh critic funded by mainstream
19. Murders, robberies jump in cities
20. Report on Americans' driving habits released
21. Middle Class on the Precipice: Rising financial risks for US
22. After Years of Growth, What About Workers' Share?
23. Progress Report demographic stats
24. Report on AMI2006 Monetary Reform Conference
25. Autumn Geonomist out
26. Reflections on the Art of Strategic Compromise
27. Geoists debate insightfully (and politely)
28. Improve a key geoist website
29. Exploring Innovation - Call for Session Proposals
30. Influence Zimbabwe for the good
31. Wish Ham a belated happy b-day
32. 2007 CGO Conference Theme: Land, Labor and Social Justice
33. AT THE MARGIN: Quips and Quotes
34. About The Georgist News
by Edward Dodson, (ejdodson at comcast.net)
S.J. Woolf interviewed Henry Morgenthau, Sr. in the New York Times. Mr. Morgenthau addressed the influences on Woodrow Wilson: "Mr. Wilson had but one prejudice. That was against wealth; he believed that no man could honestly amass a million dollars in a lifetime. At heart he was a follower of Henry George and strongly objected to private profit accruing through the increase in land values." I would love to get a copy of this interview to put on-line.
Richard L. Biddle, Director of the Henry George School and Birthplace Museum Philadelphia [HGSPhila at gmail.com] found the article in the New York Times SELECT archives and the quote is correct. It was in the April 27, 1941 edition by S.J. Woolf. Certainly helps explain the high number of Single-Taxers in the Wilson administration.
by Mark Braund, writer, September 29, 2006
via Mark Monson
Taxing land values is an old idea, but one that is as relevant today as it was when Lloyd George first proposed it.
Ed: It's a long article, a good read, followed by many readers' comments, almost all in support. May England lead the way!
Asst Ed: Author Braund has another excellent one, "Must try harder", noting, "We will never make poverty history until we rip up the tax system" at http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1656658,00.html
by John Stossel, host of ABC's 20/20, author, September 27, 2006
via Mark Guttman of the DFC
I keep reading that big business wants government off its back. But that's a myth. Here's the truth: "[B]ig business and big government prosper from the perception that they are rivals instead of partners (in plunder). The history of big business is one of cooperation with big government."
Politicians like it that way because they get power and prestige, and businessmen like it because they get protection from competition. Progressive "reforms" – railroad regulation, meat inspection, drug certification and the rest – were done at the behest of big companies that wanted competition managed. They knew regulation would burden smaller companies more than themselves. The strategy works.
Regulation isn't the only form of protection that big business gets from government. Companies with political clout get cash subsidies, low-interest loans, loan guarantees, and barriers to cheap imports. Even foreign aid is a subsidy to big business because governments receiving the taxpayers' money buy American exports.
by Catherine Austin Fitts, President of Solari, July 24, 2006
via Kathleen Walsh
In her review of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, a former member of the Bush senior cabinet, Catherine Austin Fitts, had these hard-hitting words, among many others, to say: "Cui bono? Who benefits? There is no place on Gore's time line that shows the growth of consumer, mortgage and government debt; the corporate model's economic dependence on subsidy that drives up debt ... is a critical piece."
Asst Ed: Catherine Fitts is an interesting phenomenon – and she seems to be cropping up in many segments of my life today. Her on-line book isn't Georgist, but it's certainly an important read for anyone who wants to try to understand what the hell's going on.
Anchorage Daily News, October 24, 2006
by Richard Richtmyer, reporter
via Josh Vincent
In a lengthy article that challenged the wisdom of public recovery of oil rent, the writer at least inserted the following: "Alaska's Ballot Measure 2 asks voters to approve taxing large North Slope gas reserves every year until a pipeline is built to carry the gas to the Lower 48. Gregg Erickson, an economist and longtime reporter covering Alaska oil and gas issues, supports the tax and said [opponent] Goldsmith drew his conclusions based on flawed assumptions." A tax on land or reserves in place does not discourage their development. It encourages it," Erickson said. "That's been black letter economics for years." Voters will decide whether to impose the gas reserves tax on November 7, 2006.
