End Property Tax. It isn't property if you have to keep paying for it.
Imagine growing up as an Aztec. Eighteen times a year, there were feasts or holidays, and in each of them, humans were sacrificed. This was normal and to do otherwise was to cause great calamity. We currently look at this and wonder why these people didn't question this practice, but we don't realize, they grew up seeing this, it was normal to them and they didn't see any other options. The same is true with property tax, sure, it may not be as barbaric, but it does harm while being seen as the only option for protecting the people from unknown harm.
There's a story about a great famine in Egypt that people knew was going to follow several years of great plenty. What did the government do? It took a portion of the people's food from them and stored it and when the famine came, the government sold it back to the people. After a couple years, the people started trading their livestock and finally their property to the government in order to get enough food to survive. Interestingly, the priestly class was exempt from this and were fed by the government. When the famine was over, all Egyptian citizens were given enough grain to plant a crop and were to pay their Pharaoh 20% of their crops from that time on.
Unlike most other taxes, that tax people when they earn money or purchase something, property taxes continue to charge for the privilege of “owning” something. When you buy, say a book, you expect to pay whatever taxes on it and then be able to read that book and store it on the shelf, not for years, but for generations without having to pay for it again and again. Doing anything else wouldn't actually be considered ownership.
During the Great Recession, people that owned, or were purchasing property, had to continue paying taxes on that property. While the price of the property may have dropped precipitously, tax assessors often would not reassess the property, because doing so would drop how much tax was garnered. People were losing their houses because they couldn't pay the taxes on it. When you are earning very little, any overhead is a great and often insurmountable obstacle. It is true, that many people were able to continue paying their taxes, but often not those that were the working poor, retired, underemployed, etc.
In many governments, it is assumed that the government owns everything. These countries have long histories based in feudalism where the lord was a vassal to others, paying them in produce and soldiers and taking from those below him. The serfs, while not considered slaves, had to pay large portions of their produce to their lord, serve in his armies, and were often required to get special permission to leave the lord's lands and any refusal was met with quick “justice”. The serf's responsibility to provide produce or pay taxes was often based on a set amount. Percentages were not considered appropriate because serfs my prove lazy or there might not be enough garnered during hard times. Thus, the lords and their armies were often well fed, while those doing the real work might be left starving.
Governments have fixed or growing expenses, that rarely are trimmed. It is easier to add more government then to reduce it. People rely on government for jobs, food, healthcare, recreation, education, transportation and many other important parts of their lives. This leaves little room for government to reduce spending when times are tough. In fact, government workers often get pay raises when taxpayers lose their jobs. If government was only payed for by income taxes, government would have to tighten their belts when taxpayers earned less. The same is true of sales/VAT taxes and import/export duties. People that aren't earning, aren't buying. When times are tough, and the government is the Great Provider, people expect the government to pay for things like food and housing. Thus governments need taxes that continue to earn, even in bad times. Thus there is property tax.
Those Aztecs, that lived under an oppressive and deadly system, didn't question it. The Egyptians that sold themselves into servitude thought there was no other option. What if those ancient Egyptians were more self-reliant? What if they prepared for bad times and stored food or set up trade routes so that they could sell during the years of plenty and buy during the years of famine? What if they gave their government an ultimatum, stating that their government would not be able to stand without their lives? Why be beggars to others that rely on your support? Government should be there to do what people can't do, not there to take from them so they can't do.
Regressive taxes are bad for the prosperity of the people and are often due to the idea that government is there to provide them with all necessary things. Government is not a god to whom we must sacrifice, to prevent great calamity. People should be responsible for their own lives, and success, and property. Taking from one and giving to another breeds animosity and prevents generosity. End Property Tax, End Eternal Rent.
Writes about politics from a Conservative Libertarian viewpoint. While pushing for a government that is Fiscally Conservative and Socially Liberal, he personally appreciates the Socially Conservative lifestyle.
Copyright R. A. Welkin