For Future Use

Joseph Thompson

[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks on Taxation, published by the author]

... Hey! I think I've got one to stop you land-rental cranks.
You have? Well, shoot.
A big factory knows it's going to get bigger, so it takes on a big piece of land right next to it.
A prudent move.
Yeah. But the land has a high value, so even if they've got no use for it, they gotter pay just as big a tax as if they was using it.
You say it has a high value?
Yeah. Even if it's vacant.
It has a high value because it's in a desirable location?
Sure, but they're on'y holdin' it for later on.
But someone would like to use it, meanwhile, eh?
How could he use it if it was theirs?
They could lease it to him.
Then you people would tax the rent.
Where do you get that?
Why, you fellers are always yellin' "Tax the rent".
Wrong again, boy.
We fellers are always yellin' for publicly collecting the full rental value. It wouldn't make any difference to the public what the big company did. They could re-rent it, sub-lease it.
Then they'd be landlords like you're always kickin' about.
No. You could call the renting out by the company, a stop-loss. As long as the public was getting the full rental, it wouldn't care what the company did with the land.
But they'd be landlords!
No. They'd really only be a collecting agent for the public. They'd just be trading dollars. There'd be nothing in it for them except just a stop-loss.
How do you make that out? Couldn't they hitch up the rent?
No. Because if they were paying the full rental value, they couldn't expect to get more than that, subletting it.