Asst Ed: Taxing in situ resources – rather than distribute resource rent more fairly, won't it just accelerate their extraction?
by Steve Norris, ex-minister who stood twice for mayor of London and now advises the new Conservative leadership on transport matters; he spoke at the Professional Land Reform Group's fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference.
from Steven at parkplacecommunications.com
via Dave Wetzel, Vice-Chair, Transport for London
davewetzel at tfl.gov.uk
I can't see how we can avoid some sort of mechanism to extract what will be, after all, only a part of the enormous windfall gain that property owners and occupiers will get from the emergence of Crossrail. This is not a tax. This is recouping a contribution as painlessly as possible to mirror what will still be a net gain measured in billions, delivered other wise by tax payers and fare payers. As such, it is not just a model for Crossrail: it is a model for how to part-fund all large-scale infrastructure projects. And why Gordon Brown hasn't taken it up already, I have no idea. I would have thought it was a particularly obvious no-brainer.
VietNamNet Bridge – 16 October, 2006
via Bruno Moser, (bruno.moser at gmail.com)
Nicolaus Tideman, Prof. of Economics, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University, and Bruno Moser, International Consultant from International Land Economics, were present at VietNamNet's headquarter on Saturday, October 14 to talk about the hottest issues nowadays: property speculation, corruption, and tax policies, which have close links. Since he has come to Vietnam four times, Prof Tideman is known for his suggested project on land value taxation.
Ed: For the rest of the interview – lengthy but inspiring – visit http://english.vietnamnet.vn/interviews/2006/10/622928/.
Yoon-sang Kim, Professor, (yskim16 at email.com)
Dept. of Public Administration, Kyungpook National University
Korean translator of Progress and Poverty
The South Korean government statistics on land distribution show only 1% of Korean people own about 57% of land owned by individuals as of the end of 2005. The statistic is the one that Citizens' Union for Land Justice (CULJ), a non-profit pressure group in Korea, has consistently demanded from the government. CULJ proposes to increase the land value tax.
The current administration of Korea, whose first top policy advisor to the President Roh Mu-hyun was Professor Lee Joung-woo, a well-known Georgist, has tried harder to curb real estate speculation than any previous administration.
Here are a few other notable statistics:
- 10,700 thousand out of 17,850 thousand households (59.9%) own land.
- The top 500 thousand households (2.8%) own 59.3% by area and 43.5% by
value of the land owned by individuals.
- The reporter calculated Gini coefficients (GC, in which 1 means monopoly
and 0 means equal distribution). The GC among land-owning households is
0.811 by area and 0.644 by price; that among all households is 0.887 and
The government also promised to release such statistics every year.
by Chuck Metalitz, (taxpayer at pobox.com)
Cook County Assessor is a serious, powerful post, and of course the Republicans are a serious, powerful party — although it's been a while since they took a countywide office here. Ralph Conner, former mayor of Maywood (IL), HGS graduate, who has also written for Groundswell, is the Republican candidate for Cook County Assessor. Item 4 from his platform: begin the long process of removing taxes from buildings and improvements and taxing land only. Reach Ralph at 708-878-3068.
by Alan Brody, Staff Writer, October 25, 2006
via Josh Vincent, (joshuavincent at msn.com)
Formed two years ago to get Ralph Nader on the 2004 presidential ballot, the Maryland Populist Party espouses progressive tax reform, an ''ownership society" that would back family-owned small businesses, removing Maryland National Guard troops from foreign soil and creating a single-payer health insurance system. Revamping the tax system is a top priority.
Christopher A. Driscoll, the party's first gubernatorial candidate, favors a ''land-value tax" in which buildings are assessed separately from land, thereby reducing taxes. He said the system has been used effectively in Pennsylvania and has led to more efficient land-use practices. Such a tax would deter land speculators who buy residential urban property and keep them uninhabited, he said.
