Un-taxing Vital Part Of Single Tax System

Henry George

[Reprinted from The Standard, 21 January, 1888]

LIKE THOSE who oppose us, or at least fail to go with us from sheer inability to see how the taxation of land values can abolish poverty, the "limited" Single Taxers' mental gaze seems to be concentrated on what we propose to do, ignoring what we propose to do away with. The great benefit of the appropriation of land values to public use would not be in the revenue that it would give, so much as in the abolition of restrictions upon the free play of productive forces that it would involve or permit. It is not by the mere levying of a tax that we propose to abolish poverty; it is by "securing the blessings of liberty."

Reduce Taxes

The abolition of all taxes that restrain production or hamper exchange, the doing away with all monopolies and special privileges that enable one citizen to levy toll upon the industries of other citizens, is an integral part of our program. To merely take land values in taxation for public purposes would not of itself suffice. If the proceeds were spent in maintaining useless parasites or standing armies, labor might still be oppressed and harried by taxes and special privileges. We might still have poverty, and people might still beg for alms or die of starvation. What we are really aiming at is . . . "the freedom of the individual to use his labor and capital in any way that may seem proper to him and will not interfere with the equal rights of others," and "to leave to the producer the full fruits of his exertion." To do this it is necessary to abolish tariffs.