Re: Flat Tax.

Michael S. Lorrey (
Tue, 22 Jun 1999 10:37:05 -0400

"Raymond G. Van De Walker" wrote:

> On Sun, 13 Jun 1999 10:04:26 -0400 "Michael S. Lorrey" <>
> writes:
> >The problem with evenly apportioned taxes like this is that it is
> >anti-environmental and anti-rural, unless specific exemptions are
> >written in for farmland and wilderness property.
> Aren't defense costs are real costs of maintaining property? It seems
> to me that profitable enterprises have to pass these costs along, or else
> somehow the value has to be coerced from other people that then don't
> control the expenditure.

But the question is: If I am a sovereign land owner, surrounded on all sides by a sovereign state, isn't any money I pay to that state merely extortion to prevent them from invading me? If I have a state on one side, and a state on the other, shouldn't I be able to choose which one to contract with depending on who cuts me the best deal on taxes versus protection? Shouldn't you have to pay me to be able to take action against the other guy on my land? If I choose to take care of my own defense, to go armadillo, isn't that my choice, so why should I pay you to keep your navy when I'm 1000 miles from the nearest ocean?

> Can you think of a reasonable libertarian way to pay the defense of
> wilderness without subsidies from nonconsenting persons?

Well, here in NH, there are several land classifications, depending on their level of development. There is commercial property, residential property, and several classes of what is called 'current use', plus examptions for land owned by charitable non-profit corps (mostly hospitals and colleges). So you see already this isn't a totally flat system. Theoretically the different rates for the different classes are supposed to be based on the cost/benefit differentials that each category gives to the community on average. The 'current use' categories apply to farmland and different undeveloped wilderness. The purpose of the current use wilderness categories is to give the land owner a choice of low tax rates as an incentive to keep it undeveloped, in exchange the land owner gives a proportionate level of public access to the land. The lower the rate they pay, the more open the land is to public use. So, the public gains benefit from the private landowners land, while the land owner pays low taxes. Likewise, since people who live here value the rural character of the communities, and since local farms provide fresh high quality produce, and the character of the community is attractive to tourists from the city, the farm class of current use is maintained to allow the farmer to compete with processed food and factory farms from out of state.

An example: The township of Dix's Grant is totally owned by Meade Paper Company, and the company logs it responsibly. They maintain a current use classification that allows the public to come onto the land for hunting, fishing, and hiking, but no transient/overnight camping is allowed, and the roads the paper company maintains are open to the public and are regarded as Class VI roads, where only the Game Warden has legal power (the Game Wardens in this state are higher in rank than the Commander of the State Police). The paper company grants a set number of leases to people who have semi-permanent structures built for camps, but the number of leases is limited by the acreage in the township.

> The Nature Conservancy _buys_ it, and then pays taxes, etc. on it. We
> had a case in Norco CA where the NC owned a swamp (remarkably rare land
> in Southern California, which is mostly subtropical desert). The city
> wanted to put a road through it, and the NC flew in a brace of
> high-powered lawyers that stopped the process. I was impressed.
> I personally would live to give exemptions for wilderness, but I worry
> that it's too coercive.

Coercive to who? The idea of forcing anyone to pay taxes to defend nothing is ludicrous, almost as ludicrous as paying taxes to provide welfare benefits to land that has no residents....


Michael S. Lorrey
Owner, Lorrey Systems
Director, Grafton County Fish & Game Assoc.
Member, Extropy Institute
Member, National Rifle Association
"Live Free or Die, Death is not the Worst of Evils."
                  - General John Stark