Bruce Hearns, Financial Issue Advocate, Green Party of Ontario
(red1961gd-GPOFinance at yahoo.ca)
I've been working to produce our tax policy proposals, which centre around the Georgist tax on land value. Next year I'm introducing an amendment to rename it "Location Value Tax," which describes it much better and doesn't scare landowners and farmers. Along with John Fisher, I've been using information gleaned from your organizations and much of it has been very useful. Yet, what are the shortcomings of the tax? I want to know exactly what people will argue against it. I'm trying to find situations (e.g., Peterborough Study 1993) where the tax would increase taxes for the bulk of people. Are there examples of cities and towns that prospered even though they didn't have a land tax? What are the ancillary factors involved in the success of Pittsburgh and Harrisburg? This information will come in useful during the next few weeks of civic elections and the next year of provincial elections and probably another national election in the springtime. Thanks.
by Dave Wetzel, Vice-Chair, Transport for London, (davewetzel at tfl.gov.uk)
Resolution carried at this year's Co-op Party in the UK, September, 2006: This Conference believes that there is a need for the Co-operative Movement to support a form of taxation which is both equitable and just. This Conference therefore calls on the Board to instigate an in-depth analysis of both the principles of a Land Value Tax to meet the Co-operative Movement's concern for the Community and to report back to next year's Conference.
by Edward J. Dodson, Director, School of Cooperative Individualism (ejdodson at comcast.net)
We build communities in harm's way, expecting that when the inevitable disasters occur, the costs will be passed on, at least in part, to others. New Orleans provides us with a dramatic example of such costs. Rebuilding of the "communities" that were constructed there may appeal to our sentimentalities but it is not what reason dictates.
Almost everyone is looking for a free ride; we want the benefits of public expenditures but we want the revenue to come from sources other than ourselves. The results in every country are laws that secure and protect entrenched privilege.
The control over land and natural resources is as heavily concentrated in the "developed" societies as it is in nations controlled by a small number of landed families. The landless are forced to live most directly in harms way, on marginal lands, in marginal neighborhoods, in marginal rural villages, in slums and ghettos, as squatters with no legal status or security of person or property.
As Henry George explained over a century ago, every parcel of land has some annual rental value in the marketplace. This rental value is created by aggregate public and private investment, not by what any individual owner does with "their" land. Whether this rental value is $100 or $10 million, it is fair to use for providing public goods and services.
Failing to collect this fund is a failure in governance. Penalizing the construction and rehabilitation of buildings (i.e., of property improvements) with taxation is the parallel failure in governance.
Ed Dodson adds: To follow up, send your comments to World Watch, editor Thomas Prugh, (tprush at worldwatch.org).
USA Today, October 25, 2006
U.S. taxpayers shouldn't help create the next catastrophe in the Big Easy. The federal program collected only $2.2 billion last year in premiums but will pay out more than $20 billion in Katrina claims, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the rest. Worse, the program encourages development in areas subject to flooding — not just in New Orleans, but everywhere — by offering insurance at bargain rates in areas where private insurers fear to tread. That increases the population in vulnerable areas, leading to more costly disasters. If local authorities allow residents to rebuild in the most dangerous areas, it should be at their own risk.
by Rajesh Makwana, Director, Share The World's Resources (STWR), London
(rajesh at stwr.net)
Dear Dave Wetzel, I recently received your article 'Oh No! – Not Another Bloody Tax?' from the SANE network (South African New Economics). We have published it on our website, www.stwr.net. It can be accessed here: http://www.stwr.net/content/view/1226/37/
by Bob Willis, Bloomberg News
USA Today, October 27, 2006
The median price of a new home dropped 9.7% from a year earlier. The median price of a new home declined to $217,100 in September from $240,400 a year earlier. It was the biggest drop since an 11.2% year-over-year fall in December 1970. The median price was the lowest since 2004 September, when it was $211,600. Thanks in part to falling prices, purchases rose for the second month in a row, after falling for three straight months from May through July. The increase, 5.3%, would yield an annual pace of 1.075 million, from a 1.021 million rate in August. Sales of new homes are still down 14% from the same time last year.
by Martin Crutsinger, Associated Press
USA Today, October 25, 2006
The median price of a single-family existing home fell to $219,800 last month, a drop of 2.5% from the median price in September 2005. That was the biggest year-over-year price decline in records going back nearly four decades. Sales of existing homes fell for a sixth straight month in September.
by Joel Havemann, LA Times Staff Writer, October 27, 2006
The U.S. economy, dragged down by the slumping housing market, slowed in the three summer months to its weakest growth rate since the beginning of 2003, when it was emerging from the doldrums following the 2001 recession. During the July-through-September period it grew 1.6%. During the previous three months it grew 2.6% and during the first three months of the year, 5.6%. Investment in residential structures plunged at an annual rate of 17.4% in the summer months, the steepest slide in 15 years, since a 21.7% drop in the first quarter of 1991. Investment in commercial structures helped offset the housing collapse by rising at a 14% annual rate. An inflation index closely watched by the Fed, which measures price changes in personal consumption, rose 2.5% in the summer, much lower than the 4% registered in the spring.
