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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« Children in Poverty, Children in low-income families | Main | Neoclassical economists are rich people's useful idiots. »

December 29, 2009


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Unfortunately, people don't want to be priced out of their homes due to rising property values. Perhaps increases in the property tax could be banked as liens on the property, but that gets messy.

Prop-13 should obviously be stripped from commercial and non owner-occupied.

btw, potential rental value has a fourth parameter: zoning! Even residential properties of lower density than what is zoned should possibly have the LVT applied to encourage the owners to yield to the desired density, or pay for their blocking of progress.


The tax load is the tax load. When some taxpayers are insulated from bearing their fair share of it, they're happy to vote for any service -- don't tax me! Tax the guy behind the tree!

Rising property values do not so directly affect one's tax bill; one's share of the aggregate land value ought to be one's share of the aggregate costs of providing the services that local government (and state government) provide. No one should be exempted, and no one should be more heavily burdened.

Proposition 13's assessment cap exempts long-time owners from bearing their share, and forces newer owners to bear a disproportionately high share. Prop 13's 1%-of-assessed value forces California towns and counties to use other taxes which burden the economy in order to finance the services whose ultimate effect is to maintain or raise property values!

I agree that choice sites which are underutilized are a serious problem, producing sprawl, fewer jobs, higher rents (residential and commercial), higher prices, and a wide range of other undesirable effects.

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