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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Re: [CALPCandidates] What is Geo-Rent?

Pamela J. Brown wrote:
Yes, I am saying the Ohlones get to keep land worth $20 million, Brian.
That wasn't my question.  Here it is again, for the fourth time: Suppose that 150 years ago an Ohlone Indian family here in Silicon Valley marked off and defended ten acres for their hunting and gathering, and that their descendants still eked out that sort of existence on that unimproved land today.  In my town, that land would now be worth about $20 million.  How much of that value would have been created by the labor of those Ohlones?  Is your answer really "100%"?

You earlier told us that site values are created purely by the labor of the people who first discover them.  If you really believed that, you would have answered my question the first time out.
If farmers or nuns LIKE their property, who are you to deny them their (emphasis on "their" - not yours) land?

I wouldn't deny people anything they create with their labor -- unlike you, who would annually exact tribute from them.

I don't deny people the right to indefinitely occupy the land they enclose.  I just decline to recognize any so-called "right" to appropriate the accumulated ground rent (site value) created by surrounding development.
Why can't you just be HAPPY for people?   People who have managed to accumulate some very fine resources!
I'm quite happy for people who observe the Lockean Proviso of leaving "as much and as good" for others.  Go live in the woods like Ted Kaczynski, and you don't owe anything to anybody -- not even annual Pam-style tribute.  But if a Manhattan or Silicon Valley is built around you by other people, don't expect to capitalize their efforts into your balance sheet just by polishing your "no trespassing" sign.
[You] should presumably also applaud the KELO decision -  or am I wrong?

Harland Harrison wrote:

> This exemption (4) is just a Prop 13 light,  giving long-term owners immunity from taxes.

No, "immunity from taxes" would mean that long-term owners could appropriate the site value, by renting the site and/or selling it at full value.  Yes, a few long-term resident landholders might avoid some taxes if they have low income, no rental income, make no improvements, and the site doesn't appreciate in value.  If you're really worried about such cases, you can advocate a harder-core geolibertarian position, which isn't necessarily to evict them from the land they claimed.  Rather, you could advocate is that the landholder loses exclusive use of the land, and no longer has the right to exclude other people from using the land the way he does.  (You could also subdivide the land to auction any parts they're not using, and of course it they're absentees then the whole site is auctioned.)

I'd much prefer the inequity of 1) a few holdout senile landholders being forgiven a fraction of their land tax, compared to 2) the rampant inequities of Pam using a head tax to finance public goods in Bedford Falls to make Mr. Potter even wealthier.

I'm curious, Harland, what is your ideal tax system?  You 2006 campaign site gives no information on where you think government revenue should come from.