[Ed: But even 2.7% doubles prices in 27 years.]
by Rick Nutting, CBS MarketWatch, October 26, 2006
Building permits, supposedly less volatile than other housing data, decreased 6%, the fastest pace of decline in seven years. Alan Greenspan, former chief of the Fed, said the worst of this may well be over. He and the majority of professional economists predict a soft landing.
by Nick Godt, CBS MarketWatch, October 27, 2006
They also said back in July that GDP in Q3 would hit 3.1%; in recent weeks they revised themselves downward to about 2%. Nouriel Roubini, a professor at the Sterns School of Economics at New York University, back in July forecast 1.5%. GDP came in at 1.6%. For the second quarter, economists on average had expected the GDP to grow at 3.2%, while Roubini had forecast 2.5%. It reached 2.6%. Roubini predicts a housing-led recession to be in place by 2007 Q1 or Q2 at the latest.
Ed: Why such fundamental disagreement between so-called experts? At their level, they have all the relevant numbers before them. They needn't smash atoms nor peer into the center of the universe to plot their graphs. Even without such privileged access, analysts using the 18-year land-price cycle have been getting it right not since July but for years. As Kuhn noted, are establishment economists too bound up by the herd? Or might controversial politics – whose rent is it? – also help them slip on the blinders?
by Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) via Paul Martin, Director, Nicaragua's Instituto Henry George
Ed: The CEPR in DC frequently appears in the mainstream press and wins funding from major foundations. Director Baker is the author of The Conservative Nanny State: How the Wealthy Use the Government to Stay Rich and Get Richer.
In an editorial published by Truth Out, October 24, 2006, Baker writes, "In the recessions in the mid 70s and early 80s, housing fell off by close to 50 percent. However, the impact of a downturn in housing is likely to be more severe this time around. House prices had not gotten so out of line with fundamentals in these earlier periods, nor had housing wealth fed so directly into consumption.
Homeowners have been borrowing more than $700 billion a year from the equity in their houses. This borrowing has pushed the savings rate into negative territory for the first time since the beginning of the Great Depression.
In the fall of 2000, six months after the stock market crash and just a few months before the beginning of the last recession, not one of the "Blue Chip" 50 economic forecasters saw a recession on the horizon. In fact, the most pessimistic forecast for the next year was that the economy would grow at a modest, but respectable, 2.2 percent pace.
The downturn following the collapse of the housing bubble is likely to be far more severe than the downturn from the stock bubble. Most middle class families own a home, relatively few have any significant stock holdings. And there is not another asset to pull the economy out of the downturn. The Federal Reserve Board inflated housing to lift the economy in 2002-2003 when it otherwise would have been stuck in the water.
Tens of millions of families bought homes at bubble-inflated prices and now face the prospect of seeing their life savings disappear in the housing crash. We may not be able to get these people's money back, but we should at least be clear on who sent them down the wrong path. Hopefully, the economists, bankers, realtors and other bubble proponents will not be in a position to wreak economic havoc yet again."
Ed: Yet the major funders still fund him.
by Kevin Johnson, USA Today, October 13, 2006
A review of 55 cities' crime data from the first six months of this year indicates the overall number of homicides rose by 4.2% compared with the same period in 2005. In 2005 the nation's murder rate increased 1.8%, after a two-decade low in 2004. While homicides have declined in some cities in 2006, of the 55 cities surveyed by a police group, 19 had double-digit percentage increases in homicides. More than 40 cities reported jumps in robberies.
Ed: Years ago in his excellent book, The Great Wave, Boston College economic historian, David Hackett Fischer, noted that for centuries crime followed inflation. Presently inflation is on the rise, too. Prices inflate when an economy is awash in excess cash. Since our system generates new money via debt, and most debt is for mortgages, one should expect more street crime to eventually catch up to still inflated housing costs.
by Larry Copeland, USA Today, October 16, 2006
"Commuting in America III," released by the Transportation Research Board, an arm of the National Research Council, found that:
- Commutes are getting longer. The portion of workers who reach their jobs in less than 20 minutes dropped to 47% in 2000 after hovering around 50% for decades. Commutes in 40 states increased two to four minutes. Georgia and West Virginia led all states with increases of five minutes or more.
