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)
300 TRANSACTIONS OF THE NORTHERN WISCONSIN them? When I came to Wisconsin I footed it from Mil- waukee to Fond du Lac in two days. It was good bye to railroads at Buffalo. Mr. Mott- I would like to say a few words. The paper that was read by Mr. Bright alluding to this land question, and discussing it in some measure, very inadequately pre- sented it. It is a question too large and too profound to be discussed thoroughly and understandingly within the limits of the time that this meeting can afford to devote to it. The idea which he wished to get at was one that was elaborated by Henry George, and the suggestions which have been thrown out by Mr. Roe and others that we would lose our property are not just. The idea is that the government should have the fee simple of all the land in the country, and that whoever occupied any land should pay ground rent upon it, and that his title should be perpetual to him and his assignees forever so long as he chose to pay the rent and put the land to use. No man should be limited to the amount of land, but he should occupy just as much as he was willing to pay rent on. The result of that would be that he would occupy no more land than he could occupy with a profit to himself, so that when I or any other poor man wanted a portion of this land, we could get it. If he could afford to occupy it remuneratively he would allow me to take my little section of it for the support of myself and family. That is the idea upon which that great theory of land is based. I am not standing up to advocate or con demn it. The idea that this system would increase the num- ber of tax gatherers is fallacious. It would take no more tax gatherers to collect the tax on each city lot in the city of Neenah than it does under the present system. The only question which arises is, could the land titles be affected without affecting the public at large. Mr. Roe alluded to the fact that there was great pauperism and distress in the old countries, and he seemed to convey the idea that that arose partly out of the free trade system. I apprehend that free trade had nothing to do with it. I apprehend that the landlord system of Great Britain and Ireland has more to do with it than free trade, and the prodigality and profligacy
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