Henry George and the Single-Tax
William F. Buckley, Jr.
[An interview with Brian Lamb, C-Span Book Notes, 2-3
CALLER: Mr. Buckley, it's a pleasure to talk to you.
William F. Buckley, Jr.(WFB): Thank You.
CALLER: I've heard you describe yourself as a Georgist, a follower of
Henry George, but I haven't heard much in having you promote land
value taxation and his theories, and I'm wondering why that is the
W.F.B.: It's mostly because I'm beaten down by my right-wing
theorists and intellectual friends. They always find something wrong
with the Single-Tax idea. What I'm talking about Mr. Lamb is Henry
George who said there is infinite capacity to increase capital and to
increase labor, but none to increase land, and since wealth is a
function of how they play against each other, land should be thought
of as common property. The effect of this would be that if you have a
parking lot and the Empire State Building next to it, the tax on the
parking lot should be the same as the tax on the Empire State
Building, because you shouldn't encourage land speculation.
Anyway I've run into tons of situations were I think the Single-Tax
theory would be applicable. We should remember also this about Henry
George, he was sort of co-opted by the socialists in the 20s and the
30s, but he was not one at all. Alfred J. Nock's book on him makes
that plain. Plus, also, he believes in only that tax. He believes in
zero income tax.
You look bored (addressing Brian Lamb)!
B.L.: No, no. As a matter of fact I was going to ask you about this
little book ("Lexicon, A Cornucopia of Wonderful Words for the
Inquisitive Word Lover"). I'm fascinated by it. I'm going to see
if you can pronounce the word,
This little book starts off and the fellow's name, is it Jesse
W.F.B.: I think so.
B.L.: S-H-E-I-D-L-O-W-E-R? You've never read it (the Introduction to "The
W.F.B.: No. I never have.
B.L.: (Quoting the book) "The first time I met William F.
Buckley, we were both members of a televised panel discussing word.
The moderator introduced me with a pop-quiz to test my credentials
asked me to define the word..." Is it USUFRUCT?
W.F.B.: Usufruct, yeah.
B.L. (Quoting the book) "I felt smug as I recite the right to
enjoy another's property as long as you don't damage it. Then Mr.
Buckley leaned into his microphone and quoted an entire paragraph on
usufruct from the political economist, Henry George.
W.F.B.: Oh for heaven's sake!
B.L.: And this little book has..
W.F.B.: The land belongs to those in usufruct.