9 Extracts fromThe Georgist News, Volume Nine, Number Twelve, June 1, 2007
2a. Good Press: Scots mainstream press on Greens' on land tax proposal
By Douglas Fraser, The Herald, May 8, 2007
Amid the council taxation debate, the Scottish Green Party wants to tax land value rather than property price for both homes and businesses. The tax shift is part of radical changes in planning law to spur owners to bring unused shops and brownfield sites into use.
By Antony Akilade, Deputy Business Editor, the Sunday Herald
The Greens propose a land value tax. As such, it compensates the community for the private gains made from public investment in the infrastructure and financial assistance to attract development.
2b. Good Press: SoCal wants a new tax on using nature
By opinion editor, The Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2007
While all the added costs under cap-and-trade go to companies, utilities, and traders, the added costs under a carbon tax would go to the government, which could use the revenues to offset other taxes. So while consumers would pay more for energy, they might pay less income tax, or some other tax. That could greatly cushion the overall economic effect.
[Georgist] Editor's note: Al Gore urges this tax shift, most recently in the cover story of Time Magazine (May 28 via Heather Remoff). Dr. Fred Foldvary notes that a tax on carbon output works better than one on carbon inputs, since different engines and factories can use the same amount of fossil fuel but pollute by different amounts.
Either way, when people pay a tax for using some part nature – i.e. for emitting carbon into the atmosphere – they begin to see the underlying principle of paying for what you take, not what you make. Then people can more easily hear Greens proposing to shift taxes from buildings to exclusive use of land.
4a. Numbers for 2006: Each US household owes over half million in public debt
By Dennis Cauchon, USA Today, May 29, 2007
The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year – far more than the official $248 billion deficit – when corporate-style accounting standards are used. Modern accounting requires that expenses be booked when a transaction occurs, even if the payment will be made later. The federal government does not follow the rule, so promises for Social Security, Medicare, and retirement programs for civil servants and military personnel don't show up when the government reports its financial condition. The loss – equal to $11,434 per household – is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.
Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and all other debt combined. The administration argues that their programs are not true liabilities because government can at any time back out of them.
4e. Numbers for May: Builders' confidence, good indicator, down
By Lynn Adler, Reuters, May 15, 2007
Home builder confidence dropped three points to 30 in May, matching the 15-year low set last year in September, as lenders made it more difficult for borrowers to qualify for mortgages and order cancellations mounted. The index stood at 46 last May. Builder confidence has eroded each month since reaching 39 in February.
[Georgist] Editor's note: For the last decade, builders' confidence has presaged economic performance in general rather accurately.
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