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The Single Tax

This idea was first formulated by Mr. Henry George in 1879, and has
grown steadily in favor. Single-tax men assert as a fundamental
principle that all men are equally entitled to the use of the earth;
therefore, no one should be allowed to hold valuable land without paying
to the community the value of the privilege. They hold that this is the
only rightful source of public revenue, and they would therefore abolish
all taxation--local, state and national--except a tax upon the rental
value of land exclusive of its improvements, the revenue thus raised to
be divided among local, state and general governments, as the revenue
from certain direct taxes is now divided between local and state

The single tax would not fall on all land, but only on valuable land,
and on that in proportion to its value. It would thus be a tax, not on
use or improvements, but on ownership of land, taking what would
otherwise go to the landlord as owner.

In accordance with the principle that all men are equally entitled to
the use of the earth, they would solve the transportation problem by
public ownership and control of all highways, including the roadbeds of
railroads, leaving their use equally free to all.

The single-tax system would, they claim, dispense with a horde of
tax-gatherers, simplify government, and greatly reduce its cost; give us
with all the world that absolute free trade which now exists between the
States of the Union: abolish all taxes on private issues of money; take
the weight of taxation from agricultural districts, where land has
little or no value apart from improvements, and put it upon valuable
land, such as city lots and mineral deposits. It would call upon men to
contribute for public expenses in proportion to the natural
opportunities they monopolize, and make it unprofitable for speculators
to hold land unused or only partly used, thus opening to labor unlimited
fields of employment, solving the labor problem and abolishing
involuntary poverty.

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