Re: Flat Tax. (now land tax)

Timothy Bates (
Mon, 14 Jun 1999 16:53:49 +1000

Mike said

>> Ray Van De Walker argued
>> > I favor a single tax on real-estate, because protecting real-estate is
>> > the only value that I'm certain that only government could create
I said (edited)
>> that is logical: restrict it to the values created by government.

Mike then noted (paraphrasing)
> The claim that governments create property value is mostly false.
> they give rate of scarcity with original land grants
> The idea that
> you should be taxed repeatedly, every year, on property which you have
> afixed capital into is a confiscatory one, unless the land owner is
> receiving something for those property taxes.

The argument is that without the government your one-time payment for the land would be worthless as the land would be stolen from you by other people and network values (roads, cable etc.) could not be established. The tax is therefore a recurrent payment for

a.  Defence
b. "Lease hold" on the latent network service value.
c.  Neighbourhood Maintenance

Mike then listed things that his land tax pays for right now.
> Education (K-12 and some college support)
> police departments
> fire departments
> zoning departments
> maintenance of community property (mostly recreational or green belt)
> some road maintenance

<devils-advocacy on>
I think that all of these can be justified. Even education (compare crime and social progress rates in countries that eliminate education function).

> The largest use of these taxes is education. Should people who are
> sterile or lifelong bacholors/bachelorettes be forced to pay for the
> education of the fertile members of the community?
Nope. I agree. However - Doesn't your argument require that you have fertility control over your neighbours? i.e., if they are unwilling to educate their children, and you, rightfully, don't want to pay for their kids to go to school - what gives? Unless you have fertility control, you are stuck paying for them one way or the other. The notion is therefore that you agree that compulsory sterilisation on request of your neighbours is a bad thing, and that compulsory education is less bad. Therefore, the optimal response is education. Of course you can control the content of this education. Mike's extropian local 101 :-)

>That is definitely confiscatory.


> Police departments: That and fire departments are iffy. The idea that
> you should pay higher insurance if you don't have such 'protection' is
> dubious, since the risk of such in areas where there is no protection
> tends to be lesser than in more developed communities...Also the idea
> that you should submit to one monopoly service is also iffy.

I think all of this (and other stuff that i snipped) resolves to the monopoly service notion.

How about this...

  1. Network values and security are created by government.
  2. This justifies a tax on land.
  3. You must pay this tax, but the government must disperse this money entirely through private entities via contestable bidding?

> unless specific exemptions are
> written in for farmland and wilderness property A farmer will
> subdivide his land and sell it off to developers

So now you want to confiscate the farmer's right to do this?

> Now, should property taxes be applied at the federal level?
Good question. What is federal? How does the structure of government flwo out off a land-based tax system? If we can identify tiers of land-value then we should have tiers of government. If not, then we should have a flat government. The borders of a nation define at least one super-set of your own personal land. This suggests two levels of government. One to defend and network your land, the other to defend/network all land in the superset.

Of course this might also evolve quite naturally, like Athenian democracy. This was built on a system of 10s. 10 landowners elect a rep and perform local functions amongst themselves. 10 of these leaders form a new level, et etc. until you get to the top (in their case <50,000 people).

<devils-advocacy off>

>it is never simple.



"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things, they push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

--Apple commercial "Think Different"