Debate Magazine

Killer Arguments Against LVT, Not (428)

Posted on the 16 December 2017 by Markwadsworth @Mark_Wadsworth

Wiggiatlarge in the comments at Broad Oak Magazine:
"The author of this has been on a mission to implement LVT as the prefered method of tax, he is entitled to his view, but no tax is perfect and many far more qualified than myself have taken apart aspects of LVT on his site, the author also rather spoils his pitch by using phraese like "homies" as a derogatory term for all home owners (1) and feels for some strange reason that anyone who has a garden (2) should bear the sins of mankind (3), all rather strange."
1. That's a straightforward lie. As I have pointed out many a time, "Home-Owner-Ist" does not mean owner-occupier. Not all owner-occupiers are Home-Owner-Ists. I am an owner-occupier and I guess most Land Value Taxers are. "Home-Owner-Ist" is my catch-all term for:
- people who celebrate high and rising house prices;
- NIMBYs;
- people who think that "land and buildings" is synonymous with "property";
- people who say that income tax or poll tax is fairer than LVT without realising that they are two extremes and that LVT combines the best aspects of those taxes without their worst aspects;
- people who cheerfully say that the value of land is dictated by its location, location, location while denying the existence of the concept of 'community generated land value';
- people who genuinely believe the 2008 recession was caused by Labour government deficit spending and not by the land price/credit bubble bursting
- etc.
2. Anybody who thinks that Land Value Tax is a 'garden tax' has no grasp of reality. It is a charge based on the value of a location. Anybody can look this up for themselves - in the UK, the average value of a flat is approximately equal to the average value of a semi-detached house with a garden. So clearly, the size of your garden barely matters, it all depends where your garden (or home) is.
3. Who said anything about 'bearing all the sins of mankind'? Does he think that people who go to work (and pay income tax) should 'bear all the sins of mankind'?
The value of any bit of land is down to the extra advantages you can enjoy by occupying that location, location, location. There are thousands of factors, but a major one is being within easy commute distance of a decent job or having lots of potential workers and customers within easy commute distance of your business. And what you are paying for is the right to exclude all others from doing your job or taking your workers/customers; so you are placing a burden on them equal and opposite to the value you are enjoying.
Sure, people can commute in from further away and do a similar job, but that extra commute time is a burden for the other person. Similarly, there are people who live closer to your place of work than you do, they are placing a burden on you.
Therefore, it seems fair and reasonable to me for people to pay compensation (i.e. LVT) accordingly, and for everybody to receive an equal share of the compensation paid by all other land owners (whether that is in terms of public services or a straight cash payout).
There's no point bleating that "I paid for it and it's my land and therefore shouldn't have to pay further compensation", you are still placing a burden on others. What if I move in next door to you and listen to music at top volume all night long? I'm clearly placing a burden on you, and you wouldn't be too happy if I argue that "I've paid for my sound system and CDs and have no duty to minimise or mitigate the burden I place on you".


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