Can We Really Own Land?
[An excerpt, "It's Mine. I Own It!"
reprinted from an undated pamphlet,
Simple Talks on Taxation, published by the author]
... No sir! That looks like
gov'ment ownership to me. I want to feel sure that little piece
of land I own, belong to me! And no-one can take it away from
... And if
the government was to take the full rental value every year,
you'd feel that it didn't belong to you any more?
... How could it? It'd be
government property. I'd only be a renter.
you're not a renter now, Eh?
... No sir. I own it.
... So you
don't have to pay anybody anything?
... That's right.
not telling me you don't pay taxes?
... Taxes! I pay plenty taxes!
What're you talking about?
Then you mean that you pay taxes, but you don't have to?
... Sa-ay! Would I pay taxes if I
didn't have to?
What would happen if you didn't?
... Boy! The ol' Sheriff d be down
here and I'd be "sold for taxes"!
thought you said the little piece of land belonged to you and
that no-one could take it away?
... We-l-11. I'm all right as long
as I pay my taxes, then.
you mean is, if you pay your taxes
on the little piece of land and your house, furniture, car and
income, don't you?
... We-1-11. I s'pose so.
... But you
don't think that is Socialistic?
... I don't think it's as
Socialistic as it would be to make me a land renter.
don't think you're any smarter than die Rockefeller Estate, do
... What kind of a crazy question
not crazy. The Rockefellers are renters.
... What-d-you mean?
you know they built Rockefeller Center?
... Did you
know they don't own the land there. Just rent it?
... The hell they do! Is that --
are you sure?
... Look it
up. The land belongs to Columbia University.
... I'll be darned! Put all those
buildings on land they just rent!
works out to be a damn good deal for them. I'll explain it to
you some time. But to get back to your little piece of land.
Rather than just pay land rental, you like having the Assessor
guess how much your house is worth, and you like lying about the
value of your furniture, and you like having your car tax
quadrupled because you bought a new car, and you like making out
your income tax return, and you like forking over a percentage
on everything you buy, and you like to have your family shaken
down for a big governent cut out of what you would otherwise be
able to leave to them?
... You're crazy. I don't like a
damn one of them!
... And you
don't think they're Socialistic. Is that it?
... Sure thing! The Socialists
didn't start them. No Socialism for me!
suppose you were to quit paying them all, and just paid an
annual land rent instead of taxes, that'd be Socialism, Eh?
... It'd be gov'ment ownership,
... No more
than now. Haven't you just said that the ol" Sheriff'd take
over if you didn't pay your taxes? What could be more gover'ment
ownership than that?
... Well, I s'pose so. But I
wouldn't want the gov'ment managing my property.
a big difference between collecting rent and managing property,
but you don't mind their managing your income and your purchases
and your estate. Suppose they didn't stick their shovel into
your affairs -- just collected the land rent - -
... Well, that looks like
Socialism to me. And I'm no Socialist! Oh! Say Bob! I hear they
caught the feller that robbed the First National of Eight
hundred and eighty dollars!
thing. That's within Three dollars of what the government took
from me! They haven't arrested the government yet, though.