Pages I refer to often

  • Income Distribution in the US
    How is our income distributed? Well, it is pretty concentrated. How concentrated? Take a look.
  • Progress and Poverty, by Henry George
    Here are links to online editions of George's landmark book, Progress & Poverty, including audio and a number of abridgments -- the shortest is 30 words! I commend this book to your attention, if you are concerned about economic justice, poverty, sprawl, energy use, pollution, wages, housing affordability. Its observations will change how you approach all these problems. A mind-opening experience!
  • Wealth Concentration Tables from 2004 SCF: Bottom 90%, Next 9% and Top 1%
    Aggregated data by net worth quantile, for various kinds of wealth. With calculations you won't find anywhere else!
  • Wealth Concentration Tables from 2004 SCF: 50-40-5-4-1
    These tables show how concentrated the ownership of various kinds of assets are. With calculations you won't find anywhere else! This version is less aggregated: Bottom 50%, Next 40%, Next 5%, Next 4% and Top 1%.


Books I Value

  • Henry George: Progress and Poverty: An inquiry into the cause of industrial depressions and of increase of want with increase of wealth ... The Remedy
    This is perhaps the most important book ever written on the subjects of poverty, political economy, how we might live together in a society dedicated to the ideals Americans claim to believe are self-evident. It will provide you new lenses through which to view many of our most serious problems and how we might go about solving them: poverty, sprawl, long commutes, despoilation of the environment, housing affordability, wealth concentration, income concentration, concentration of power, low wages, etc. Read it online, or in hardcopy.
  • Bob Drake's abridgement of Henry George's original: Progress and Poverty: Why There Are Recessions and Poverty Amid Plenty -- And What To Do About It!
    This is a very readable thought-by-thought updating of Henry George's longer book, written in the language of a newsweekly. A fine way to get to know Henry George's ideas. Available online at and

Where Else Might You Look?

Sites I enjoy

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« Fareed Zakaria: How to Spread Democracy | Main | Americans and Mass Transit »

November 01, 2008


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Chris Tolworthy

Off topic, and I confess I haven't read every post recently (incredibly busy on certain projects), so my apologies if you've covered this already. But I just stumbled on this from Reuters:
"Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes"

Even this alone would be a good reason to replace work taxes with land taxes. It's easy to hide profits but hard to hide land.

It's not that I want to hammer big corporations, but I feel sorry for the small businesses that don't have the ability to hide their profits. A move to land tax would not harm small businesses (since they already pay plenty of tax) but would allow them to compete fairly with the big boys. Result: more competition, more entrepreneurs, no tax avoidance, more revenue for society, and that's above and beyond all the other advantages of LVT (maximising efficient use of resources, removing theft from economics, etc.)


I think I did cover that story ... or maybe that post is still sitting as a draft (that collection is embarrassingly large -- I'll go look) ... but I appreciate your making the connection, which I think is a very important one. I don't know how much the owners of the property are paying NYC in property taxes, but suspect it isn't much. Hotel guests pay a tax on their room rents to the state and likely another to the city.

I recall reading that the hotel owners were satisfied with the $14 to $22 million annual profit on the hotel. The building is merely a "taxpayer", like the 2-story building on 72nd and Madison -- see

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