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Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association / Transactions of the Northern Wisconsin Agricultural and Mechanical Association, including a full report of the industrial convention held at Neenah, Wisconsin, February, 1886. Together with proceedings of the Association for 1884, to January 1, '86
Vol. XI (1886)

Bright, C. M.
Taxation,   pp. 273-306 PDF (6.8 MB)

Page 288

Why should a city business lot, because of its location, be
worth to its owner $20,000, and another lot of the same
size, but lying a few blocks away, be worth to its owner but
$500? one man having done as much as the other to give
value to the property of the city?
Why should a vacant city lot, around which thousands of
people have settled and built up, grow to have a great value,
and that value belong to the man who has done nothing but
hold on to the title, instead of to all the people who have
been the cause of its increase in value?
Why should one man and his descendants forever be com-
pelled to pay another maD and his descendants forever for
the right to use a portion of the earth?
This ground rent which has been suggested, which would
take the place of every other species of tax, would be easy
of collection. The present machinery for collecting direct
tax could be simplified, and made to serve. There would
be no frauds, no lying about property, no smuggling, no
bribing custom house officials, no moonlight distilleries, no
government spies - just a simple, business-like collection of
the people's dues by the people's agents. How it would
simplify the question of land tenures. How it would relieve
people from trouble growing out of titles. What an effect
it would have upon the courts, and the lawyers! Some say
it would be revolutionary. Well, a dose of physic is revo-
lutionary; but it is administered sometimes with a purpose.
The body politic is in a condition just now when a revolu-
tionary dose is needed. It is afflicted with a load it needs to
be rid of, and the sooner it is relieved, the sooner it will be
on the road to perfect health.
Having gone so far in relieving the people of the burdens
they bear, go enough farther to make the government the
owner of all railroad and telegraph lines, and the express
business. These properties could be purchased at an ap-
praised value, less what they have received in local aid and
government grants of land. In such a transaction watered
stocks would find their level. Now these monopolies run
-the government in their own interests. They have more
,representatives in the two houses of congress and in the

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