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.

The Signature The Steps In The Growth Of American Liberty facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail