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(Salon)   If we instituted a land tax, we wouldn't need any other taxes. No sales tax. No income tax. No payroll tax to fill a social security trust fund. No corporate income tax. No need to tax labor and industry at all   (salon.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, United States, house ways and means committee, Major Changes, price bubble, private ownership, Senate Finance Committee, McMansion, Baucus  
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5319 clicks; posted to Politics » on 22 Nov 2013 at 2:37 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-22 02:55:31 PM  

DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?


Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.
 
2013-11-22 02:55:42 PM  
i'd rather see a mandatory minimum 20% tax on all churches with congregations larger than 100, escalating with higher avg attendance numbers.  and make them print out receipts for tax credits for the people who contribute to the offering tray.  hehe, cuz that's as likely to happen as the author's hopes.
 
2013-11-22 02:55:58 PM  

Masso: Uh.. that's so dumb. The rich would just move away from owning land.


You mean they would biatch a lot more about it. Buying land is what you do when you're rich.
 
2013-11-22 02:56:36 PM  

Rev.K: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

It might not be a totally horrible idea, I'll give it that.

But how about we go after the income taxes the 1% should be paying first? I don't mean raising their rates, I mean collecting what they do owe through closing loopholes and ending sweetheart deals.


Because as soon as the people get behind "closing loopholes" the GoP starts with "OK, let's get rid of the ones that everyone benefits from, like the mortgage deduction." Not to argue the merits of the mortgage deduction, but that doesn't really pursue the stated goal...
 
2013-11-22 02:56:41 PM  

DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?


Other than the clear constitutional issue that a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states as required by the 16th amendment? If the Feds imposed the direct land tax, they would not be able to keep it. They would have to send it to the states.
 
2013-11-22 02:57:27 PM  

DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?


I don't think it's objectionable as much as one of those things where someone goes to great pains to reinvent the wheel for no reason. What's the point, we already have taxes that could easily be raised on the super wealthy.
 
2013-11-22 02:57:30 PM  

netweavr: This is so retarded it made me a Republican


takes one to know one, i guess.

/hehe
 
2013-11-22 02:57:50 PM  
Oh look! You're a farmer! PREPARE FOR TAXES!
 
2013-11-22 02:58:41 PM  

Lord_Baull: Let's go one step further and say only those with a stake in the game can vote.


I assume you meant only taxpayers can vote, no moochers?

So no voting for the military, teachers, police, farmers, highway workers, anybody receiving Social Security, nobody from GE or Boeing or Mattel or Wells Fargo or DuPont...
 
2013-11-22 02:59:11 PM  

netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.


It taxes the land, not the buiding.
 
2013-11-22 02:59:24 PM  

jst3p: Because as soon as the people get behind "closing loopholes" the GoP starts with "OK, let's get rid of the ones that everyone benefits from, like the mortgage deduction." Not to argue the merits of the mortgage deduction, but that doesn't really pursue the stated goal...


Fair enough.
 
2013-11-22 02:59:31 PM  

netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.


Wouldn't online stores still have warehouses? Amazon has several really big ones.
 
2013-11-22 02:59:34 PM  

The_Six_Fingered_Man: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Other than the clear constitutional issue that a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states as required by the 16th amendment? If the Feds imposed the direct land tax, they would not be able to keep it. They would have to send it to the states.


Commerce clause, biatch.
 
2013-11-22 02:59:38 PM  

DamnYankees: netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.

It taxes the land, not the buiding.


The building doesn't float in air.
 
2013-11-22 02:59:45 PM  
It would just be more fun to label those who use off-shore accounts to shelter income as traitors, and charge them with capital crimes against the United States.  For corporations, since they are people too, if found guilty, they would be put to death (e.g. dissolved) with all profits evenly distributed to the lower level employees.
 
2013-11-22 03:00:03 PM  

The_Six_Fingered_Man: Other than the clear constitutional issue that a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states as required by the 16th amendment?


Oy. Please.
 
2013-11-22 03:00:05 PM  
In the name of reducing inequality we are going to submit an extreme minority of people with the bill to pay all the tax of all the people.
 
2013-11-22 03:00:24 PM  

Witty_Retort: netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.

Wouldn't online stores still have warehouses? Amazon has several really big ones.


In crappy areas and only when it's financially beneficial. Hell they refused to put one in California until the state finally hit them with Sales Taxes anyways.
 
2013-11-22 03:00:32 PM  

Witty_Retort: Lord_Baull: Let's go one step further and say only those with a stake in the game can vote.

I assume you meant only taxpayers can vote, no moochers?

