Posts Tagged ‘economic meltdown’

Land Value vs. Land Rent

Altho Henry George’s proposal is “to abolish all taxation save that upon land values,” his objective really is to collect land rent for the community.  Of course land value is, ultimately, determined by anticipated land rent, but rent is more stable.

This is illustrated by a recent article in the Wall Street Journal (“Tax Break Divides Large, Small Builders,” Feb 11 ’09).   In an example cited as typical, Pulte Homes is reported to have sold, for $2 million, land they had “originally paid $28 million for.”  So if land value declined by over 92%, how much did land rent decline?

Probably quite a bit less than 92%, because the $28 million was based on Pulte’s guess as to what the future land rent would be.  The actual rent, the amount that someone would have paid to use the land at the time Pulte bought it,  was doubtless much less than their expectation of its future amount.

Some opponents of land value taxation cite cases of great declines in land prices to claim that LVT wouldn’t be a stable source of revenue.  But LVT moderates speculation, and land prices would be more stable if more of the land rent was collected for public use.

One illustration of this is that states where real estate tax is relatively high have experienced more stable prices for homes and lots.

"There was no credit crisis"

This isn’t from some radical leftwing, libertarian, or Georgist journal.

One reason things didn’t fall apart when Congress didn’t immediately act as Paulson and Bernanke demanded [in September ’08], may be that there wasn’t any danger of a meltdown in the first place. So say three senior economists working at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who in October examined the Fed’s own data, and concluded in an article titled Facts and Myths About the Financial Crisis of 2008 that the claims that interbank lending and commercial lending had seized up were simply not true. “Bank lending to consumers and to non-financial companies had not ceased, and banks were lending to each other at record levels,” says V.V. Charri, an economist at the Minneapolis Fed.

— Dave Lindorff

Thanks to Econospeak.

Not much progress in 112 years

Even on matters such as in other sciences have long since been settled, he who today looks for the guidance of general acceptance in political economy will find a chaos of discordant opinions.

– Henry George, 1897

How many fields [other than economics] are there in which a big practical question pops up and the Nobel-level guys are on opposite sides yelling at each other?…They aren’t dickering over some minor proposal or detail. They’re talking about whether or not we should dump nearly a trillion dollars’ worth of stimulus money into the economy. And it isn’t a question that should be sitting at the far cutting edge of research, like how many dimensions your string theory needs to have. The raison d’etre of the discipline is to deal with stuff like this.

Ezra Klein, 2009