The Little Home
[Reprinted from an undated pamphlet, Simple Talks
on Taxation, published by the author]
...Grace, did you get a receipt
for your contribution to the Red Cross?
... No, I'm
... Well, your check will do as
... But I
didn't pay it with a check. I paid cash.
... Hm. Then we can't deduct it.
I'd hate to ask the Red Cross for a receipt at this late date.
since we did pay it, won't the government take your word for it?
... In the eyes of my government,
I am a lying chiseler. They certainly won't take my word for
anything. Another thing, I hope little Grace will be born before
Grace? You mean Richard, don't you?
... I mean little Grace! Want to
bet? She can save us about a hundred dollars if she'll only
arrive before December 31st!
... What particular detail?
that our baby will cost One hundred dollars more on one day,
than he would if he was born on the day before!
... The whole thing is utterly
ridiculous - and tragic, too.
... Yes, tragic. If it wasn't for
the tax system, instead of paying a big rent on this apartment,
you and I would be preparing a nice little home for her, with
plenty of space to move around in.
... How do
... Well, I've got our income tax
report far enough along to find that the government is going to
fine me for working, in the sum of Eighteen hundred and eighty
dollars! Of course Grade - -
course Richard -
... Of course the baby, if she'd
only arrive before New Years, would reduce that by One hundred.
they going to take as much as that?
... They sure are. So the little
home stays in the dream department.
after all, that wouldn't buy us a home.
... Let's see if it wouldn't.
We'll call the tax One thousand, for convenience, we pay another
Four hundred in State and City, and Thirty-six hundred a year
for rent. That's Five thousand out of my Twelve. I don't have to
tell you where the remaining Seven goes, what with living costs,
insurance and so forth. Oh, we save some - damn little though.
... But we
have to pay the rent and the taxes, so why talk of the - what
was it - the Five Thousand dollars?
... Sure we do. That's why I'm
making out this income tax report. But suppose that we could
keep the Five and got a nice location and started to build - -
... On Five
thousand dollars! Why you couldn't get a nice location for five
... Not at present. But, just for
fun, let's suppose we didn't have to buy a location, just lease
on a lot we didn't own!
... It's done all the time. Only
instead of leasing from someone, we'd pay a land tax, or rent.
... I don't
... Well, they're holding the kind
of land we'd want at twelve thousand an acre. Holding it idle
and paying trivial taxes which they can deduct from their
income. But suppose our public officials got some sense and said
"Twelve thousand an acre? - let's see. At five per cent
that works out at Six hundred per acre, a year, plus the tax
you're paying on it now."
mean if a landlord had ten acres he'd have to pay Six thousand
dollars in taxes each year?
... Well, if it was worth One
hundred and twenty thousand dollars, that sounds reasonable.
Many a business man borrows at that rate and is glad of the
... But a
landlord's land might not be paying him anything! A business
could use the money to make more money, as you so often say, but
his land might be idle!
... Properly taxed, it would be
quite expensive to hold it. Yes.
mean he'd have to sell?
... Or use it He'd be wisely
prudent if he sold, though I don't see him getting any Twelve
thousand an acre - fact is, if he held it too long, he'd get
next to nothing for it.
... Because everyone else with
idle land would be selling, but fast! If the government taxed it
to it's full value, and I shouldn't say "taxed," I'd
rather say "collected the full rental of the land."
There'd be no point in holding it if the government took its
couldn't the landlord raise his rent?
... Nope. The government would
just collect that much more from him. There'd be no point in
holding land unless you were using it.
... Do you
mean he'd have to sell?
... For whatever he could get The
sooner, the better.
... And you
mean we could buy cheaper?
... I mean more than that.
I'm getting tired of thinking, but what more do you mean?
... I mean that we could get a
home site without paying out any capital, by just assuming the
payment of the land rental, and use our capital for building.
... And not own the land!
we'd own it! As much as anyone owns land right now. And again,
if our government was smart it wouldn't fine us for building.
... Fine us?
... I said "fine,"
I meant "tax." It's the same thing.
... No tax on the house?
When you put your car at a parking meter, you don't pay more for
a fine expensive car that you do for a "jallopy." So
if you paid the rest of the public for the space yon wanted, why
should it cost you more in taxes, the better house you built
... But with our money, the house
would cost too much anyway.
the land, oil, minerals, fossil fuel, and forests brought the
government all the income it needed, and there was no tax on
building material, contractor's equipment, worker's wages and my
pay, a house could be quite inexpensive.
... I think you're talking
not alone in your thinking, that's why we'll go right on living
in this little apartment.
... Oh, I'm going to bed. I can
feel Richard - -
... You can
feel Gracie. Want to bet?
right, then, Richard.
... I can feel him moving about
better save his kicking until he's of taxable age, and as for
moving, I hope he makes his big move before midnight, December
Thirty-first A hundred dollars is a hundred dollars; Goodnight,
Gracie darling. I'm going to try to do as much of this report as
I can, before midnight Lemme see. DEPENDENTS? Gee; That one'll
have to wait 'til New "Years!