So no voting for the military, teachers, police, farmers, highway workers, anybody receiving Social Security, nobody from GE or Boeing or Mattel or Wells Fargo or DuPont...


everyone gets to vote even children because we all pay atleast sales tax.
 
2013-11-22 03:01:17 PM  

Witty_Retort: Lord_Baull: Let's go one step further and say only those with a stake in the game can vote.

I assume you meant only taxpayers can vote, no moochers?

So no voting for the military, teachers, police, farmers, highway workers, anybody receiving Social Security, nobody from GE or Boeing or Mattel or Wells Fargo or DuPont...



Farmers own land.
 
2013-11-22 03:01:17 PM  

Witty_Retort: netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.

Wouldn't online stores still have warehouses? Amazon has several really big ones.


And they'll all be in China if this happens.
 
2013-11-22 03:01:20 PM  

netweavr: The building doesn't float in air.


No, but they are different. Firstly, the owners of the land, the owners of the buildings and the people using the building are usually all different people. Secondly, the tax only applies to the land itself, not the building, so when you calculate the tax you don't take into account the value of the building.
 
2013-11-22 03:01:42 PM  

whidbey: The_Six_Fingered_Man: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Other than the clear constitutional issue that a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states as required by the 16th amendment? If the Feds imposed the direct land tax, they would not be able to keep it. They would have to send it to the states.

Commerce clause, biatch.


Whids, I love you man, and we always get along, but the idea that the Federal government could circumvent the 16th amendment apportionment clause by citing the commerce clause is pretty pants on head.

Also, I have no idea how the Interstate Commerce Clause would apply to land that, by nature, cannot cross state lines.
 
2013-11-22 03:02:11 PM  

DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?


If you reduce all taxes to one tax, whatever type of tax it is, it will increase the effectiveness of tax evasion and loopholes. By having a bunch of different taxes on different parts of the economic cycle you reduce the benefit of finding loopholes to evade each particular tax. So for example a nationwide sales tax to replace all other taxes will tend to create lots of smuggling and black marketeering, gray sales (claimed as business so no tax applies but actual for private use), etc., a land tax will presumably end up the same way - for example rich people might find a loophole to have orchards in the grounds of their massive mansions so they can claim they are farmers to gain exemptions/lower rates that are carved out to benefit farms, etc.
 
2013-11-22 03:02:32 PM  
Also no produce, no meat, and only rich people could afford land.  Wow awesome idea moron.
 
2013-11-22 03:03:00 PM  
FMD, that was a lot of derp.
 
2013-11-22 03:03:05 PM  

DamnYankees: netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.

It taxes the land, not the buiding.


Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown.

/tax lawyer exiled doing litigation
 
2013-11-22 03:03:16 PM  

Tyee: In the name of reducing inequality we are going to submit an extreme minority of people with the bill to pay all the tax of all the people.


what is the minority you mention?
 
2013-11-22 03:03:35 PM  

DamnYankees: netweavr: The building doesn't float in air.

No, but they are different. Firstly, the owners of the land, the owners of the buildings and the people using the building are usually all different people. Secondly, the tax only applies to the land itself, not the building, so when you calculate the tax you don't take into account the value of the building.


If only the owners of the land could levy some type of fee against the people in the buildings. Some sort of monthly payment that covers all taxes and costs associated with the land. The value of the land is directly related to the properties and improvements on the land. Claiming they're separate is retarded. Los Angeles, for example is a barren hell-hole of a desert. Would you call that land cheap?
 
2013-11-22 03:03:59 PM  

DamnYankees: The_Six_Fingered_Man: Other than the clear constitutional issue that a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states as required by the 16th amendment?

Oy. Please.


I have no idea what this comment means. Are you suggesting that a land tax is not a direct tax that is required by the 16th amendment to be apportioned among the states?
 
2013-11-22 03:04:15 PM  

The_Six_Fingered_Man: whidbey: The_Six_Fingered_Man: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Other than the clear constitutional issue that a direct tax that is not apportioned among the states as required by the 16th amendment? If the Feds imposed the direct land tax, they would not be able to keep it. They would have to send it to the states.

Commerce clause, biatch.

Whids, I love you man, and we always get along, but the idea that the Federal government could circumvent the 16th amendment apportionment clause by citing the commerce clause is pretty pants on head.

Also, I have no idea how the Interstate Commerce Clause would apply to land that, by nature, cannot cross state lines.


Well I was only half-serious, but there is enough precedence to justify that since the Govt does enough commerce in all 50 states (with all 50 landowners, (another joke) (maybe?) with the individuals/corporations who own the land, then there is legal grounds to invoke the CC. Yes, I know you hate it when they flip it on and off like a light switch.
 
