The independent. (Lincoln, Neb.) 1902-1907, June 04, 1903, Page 6, Image 6
THE NEBRASKA INDEPENDENT MAY 28, 1903. The Philosophy of Freedom An Open Forum for Single Taxers THE BUGS AND THE BEES. 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 crop, 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 sprayed, 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 he. The farmer toiled from day to day, He garnered his oats, his wheat, and bis hay, With busiest might he toiled each hour To catch the shine or to catch the shower. 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 roll, I'm coming to each to gather my toll, The man who makes improvements great Must pay the most to support the state. But when Improvements there are none, 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." W. A. DOUGLAS, 'B. A. 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. JUSTICE NOT CLASS LEGISLA f TION. 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 control? 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 iranenises. 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 example: 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. unprofitable. 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. JSLIZA STOWE TWITCHELL. Wollaston, Mass. PAINE'S LAND VIEWS. 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 - JAMES B. ELLIOTT, 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 Editor.) 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. EDWARD D. BURLEIGH. Germantown, Pa. When Thieves Fall Out Walter Wellman claims to have discovered a . conspiracy on the part of Lodge, Quay and Penrose which contemplates 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 Quay. 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 place.