- The number of older female drivers will increase dramatically as baby boomers work past age 65. That's a safety question we'll have to address.
- The percentage of Americans who walk to work dropped from 5.6% in 1980 to 3.9% in 1990 and 2.9% in 2000.
Ed: We know transportation patterns follow land use patterns which are shot full of holes by speculators who are rewarded by the current property tax. De-tax buildings and recover site values, and then you'll in-fill cities. You'd get people out of cars, onto buses, bikes, and feet; it'd be good for what ails you.
by Elizabeth Warren, Harvard professor of law
via Alanna Hartzok
Although a man is making nearly $800 less than his counterpart a generation ago, his wife's paycheck brings the family to a combined income that is $73,770, a 75% increase. But higher expenses have more than eroded that apparent financial advantage. Their annual mortgage payments are more than $10,500. If they have a child in elementary school who goes to daycare after school and in the summers, the family will spend $5,660. If their second child is a pre-schooler, the cost is even higher: $6,920 a year. With both people in the workforce, the family spends more than $8,000 a year on its two vehicles. Health insurance costs the family $1,970, and taxes now take 30% of its money. Today's median-earning, median-spending, middle-class family sends two people into the workforce, but at the end of the day they have about $1,500 less for discretionary spending than their one-income counterparts of a generation ago.
The average family of four today spends 33% less on clothing than a similar family did in the early 1970s. Overseas manufacturing and discount shopping mean that today's family is spending almost $1,200 a year less than their parents spent to dress themselves. Today's family of four actually spends 23% less on food (at-home and restaurant eating combined) than its counterpart of a generation ago. The slimmed-down profit margins in discount supermarkets have combined with new efficiencies in farming to cut more costs for the American family. Today's families are spending 51% less on major appliances than their predecessors a generation ago. Computers add another $300 to the annual family budget.
Fully 75% of family income is earmarked for recurrent monthly expenses; every one of those expensive items — mortgage, car payments, insurance, childcare — is a fixed cost. Short of moving out of the house, withdrawing their children from preschool, or canceling the insurance policy altogether, they are stuck. There is no leeway to cut back if one earner's hours are cut or if the other gets sick. There is no room in the budget if someone needs to take off work to care for a sick child or an elderly parent. The modern American family is walking a high wire without a net. Although plenty of families make it, a growing number, who worked just as hard and followed the rules just as carefully, find themselves in a financial nightmare.
by Eduardo Porter, NY Times; October 15, 2006
via Heather Remoff, (htr at epix.net)
Labor's economic slice, including wages, health insurance and pension benefits, declined 2.5 percentage points from 2000 to 2005, to 56.5% of gross domestic product. Workers in some countries have lost even more. In Germany their share fell 3.1 percentage points over the last half decade. In Japan the decline was 3 points. Overall, the workers' share of the economy fell in four of the Group of 7 industrialized nations. While there have been some periods when the workers' share has risen, the overall trend since the 1970's has been downward in most industrialized countries. In real terms, the wages of non-management employees in the United States are now 10% below their level in the early 1970's. It was a different world then, but it is worth noting that in 1929, workers had less than half of the economic pie.
Ed: To increase the share going to those doing the hardest labor, it should help to de-tax wages. And while you're at it, de-tax capital, drawing more investment into real production, away from speculation, generating more jobs and higher wages. Also, try recovering site rent, prodding more sites into production, augmenting employment opportunity. And just as available land raises wages, free land-rent; i.e., a share of rent to a region's residents, should too.
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
News media have heralded that the population of the USA is now 300 million. This is a good year to be a student of economics, because it is easy to calculate per-capita figures.
For example, the GDP, total output, of the U.S.A. is $12.6 trillion, which divided by 300 million, yields a per-capita GDP of $42,000. By comparison, the world GDP is about $61 trillion, which for about 6.55 billion persons is a global per-capita GDP of about $9,300.