2013-11-22 03:05:55 PM  

netweavr: Witty_Retort: netweavr: DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?

Well for starters it would penality brick and mortar stores while rewarding digital services. That effectively cripples local industries for most of America.

Wouldn't online stores still have warehouses? Amazon has several really big ones.

In crappy areas and only when it's financially beneficial. Hell they refused to put one in California until the state finally hit them with Sales Taxes anyways.


CSB: I went to the Amazon Web Services conference last week in Vegas (it was pretty awesome). Where I finally met our sales rep. See, he is not allowed to come to Colorado because Amazon doesn't have a deal with the state to avoid paying taxes here, so they can do no business in the state. They are very sketchy about doing anything that will get them a tax bill and I guess some states tried to collect sales tax on their retail business because their web services guys were working.

Apparently the "slick move" is to get vacation time approved and then e-mail HR saying:

"While on vacation I will be in Hawaii. I know we aren't supposed to be doing business there but I can check my email or take work calls right?"

To which HR will reply:

"NO! Under ABSOLUTELY NO circumstances are you to perform ANY job related tasks in Hawaii!"

"Sorry boss, guess I am off the grid for those two weeks."
 
2013-11-22 03:06:21 PM  
I'm 90% sure this sort of Tax would result in an actual war between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.
 
2013-11-22 03:06:30 PM  
I should also add a single tax to replace all other taxes intrinsically will tend to make government revenues much less stable than the current situation, although how unstable will depend on the particular tax chosen, some are worse than others. A land tax would seem to be somewhat problematic as for example from 2000-2007 government revenues would presumably have doubled (absent reaction by the government in the form of massive tax cuts) as property values roughly doubled, and then government revenues would have collapsed exactly when the government needed money to address the problems in various markets.
 
2013-11-22 03:06:43 PM  

DamnYankees: Masso: Uh.. that's so dumb. The rich would just move away from owning land.

This doesn't make sense. Land is a form of asset. All this tax would do is, in business terms, reduce the relative value of land as an asset. It wouldn't reduce it to zero.


It doesn't have to reduce the value to zero. It only has to reduce the value enough that something else works better for making money.

I'm not sure it's such a good idea to have landowners being the only people funding the government anyway. We need to be maximizing the number of people with skin in the game, not minimizing it.
 
2013-11-22 03:07:02 PM  

netweavr: Los Angeles, for example is a barren hell-hole of a desert. Would you call that land cheap?


Without the social construct we call "Los Angeles", the land would have no value. Therefore, the people who own that land have benefited simply from owning land and not improving it. therefore, we should tax them on the difference. This will give them incentive to improve the land to collect rents, and will benefit the society that allowed their land to accrue that value.
 
2013-11-22 03:07:55 PM  
I did not expect so many replies.

netweavr: Witty_Retort: Wouldn't online stores still have warehouses? Amazon has several really big ones.

In crappy areas and only when it's financially beneficial. Hell they refused to put one in California until the state finally hit them with Sales Taxes anyways.


So nothing would change.

Headso: everyone gets to vote even children because we all pay atleast sales tax.


Sales taxes are state ran, and several states don't have them.

Lord_Baull: Farmers own land.


So you want only land owners to be able to vote (in this situation, FTFA)?

whidbey: And they'll all be in China if this happens.


So stuff will just be UPSd directly from China? Shipping will be through the roof.
 
2013-11-22 03:08:00 PM  

netweavr: I'm 90% sure this sort of Tax would result in an actual war between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.


ANY result would be a win for the rest of the nation.
 
2013-11-22 03:08:30 PM  
I just want to be able to picnic in peace on the 18th fairway of Hilton Head's golf course during a Masters golf tournament.  Is that too much to ask for?  I mean, really......
 
2013-11-22 03:08:40 PM  

DamnYankees: The amount of people dismissing this out of hand is pretty interesting. What's so objectionable about this?


I deal with local property taxes as part of my work, but what bglove25 said above about taxing the property and not the improvements makes sense to me, as the land is itself a public good and the buildings are a private good. Also, taxes on a combined land/building provide a disinsentive to people who want to improve their property.
 
2013-11-22 03:08:57 PM  

theorellior: netweavr: Los Angeles, for example is a barren hell-hole of a desert. Would you call that land cheap?

Without the social construct we call "Los Angeles", the land would have no value. Therefore, the people who own that land have benefited simply from owning land and not improving it. therefore, we should tax them on the difference. This will give them incentive to improve the land to collect rents, and will benefit the society that allowed their land to accrue that value.


Nope, you're only taxing the land here. Not the "difference."

