Category Archives: Tax unearned incomes/economic rents

Tax unearned incomes/economic rents

SOME CLEAR THINKING

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When jobs disappear because of developments in IT and industry, new occupations will arise – as always?

No, on this occasion it’s certainly very different. With very few exceptions, we’ll only be able to create useless, underpaid ‘gig’ jobs.

Failing genuine economic reform, any ‘recovery’ between now and 2026 will only be false, as governments and central banks continue to pump asset values. This adds to the privatised ‘R’ in Henry George’s equation P – R = W + I. That means that wages (W) and profits (I) will decrease, because there is a reciprocal relationship–not between wages and profits–but between privatised land rent and wages and profits.

This is nothing approaching a ‘market’ economy. Behind this new ‘gilded age’, private debt, poverty and dispossession has been growing rapidly, exacerbated by central banks and governments.

Unfortunately, Andrew Yang, while you’re on the right track, your US$12,000 pa UBI is a pretty miserable approach. At that rate, it can’t work for what lies ahead. A living wage UBI could replace all welfare as it also lowers business wage costs. A ‘Job Guarantee’ is insufficient, because that’s only: “You must all work for gig jobs because you have a duty to work!”

Inflation? That’s fundamentally generated by escalating land prices (notably missing from assessment of CPI) and is addressed by the LVT in VIMMLBUTT – as are the deadweight losses from other forms of tax.

So, you’re saying ‘VIMMLBUTT’ could repair financial madness?

Yup! Mainstream neoclassical economics has been feeding rentier capitalism’s 0.1% at the expense of the 99.9%. Except for a few heterodox economists, the principles behind VIMMLBUTT are unknown. Economist need to read Henry George before they criticise what he really said.

VIMMLBUTT is our final chance before the biggie, but I ain’t holding my breath on it, because there’s great power supporting the political policy of the rentier economy.

THE “GEORGIST” CASE IS THE COMMON SENSE CASE

Neoclassical and neoliberal economists have to prevaricate in order to justify the economic status quo.

A. LAND PRICES

Economists say that land prices are a function of supply and demand. They’re not. Population, infrastructure, zoning, size, shape, topography, location, supply and demand all affect a site’s rent, but its price is determined by:-

(a) how little the government taxes its rent

(b) to what extent banks are prepared to advance credit against the site’s price, and

(c) to what level interest rates are manipulated by central banks.

So, the price of a piece of land actually represents the private capitalisation of its rent, net of public charges, as with the valuation of any developed piece of real estate. So pervasive has become the counterfactual, even real estate valuers are loath to engage with economists on this mainstream myth that land prices are simply a matter of supply, demand and zoning,.

So, if sufficient land rent is captured publicly, the ‘price’ of land will fall. Were the full land rent to be taxed away, land prices would actually decline to zero, because there remains nothing to be capitalised into a price. This case has gone absent from neoclassical economics.

If land and has no cost of production and its price would be zero if we were to pay its rent, what of those who might ask “No cost of production? What about, the cost of provision of roads, footpaths, water, sewerage, gas, electricity, electromagnetic spectrum?” These are a number of the externalities which give the parcel of land its value, not its price, however.

So, perhaps it’s not curious this principle never gets a mention when communities become solicitous about the high cost of ‘housing’ (read ‘land prices’). Banking, monopolies and other rent-seeking entities are quite comfortable to keep reaping unearned reward from this pathological arrangement.

B. THE ‘FIGHT’ BETWEEN LABOUR AND CAPITAL

Nup, this is contrived, too. Once you’ve seen that GDP is distributed between land, labour and capital as rent, wages and interest, and that rent has the first claim upon GDP, you’ll be able to conclude along with Henry George that wages and earned incomes rise and fall together, inversely to land prices (privatised land rent).

But banking, monopolies and other rent-seeking entities are delighted to keep promoting the contrived industrial relations canard that rather than being complementary, labour and capital’s interests are antithetical to each other. This is the case behind which rent-seekers hide, much to the financial distress of individuals and society.

CONCLUSION

If these misguided economic concoctions could be resolved and productivity untaxed, an economy of abundance arises from which a living wage universal income would be distributable, instead of letting land rent continue to leak upward, particularly to the 0.1%.

This would be a win/win for people and businesses, insofar as businesses would only have to pay some amount additional to the UBI in order to attract employees.

The lack of education on a workable economics reinforces this currently madly awry status quo.

GO, MAN!

Hank George

Power (rent-seeking) corrupts, and absolute power (the 0.1%) corrupts absolutely.

Henry George had much in common with Rutger Bregman (about a UBI and from whence it can come) who was on last night’s episode of Q and A “Sex, Lies and Better Politics“.

Marx was wrong. The fight is not between labour and capital, because wages and earned profits rise and fall togetherinversely to private rent-seeking by banking, land prices and other monopolies.