The title for this post was prompted by an article in the NYT about people not raised on farms deciding to become farmers, particularly in places near large cities. It seems that local food was said to be the answer to a number of questions. I'm generally in favor of it, but I'm not sure it is the answer to as many questions as its supporters claim. That doesn't make "local food" a bad thing; just not the answer to as many questions as it might seem.
But the title for this post sprang to mind. It seems to me that Land Value Taxation is the answer to a lot of very important questions.
It isn't the whole answer, but it is an important part of the answer. What is the expression? Necessary, if not sufficient? As a society, we have a lot of serious problems which have not yielded to an amazing range of programs, and indeed seem to be getting worse not better.
- Wages insufficient to meet the needs of an individual or small
family without two people working full-time jobs for decades -- most
particularly while children are young and in school
- Urban sprawl, with all its effects on individuals, families, the economy and the environment
- Long commutes
- Financing infrastructure
- Housing affordability
- Excessive fuel usage and car dependence
- Air pollution, greenhouse gases and environmental degradation
- Decaying downtowns
- Stress-filled lives for a large share of our community, leading to divorce, depression, obesity, bankruptcy, drug use, crime, prison, etc.
- Boom-bust cycles
- Paying twice, in rent/mortgage payments and again in taxes, for what should be financed from the collection of land rent, while enriching those who own the land
- Too few jobs
We aren't going to see these problems solved unless and until we at least start down the road of land value taxation. And I think there is a reasonable chance that we may find that many of them will get solved merely by this tax reform, and others will yield to the combination of this reform and some of the programs which we've been using without widespread success.
No, LVT is not going to solve our healthcare problem (though it may indirectly help by creating affordable living in walkable cities, leading to a reduction in obesity and its concomitants) or Social Security, or the price of oil. But, just as an antidepressant medication lifts some burden allowing the patient to deal with other problems, LVT will alleviate or ameliorate some of our difficult unyielding problems, leaving us the means to deal with the others.
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