The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, June 04, 1903, Page 6, Image 6

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MAY 28, 1903.
The Philosophy of Freedom
An Open Forum for Single Taxers
As the farmer went round 'mid his
plants and trees,
He saw the bugs and he saw the bees.
"Oh! the pesky bugs, they'll ruin my
With poisonous dose their work I'l
stop. ' ,
But the bees I'll shelter and keep
alive, '
With best of food and best of hiv
And thus the pesky bugs he slayed
Each swallowed his draught and said
"Here goes,"
Then rolled on his back and turned up
his toes.
The farmer laughed in boisterous gle,
"Requiescat in pace, 01 bugs," said
The farmer toiled from day to day,
He garnered his oats, his wheat, and
bis hay,
With busiest might he toiled each
To catch the shine or to catch the
In the human hive I'm a busy bee,
But a pesky bug, well, that's not me.
His neighbors he saw, . who dwelt
near by, '
Raise never a crop, nor goods supply;
But only a sign did tell this tale.
To everyone, "Here are lots for sale.
And the farmer said, as his ground
he dug,
My neighbor's no bee, he's only a- bus.
In the human hive there are bugs
and bees,
For some must toil while others may
squeeze, .
While some are raising the wheat or
rice, .
Others are raising nought but a price.
While $ome like bees enrich with
their toil,
Others like bugs live only to spoil.
Then the taxer came with the 'sessor's
I'm coming to each to gather my toll,
The man who makes improvements
Must pay the most to support the
But when Improvements there are
We'll place the taxes lightly on.
The farmer stamped, the farmer
: swore,
' Said he, "I'll have this tax fib more.
This taxer ain't worth bread or
' cheese, . ; , .
fie don't know which is bugs Or bees
If he had a farm, the stupid 'plug
He'd poison the beers and feed the
- . bug."
Toronto, Canada.
To drop a man in the middle of the
Atlantic ocean and tell him he is at
liberty to walk ashore, would not be
more bitter irony than to place a man
where all the land is appropriated as
the property of other people and to
tell him he is a free man, at liberty
to work for himself and to enjoy hii
own earnings. Henry George, in Sc
iial Problems.
The remedies offered for existing
Inequalities of wealth, are numerous,
all centering in the cry, "Destroy the
trusts." But. how? By taking -away
their monopolistic power? Or, by
placing them under governmental
lhe first is the single tax method;
the second, is socialistic.
I propose, briefly, to show that the
American workingmen and farmers do
not need any assistance from the na
tional government, in order to be
come independent and prosperous. All
they ask is, for monopoly to get off
their backs. Let justice be done to
all. That is the first step. Let that
experiment be tried; and then see,
if there be an able-bodied, strong,
healthy American citizen so abject as
to ask for any "special privilege" leg
islation for himself or for his class.
There is not a trust or a monopoly
today but owes its very existence to
some special legislative favor, fron
either the national or from the local
governments (which favors are the
chief cause of political corruption), or
else it owes its existence to the ex
clusive possession of exceedingly val
uable land. To destroy all monopolies
resting upon legislative favor is easy.
Repeal the laws which grant them
their favors.
In other words, let the national gov
ernment raise its revenue in some
other way than by placing taxes upon
sugar, steel, Iron, coal, or any other
article or consumption, mere are u
minions or people m these united
States', and a tax of 2 cents unon ev
ery pound of sugar they consume is
quite an unnecessary burden, amount
ing to millions of dollars annually fo:
the sugar trust. The same Is true,
proportionately, or many other trusts.
Nearly every article of consumption
these millions of peonle are usinz
daily is thus taxed, a portion of which
s going to tuC national government as
revenue, and the rest to foster mo
nopoly. Such Industries are nauners.
. . - .. . . ' r
rnvmg Dy taxing the labor or others.
ui tnese taxes upon consumption, tuo
wage-earners and farmers pay by far
tne largest share. Yet, alas, they vote
for Jhe party that upholds them. Let
them but make an attempt to repeal
these tariff taxes, by substituting a
new system of raising the national
revenue, one that would be Just to
all, and there would go forth such a
wail from monopoly and from corrupt
politicians that should make them
known and understood of all men, be
cause or their false cries of patriotism
and their hypocritical solicitude for
tne aear workingmen and farmers.
That same cry went up in England
when "the corn laws" were repealed.
"Stop, stop for heaven's sake," cried
the partakers of the tariff, "youM
throw ' workingmen out of employ
ment. you'H lower wages." But
Cobden knew better, and moreover.
the people or England knew better.