The U.S. government debt is $8.5 trillion, which is $28,300 per person. Each new baby born in the U.S. is inflicted with this average debt as a future taxpayer.
Ed: The essay continues with more eye-opening stats. You can enjoy Fred's weekly editorials on-line at www.progress.org.
by Stephen Zarlenga, (aim at taconic.net)
Presenting were Congressman Dennis Kucinich and his wife Elizabeth, Prof. Michael Hudson, Ed Chambers of the IAF, Charles Walters of Acres, our friends who came in from the UK, Ken Palmerton and James Gibb Stuart, and the AMI Chapter people. To see the whole list including a description of their talks, visit http://www.monetary.org/2006schedule.html.
All the speakers were professionally recorded; the sound quality is excellent. On four CDs, they're ready for immediate shipment. We discussed the Monetary Transparency Act, designed to reveal the Fed's operations, and heard reports from the AMI Chapters around the country – what's been working as well as future plans. We are bringing the conference back to Roosevelt University in downtown Chicago (Michigan Avenue) in 2007 from September 27 to 30.
Did you know ... Which city is the richest and what made it that way? A whistle-blower says he was told to lease oil fields without requiring royalties? You can pull down $160,000 p.a. and still qualify for housing assistance? To avoid a tax on rental cars, people drive miles out of their way? That Exxon has $36 billion cash on hand and Microsoft $34 billion? Intellectual property makes up 80% of the value of the S&P 500? The federal deficit is actually trillions worse than Bush says? The Fed admits the surge in home values is actually from underlying land? Read all about it and more in the autumn issue of The Geonomist at http://www.progress.org/geonomy/geonom152.htm.
by Gavin R. Putland, Aussie Georgist, paid writer, (patrikios at internode.on.net)
Landowners sabotaged site value taxation by devolving it to the local level of government. Of course they would have preferred to have no property taxes at all, but the devolution to local governments was easier to achieve and far more resistant to subsequent Georgist reform. This was one of many ways in which landed interests deliberately conceded a little ground to the Georgists in order to avoid losing much more. Georgists could learn from these tactics.
Ed: So begins Gavin's longish and logical paper. Before it gets posted at a URL, he invites your comments. Reach him at the address above.
On the Internet, Georgists all over the world spontaneously came together to discuss what to do with rent once recovered, a conversation which spilled over into the LandCafe, a list you'd be welcome to join.
Bent Straarup: We should not expect every citizen to go deep into this subject. Every one should, however, understand that he or she has a birthright to fight for.
Dan Sullivan (pimann at pobox.com): Government pensions (Social Security in the U.S.), health care vouchers, particularly for routine or minor medical procedures, education vouchers, etc., can all be funded from rent dividends. Ultimately, people can just be given cash, but the vouchers are a good transitional device.
Neil Gilchrist, long-time Aussie geoist (Neil at Radical.com.au): I first heard of the Citizens Dividend at the Edinburgh Conference and agreed that after all other taxes were replaced, it could be implemented if the electorate wanted it. By the time of the Madrid Conference I had come to regard it as essential from day one. Not just because it makes LVT more politically palatable, but because it addresses issues that would otherwise be met by complex and costly measures.
Lars Bćkgaard (lars at baekgaard.biz): My experience from 20+ years of work in the Danish Justice Party is that the people that will benefit most from our reform are the people that will benefit least from tax cuts. The story we should tell people is a story about equal rights and an annual economic value to which we all have equal rights. When we get to the point in time where we can collect the full rent of land, it is very important that the collected amount is used in a way that ensures everybody's equal rights. And I do not know any other way to do this than to redistribute it as a Citizens Dividend. If we use LVT to reduce taxes, we cannot ensure that everybody benefits equally.
by Joshua Vincent, Executive Director, (joshuavincent at msn.com)
Henry George Foundation USA/Center for the Study of Economics
Feel free to ask questions and to give critiques and suggestions for future projects for http://www.urbantools.net.
Matthew W. Ashby, Senior Community Affairs Specialist
Legal, Public and Community Affairs, The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
(Matthew.W.Ashby at stls.frb.org)
Exploring Innovation: A Conference on Community Development Finance, May 2-4, 2007, Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. Call for Session Proposals is now available at http://www.stlouisfed.org/community/innovation/.