The land is worthless, hell they'll die as soon as the Central Valley/NorCal/Oregon realize "we're paying the taxes for this water, we don't have to ship it to them"
 
2013-11-22 03:09:10 PM  

Headso: or we could just take capital gains at a progressive rate...


WTF is wrong with you, you commie pinko socialist bastard?

/that would be a good start
 
2013-11-22 03:10:07 PM  

Witty_Retort: netweavr: Witty_Retort: Wouldn't online stores still have warehouses? Amazon has several really big ones.

In crappy areas and only when it's financially beneficial. Hell they refused to put one in California until the state finally hit them with Sales Taxes anyways.

So nothing would change.


For Amazon, probably not. For Bob's General Store down the street? Yeah, he's boned.
 
2013-11-22 03:10:36 PM  
Haha. Renters think they don't pay property taxes. Haha. Good one.
 
2013-11-22 03:11:04 PM  
I like tax.  I like to tax.  I like to tax as many people as possible, in as many ways as possible.  Tax is the thing that keeps me going, that drives me, that justifies my life.

oh.  Not "tax",

I mean "sex".

Well that article just got boring.
 
2013-11-22 03:11:20 PM  

Headso: or we could just take capital gains at a progressive rate...


For liberals, every day is April 15th.
 
2013-11-22 03:11:28 PM  

netweavr: I'm 90% sure this sort of Tax would result in an actual war between Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.


Good. Maybe it'd be the first Interstate Nuclear Confrontation.
 
2013-11-22 03:12:09 PM  
C'mon, people. George's idea is a basic extension of Smith's four inputs. Labor, capital and entrepreneurship are rewarded by actual human activities: work more, buy more equipment, or build a better mousetrap, and you profit. The people who profit off land ownership are merely arbitraging the value that goes up because someone else worked harder.
 
2013-11-22 03:12:13 PM  

bglove25: A Cave Geek: DNRTFA, but isn't that what a "Property tax" is?

No.  Your property tax is based on the value of the land as well as the building or fixtures on top of it.  He's suggesting that we actually only tax the value of the land and not the things on top of it.  So, if you own 2 acres of floodplain that's not commercially feasable to develop, well, your land (with nothing on it) isn't worth much.  However, if you're Mcdonald's and actually own the real estate under every restaurant, you pay a tax on the value of that land, without regard for what's built on top of it.  It also means you don't have Mcdonald's 1) pay corporate income tax or 2) need to engage in shenannigans to try to avoid income tax.


Remove the religious tax exemption for hilarity.

/still a foolish idea

To The Escape Zeppelin!: "Despite this, the new developments wouldn't push rents up throughout the rest of the neighborhood, because the increased land value would be taxed. The rest of the apartment buildings in the area didn't get any nicer. So why should they cost more?"

Clearly someone doesn't understand how gentrification works. Property value and rent goes up when it's next to expensive houses owned by rich people and goes down when it's next to poor people.


This is why, throughout much of US history, we had mixed development housing. Look at the factory housing through the 20th century. My old neighborhood had 5 house designs. They ranged from new employee to factory manager. The 'rich' often lived fairly close to the 'poor' people. This was important because it connected people in the workplaces. You couldn't really ignore, in comparison to modern times, the plight of Joe the Janitor or Sally in the Secretarial pool. You saw their families, your kids were near their kids, often playing together.

Trust me, it's a lot harder to have a slum in a mixed income neighborhood. Kind of like my yard is 'modern field' and not some specialty crap. I had the Tru-Green Chemlawn people out one year telling me how terrible my grass was with various weeds growing in it. I asked the guy if he drove by the new development by X on the way to my house. He replied yes. I asked him why he wasn't there, since those people try to keep impeccable lawns. I didn't wait for him to answer, we were having a drought that summer, and said 'My lawn is imperfect green, but it's green. You go look at their manicured, dead, brown, grass. You're going to honestly tell me that it's better than my mixed nature yard? Who has a green yard again?'  He left.

Mixed income neighborhoods are like my yard. You can wilt one or two things, but the overall whole will stay vibrant.
 
2013-11-22 03:12:33 PM  
"No one put any enterprise or cost into producing the land's value - they simply bought it when it was cheap, sold it when it was dear, and waited for the check."

Complete and utter bullshiat.

I'm all for tax codes that place the burden of paying taxes on the folks who derive the most wealth from the systems of laws in place that enable them to acquire and keep their wealth but lets not pretend that land value comes from the land value fairy.

There is a reason an acre of land on Manhattan costs somewhat more than an acre of land in rural Wyoming - it's because a lot of people have put a fair bit of work and financial investment into developing and building both the useful structures on the land itself and the surrounding infrastructure that supports the operation of the fancy things that get built.
 
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