The laws were repealed, and wages
rose; the times became more prosper
ous ror the masses.
our tariff laws all favor class leg
islation. Let justice be done to aU
alike. Let the national revenue bo
raised by a small tax upon the value
of tne land of the nation. Such u
tax would fall heaviest UDon those
monopolies, that exist by virtue ot
tneir exclusive possession of exceed
ingly valuable land, such as mines.
oil wells, railroad. telegraph and tele
phone, gas, street railway, and other
Were the national government to
take possession of these Industries,
such as the coal fields, they must
needs" pay the present owners for
their property, in interest bearing
bonds, so the coal barons would mere
ly exchange one form of wealth fo
anotner lorm of wealth, no ' doubt.
selling their mines out to the govern
ment at a high -valuation, and from
henceforth the people of the United
States would have to be taxed to Day
the interest annually upon those
Donas, while the national government
must perform the work of superin
tending the coal industry. The coal
monopoly would merely be changed to
a coai bona monopoly.
No, the only way to destroy monon-
oly is to tax it out of existence. The
power to tax is the strongest power n;
the hands of the people. Let them
use it; but not abuse it Treat, all
men alike, be they rich or poor. For
If-a man owns land worth $10 per
acre, tax him upon that value only;
if a man owns land worth $30,000 ntr
acre, or a million dollars per acre, ta?
him upon that value onlv: the
would be that millionaires would then
De taxed as high in DroDortion to their
privileges, as are now the small
home-owners and the farmers. The
weight of taxation would then be
snutea upon monopoly, there to re
main. This tax should be so hteh as
to make all monopolies, at all times.
This reform in the system of taxa
tion would lift the entire burden of
taxes from all wealth that is engaged
in producing more wealth, from mer
chandise, stock, machinery, from ev
ery tool of industry, from farm pro
duce, cattle and growing crops.
Monopoly would be destroyed; pro
duction increased, and the share now
going to monopoly (or privilege)
would go to government to defray all
Pudiic expenses.
The subject of taxation is the most
mportant one now before the neonle
one that is likely to arouse this whola
nation as it once did the people of
England in the days of Cobden: and
France, just before the revolution.
This subject has had fresh light
thrown upon it by modern science,
and so this knowledge, when it is ful
ly understood by . the masses, will
serve them to great advantage.
The people must learn that the riirht
and just principle in taxation is not
to tax a man in proportion to his
wealth; but in proportion to his spe
cial privileges. In short, this reform
does not seek to tax any form of
wealth, but to tax privileges.
The selling or rental value of larvi
everywhere Is a social privilege. TMi
value is the only value that is pro
duced bv society, collectively. The
single tax would assess all men it
the same rate upon the value oi their
land, or social privileges.
Those 'holding land of small value
would pay a small tax, while thosi
hoding land of enormous value would
pay a large tax, but no more than
their privileges were worth in the
open market This is Justice. Equal
rights to all and special privileges to
none. This single tax upon privilege
(or monopoly) would raise a revenue
sufficient to meet an expenses of gov
ernment economically administered;
so there would be no need to tax
any form of individual wealth.
Wollaston, Mass.
Editor Independent: I am prepar
ing an article on Pame s views of tho
land question, and I intend to show
that his views were similar to those
held by Henry George.
I shall forward it to you for ex
amination and if it meets with your
approval, will be obliged if you car.
give a place in your valuable paper
Sec'y Paine Memorial Ass'n.
3515 Wallace st, Philadelphia.
(The editors of The Independent do
not profess to be "authorities" on th3
Henry George single tax nhilosonhv.
and do not hold out The Independent
as an organ of tne single taxers. Thev
are trying to get at the truth, and for
that reason have devoted this page t-
the cause an open forum where sin
gle taxers may express their viewe.
The Independent will be clad to ro-
ceive Mr. Elliott's article, Associare
The Natural Tax .
Economic "rent" is "wealth or labor
received in return for the use of
land." One may. himself, use a niece
of land which is advantageo'usly sit
uated, and therefore is so desirable
that others would give something for
its exclusive use. and by that use ho
may obtain the added product which
the favorable location enables him to
produce. The wealth he thus gets in
return for using the land is "rent."
Or, instead of using the land himself,
he may permit someone else to use it
on condition that the person so using
it does ascertain amount of work for
him, or pays him a portion of the
product, in money or in kind. The
labor, or the wealth, the owner re
ceived from the user of that land
would be "rent" When one buvs land
and pays for it, the amount paid is
the "rent" commuted, and if the buyer
does not pay the whole purchase price
at once, but lets some of it stand on
mortgage, the interest, so-called,
which he pays, is really not interest
at all, but "rent." According to Ri-
cardo's law or rent, "the rent of land
is determined by the excess of its
product over that which the same aD-
plication can secure from the least
productive land in use." This applies
to all land, both in the country and
in the city; in fact, the most valuable
land, that which will yield the most
"rent," that is, the largest return
for its use, is city land. Some people
seem to think that the farmers are
the largest land owners . and many
rarmers themselves labor under that
mistake. They seem to think that, if
all other taxes were abolished and
only "rent" taken in taxation, their
burdens would be greatly increased.