From Godfrey Dunkley, (landtax at global.co.za)
by Eddie Cross, Bulawayo, (egcross at africaonline.co.zw)
In Zimbabwe, a criminal class rules, is terrified of its past, and is fighting to stay in control at any cost. The consequences: GDP down by half; exports by two thirds; life expectancy by half in a decade; elections a sham; the media totally controlled; and all forms of opposition ruthlessly put down by armed force and violence. We are a threat to regional stability and prosperity; our economic and political refugees are drowning the social and economic systems of our neighbors. Guilty of the theft of national assets and income, our leadership is unrepentant – even of genocide and the mass destruction of homes and livelihoods. Like Burma and North Korea, they have built up a military State that is able and willing to maintain itself on what remains and can continue to do so indefinitely. Since African leaders, the South African leadership in particular, won't, the international community must help get things back on track. Unlike Darfur, Iraq, Burma, and North Korea, Zimbabwe is vulnerable to international action. It is a small country with limited resources – none of them strategic – and is landlocked, so its neighbors hold the key to the survival of the regime. This is a problem that can be fixed. It does not require military intervention of any sort, just coordinated and concerted action by the leaders of democracies in Africa and abroad.
Hamlet Hilpert was an electronics technician for 30 years in Naval Service (WWII). He was introduced to the Georgist philosophy in San Diego, CA in 1955 at the San Diego Henry George School. In the 1980s he was one of the founders and served as president of the Washington State Georgist Assn. a chapter of Common Ground, USA. He actively worked for legislative support for the 1994 and 1996 Washington two-tiered property tax bills. He served four years on the Board of Supervisors, in Lewis County, WA, for 25 years on the County Conservation District, and was a member of the County Forestry Assn. Now retired, he plays bridge, monitors political activities, and writes letters to the editor. On October 10, Ham turned 99. Birthday cards can be addressed to him at 2700 Colonial Dr. #316, Centralia, WA 98531.
by Sue Walton, (sns at swwalton.com)
Dates: Sunday evening, July 22 to 7 pm. Thursday evening, July 26 (with an optional Friday morning brunch for those who wish to linger). Internal Sessions will be held Monday and Tuesday, July 23 and July 24. On Monday evening, there will be a picnic supper honoring our 2007 Team CGO, and on Tuesday night our gala Henry George Awards Dinner will feature popular 2006 speaker, John Kelly. Academic Sessions will be held on Wednesday and Thursday July 25 and July 26. The concluding event will be a dinner on Thursday evening.
Included in the full package will be all sessions both CGO internal & academic; Sunday Evening Welcome Reception with free beer, wine, and soft drinks; 4 breakfasts; 4 lunches; 4 dinners, including Tuesday night awards banquet featuring steak and lobster, as well as a technology tour. Optionally, participants will be able to tour a coal mine and enjoy a delicious, Friday morning brunch before departing. Exact fees will be announced later; however, they will be far less than prior conferences because the 2007 conference is being underwritten through the generosity of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation.
Lodging: Lodging preferences will be made at the time of registration, since the CGO must prepare rooming lists for all participants. There will be two lodging options: hotel rooms at the Hilton with a rate of $89/night per room (1-4 occupancy with private bath and plenty of amenities) and Dorm Rooms at a cost of $31.90 per night per person (common bathrooms, no amenities, no phones). 100% prepayment will be required for dorm space, but not the hotel. Dorm space will be available on a first come, first serve basis. Those staying at the hotel will also be entitled to free shuttle service to the bus station and to the Scranton/Wilkes Barre Airport.
Watch this space for further details. Conference Brochures will be mailed in March 2007. To receive more information, please contact Sue or Scott Walton, conference administrators at 847-475-0391 or at sns at swwalton.com
The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein
If passable and impassable mountain trails are opposites, why are heritable and inheritable property the same, and valuable objects less treasured than invaluable ones, and pertinent and impertinent neither opposites nor the same?
– Richard Lederer, from "Crazy English: the Ultimate Joy Ride Through Our Language"
Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints.
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Contributing to this issue:
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Mark Guttman, Alanna Hartzok, Bruce Hearns, Yoon-sang Kim, Rajesh Makwana,
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Publisher: Hanno T. Beck
The Georgist News, Volume Nine, Number Five, November 1, 2006