Jeff Smith has written a remarkable monologue, with Thomas Paine telling his life story and the story of his times (the times that tried men's souls). I have converted this into a video and did my best to play the role of Paine as he might have spoken. So, take a listen, provide any comments and forward the link onto others.

New Brunswick has lowered the taxes on the working poor. It reduced the tax rate on the lowest tax bracket in favour of a carbon tax. Last week, New Brunswick announced that it would trim personal income taxes, returning some of its carbon revenue to taxpayers.

Maria Lily Shaw, an economist at the Montreal Economic Institute, said New Brunswick’s plan to cut taxes is “partially positive” but that it falls short of being revenue neutral. Still, Ms. Shaw said, the province is headed in the right direction, by reducing other taxes as carbon revenue increases.

by Frank de Jong

“No army can stop an idea whose time has come” — Victor Hugo

Hugo was referring to the French Revolution, but his quote also nails the unstoppable logic of carbon pricing. Recently, the Supreme Court of Canada wrote, “Climate change is a real and existential threat to the entire world, and evidence shows a price on pollution is a critical element to addressing it.”

“Nature would prefer not to sell herself, but if forced to it by growth, would at least like to divide equally among her children the revenue from the forced sale of her previous gifts.” — Herman Daly

Four transformative ideas are now putting economic theology through its paces: Land Value Taxation (LVT), Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), Universal Basic Income (UBI), and Bitcoin (BTC).

Let’s examine why...

“We continue to privatize the essence of our humanity. Those of us who claim to own land and therefore claim the rents that are produced in our societies are actually enacting the role of slavery. We are appropriating other people’s humanity.”

Part I of Fred Harrison's latest work. Humans became a hugely successful species because we generated rent and shared it. But now the rent is being appropriated and misused by a minority impoverishing the majority and destroying nature.

The cost of housing is rising so much faster than wages that buyers increasingly rely on family wealth

In many of the world’s largest and most expensive cities, young people find themselves in a strange predicament. Although their educational credentials and employment prospects put them in the “middle-class” category, many have virtually no chance of ever making it on to the property ladder.

Originally projected to see budgetary gains this year, in the months since COVID-19 began ravaging the northeast — and the rest of the world — Philadelphia’s financial foundations have all but crumbled.


Thomas Paine

If you know something about Basic Income, you may be aware that one of the first proposals for a Basic Income came from Thomas Paine, hero of the American and French revolutions. In 1797, after a stint in a French prison, Paine wrote the pamphlet Agrarian Justice, which sets out an argument for taxing land and distributing the proceeds among the population at large as compensation for landlessness.

In preparation for future challenges like COVID-19, we should take steps to address the root causes of low societal resilience. An important such step is a move to Land Value Taxation. This financial modification would turn the tax structure into a policy tool to boost community resilience without additional taxation or micromanaging legislation.

Land Value Taxation

An excellent article in Vancouver Sun (Sat. Dec. 7, 2019) 'Vancouver property taxes fuel inequality, speculation' by Alex Hemingway. In our previous correspondence with Alex (Apr. 5, 2018), he says, "I agree with you that taxing land value is appropriate more so than (and perhaps even to the exclusion of) taxing buildings and improvements"

Some economists are reconsidering their aversion to levies on large fortunes:

The Economist, Oct 3rd 2019


In 1879, a political economist argued that wealth derived from land value belonged to the American public. Today, economists are reviving interest in his ideas as a way to combat wealth disparities.

Every citizen has a right to a Basic Income, a right to their share of the surplus wealth produced by their local economy.

But Basic Income plans should be funded out of unearned income, NOT earned income. People with jobs should NOT be taxed to pay for people without jobs.

About 30% of the GDP in every jurisdiction is economic rent, variously called the economic surplus, super profits, royalties, capital gains, unearned income, monopoly profits, or profits without a corresponding cost of production.

Don't you wonder why jobs are taxed, but many people get rich by collecting unearned income, which is taxed little or not at all?

There are two income streams:
“earned income” from jobs, investments, and businesses, and
“unearned income” primarily from monopoly ownership of land or resources.

Economists call unearned income “economic rent”, defined as income not subject to competition, or revenue without a corresponding cost of production.

These days most Davos types get rich through stock option buy backs and then avoid taxes through offshore tax havens, shell companies, equity swaps, shell trust funds and real estate borrowing. To reduce the obscene wealth gap plus boost the economy, governments should finance programs by collecting unearned income (economic rent) in lieu of taxing jobs.