Taxation versus the Public Collection of Rent

Unsigned Editorial

[Reprinted from The Standard, Vol. 7, No. 21, 21 May 1890]

Single tax men everywhere will save themselves from embarrassing situations if they will utterly disregard everything emanating from the little group of men, with nominal headquarters in this city, who are trying to reconcile their profession of belief in the single tax with a support of the protectionist party.

The fact that personal property never has been reached successfully is one that those who seek to establish a just system of taxation are bound to take into account; but the other fact that personal property is invariably the product of human labor, is a sufficient reason, of itself, for not imposing taxes upon it.

Our correspondent asks, if a certain amount of money is to be raised in a town or state, by what arithmetical process it can be shown that one half will not have to pay twice as much tax if the other half escapes all taxation? We know of no arithmetical process by which this can be shown. At present, however, everybody who lives either in a town or country pays ground rent, either in the form of rent or purchase money, which latter frequently necessitates the annual payment of interest. This tax is paid by every one, and no one can by any possibility escape it and continue to live in a civilized community.

The single tax men propose not that half, but that all of the community shall continue to pay this tax, but that they shall pay it to the government instead of to private individuals who now improperly appropriate it to their private use. As every one will thus pay taxes, the question of taxation without representation cannot be raised.

In truth, the single tax is not a tax at all in the ordinary sense in which the word is used. It is a just payment by each individual to the community for the use of so much of the common property as he chooses to appropriate for his own personal advantage. He gets a full equivalent and the community obtains a revenue that belongs to it as fully as his wages belong to the laborer. A sufficient public fund having been raised In this fashion, why should "The Farmer's Wife" want people to be taxed at all? Does she think taxation is a good thing?