But the truth is just the other wav.
for, estimating by "value." bv the
"rent" their land will yield, their
"broad acres" amount to very little
and their tax would be corresponding
ly small. Estimating their land hv
Its value and not by its area, as it
would be estimated in that case, thev
are not large land owners at all, but
very small ones. The most valuable
land is in the largest cities and it is
there that the rent tax would fall most
heavily. . - .
Now, why should all other taxes be
abolished and only "rent" taken in
taxation? The community can have
no rights not possessed by its mem
bers. ir no one man has a right to
do a certain thing, then no number of
men can have that right, for nothing
multiplied even by infinity is still
nothing. No one man has the right
to take another s property bv force:
then no number of men can have that
right Therefore, all taxes which
take from men their rightful property
are wrong and should be at once abol
ished. But "rent" is not rightfully
private property. The right of own.
ershio rests on production. Land a
not produced by men and therefore
cannot be rightfully owned by them.
All persons come Into the world bv
the same warrant and have therefore
the same right to live. No one can
live without using land; therefore,
since the use of land is essential to
life, and all people - have the same
right to life, It follows that their right
to use land must be equal. The valua
of anything justly belongs to the
rightful owner of that thing; therefore
"rent." "wealth or labor received in
return for the use of land," the right
of use being equal, must belong to all
equally and should therefore be taken
by the community to pay thr common
expenses. All other wealth belongs to
individuals, since each person has an
exclusive right to himself and conse
quently to everything he produces by
the exercise of his faculties and the
use of no more than his share of the
land. So long .as he works on land
which will not yield rent his whole
product is justly his; and when he
uses land that does yield rent and
pays that rent to the community, its
rightful owner, all the rest of the
product is justly his. Therefore the
rent-tax is the natural tax, and should
be the only tax, the "single tax."
The rent-tax is paid now. and al
ways has been since land was treated
as private property, and "always will
be while it-continues to be so treated.
but it is not paid to the rightful re
cipient Instead of being paid to the
public, to whom it rightfully belongs,
it is collected by private individuals
and retained by them as their own
property, while the public which per
mits this misappropriation of its nat
ural and rightful revenue, resorts to
all sorts of unjust and burdensome
taxation, the public appropriation of
private property, to get the means to
pay the public expenses.
This unjust and unreasonable coursa
is the direct or Indirect cause of in
voluntary poverty and of the long
train of evils which flow from this
prolific source. "
The private appropriation of rent
engenders speculation in land, the
holding of land wholly or partially
out of use while waiting for its value
to increase. Keeping good productive
land idle, forces men to resort to in
ferior land, with the result that rent
is forced up and wages down; for .
both rent and wages are governed by
the "rent line," , the "line which
bounds land that will yield - rent."
When this, is forced out beyond where
it would normally, "rest, the result: is
an abnormal increase in land values
and a . corresponding decrease in
wages, "wealth or labor receive in re
turn for labor."
On the other hand, the public ap
propriation of "rent" would destroy
land speculation, for there would be
no inducement to hold land for a rise
when that rise was sure to go into
the public treasury. Good land would
then always be within the reach of
all and no man would have to be idle
who wished to work. Wages . would
be raised to jLhe full earnings of labor
and kept - there, - while "rent" wouM
be reduced to normal and kept there.
for no matter how high -it might af
terwards, go, it could never be mora
than the land was worth for use at
that time.
The blessings which would follow
the abolition of our present unjust
system of taxation (if such an un
scientific jumble can be called a sys
tem) with all its related monopolies
and privileges and the adoption of
the single tax, the "natural tax," are
too numerous to mention here; suf
fice is to say that it would abolish the
present industrial slavery, with all
its attendant miseries, and woul.I
make mankind truly free, thus pav
ing the way to the realization of tha
divine ideal of human brotherhood,
not as a divine sentiment merely, but
as a grand practical reality.
Germantown, Pa.
When Thieves Fall Out
Walter Wellman claims to have
discovered a . conspiracy on the part
of Lodge, Quay and Penrose which
First To driye out of the public
service Machen and Beavers, officials
who fell under the displeasure of
Wynne and refused to bow the knee
to his ambition to be the boss of the
postoffice department.
Second To smirch the administra
tion of Charles Emory Smith, former
postmaster general, and thus satisfy
the longings of his political enemies
Quay and Penrose -
Third to involve Perry Heath, for
merly first assistant postmaster gen
eral, and through him, if possible, his
political sponsor, Mark- Hanna, who
is most cordially hated by Lodge and
Fourth To make so much tronhle
for Postmaster General Payne that
he may be driven from office, leaving
Lodge in possession of the field as
President Roosevelt's chief political
adviser and affording an opportun
ity for the promotion of Lodge's man
vnue to the postmaster general
ship, or the appointment of some
other tool or Lodge ir Wynne should
not be regarded,as big enough for tho