To Piketty or not to Piketty? Michael Kinsley and the Echoes of Henry George
Center for the Study of Economics - Company Message
RSS Follow Become a Fan

Delivered by FeedBurner


Recent Posts

LVT in Los Angeles? Op-Ed says go for it.
Welcome to the Zany World of NYC's Property Tax
Land Value Taxation in Jamaica: Now More Than Ever
Part 1, Land Value Taxation: Politics, Persuasion, and Practicality - A How-To
2016: Another Year of Advances and Retrenchment

Most Popular Posts

Noted UK Think Tank: Tax Land Values
Eliminating the property tax? It must not happen, but we’ll see what happens.
Altoona, PA: City tax wholly on land values = normality
Land Value Tax in Britain: Progress While the Rear Guard Digs In
Dr. Herbert Barry's Proposal to Really Reassess Allegheny County

Categories

Act 47
Affordable Housing
Africa
Agricultural Policy
Allegheny County
ALTER
Altoona
Assessment
Australia
Australian Capital Territory
Baltimore
Berkshire
California
Canberra
Clairton
Connecticut
Connecticut General Assembly
Current News Item
de Blasio
Economic Development
Economic Policy
Economic Rent
Economist
Ed Vargas
Education
EPA
Federal Tax Policy
Fiscal Policy and Taxes
Frederick
Free Markets
Gentrification
George Osborne
Global Taxation
Harrisburg
Hartford
Healthy Communities
Housing
Housing Policy
Hurricane Sandy
India
Ireland
Jamaica
Jeffrey Berger
Jimmy Tayoun
Justin Skariah
Kenyatta Johnson
Lancaster
Land Policy
Land Value Tax
Lanesborough
Larry Deutsch
Law and the Constitution
Legislation
Len Fasano
Liberal Democrats
Local Government
Los Angeles
Maria Quinones-Sanchez
Martin Looney
Maryland
Massachusetts
Matt Ritter
Matthew Ritter
Mayor Rick Gray
Michael Kinsley
Michigan
Millbourne
Model Legislation
Monroe County
Montreal
Moonachie
Namibia
National Tax Policy
New Jersey
New London
New York City
NY
Oregon
Parking and Transportation
Patricia Dillon
Pennsylvania
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Portland
Property Assessment
Property Tax Reform
Public Health
Public Opinion
Public Resources
Public Works
Regional Tax Base Sharing
Regionalism
Regressive
Rhode Island
Rochester
Roland Lemar
Sales Taxes
Scranton
Senator Jan Malik
Sin Taxes
Smart Growth
Soda Tax
Taiwan
Tax Exemption and Abatment
Thomas Piketty
Titusville
Tom Kramer
Transportation Funding
Transportation Policy
Uncategorized
United Kingdom
Urban Blight
Urban Rejuvenation
Urban Tax Policy
Vince Cable
Wage and Income Taxes
Wales
Wealth
Wilson Goode Jr.
powered by

Incentive Taxation

To Piketty or not to Piketty? Michael Kinsley and the Echoes of Henry George
















Kinsley, Piketty and Henry

Michael Kinsley has had a long and distinguished career writing about politics and sometimes economics from the left-center perspective. UrbanTools has noticed that for decades he often prefaces an essay or column with " my favorite economist, the 19th-century American Henry George, and his best-selling book, Progress and Poverty (1879)." Well, we like Henry George too, so it's always nice to see how Kinsley uses Henry George situationally.

In this month's Vanity Fair – oh the irony – Kinsley tackles Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. We need not go into Piketty here, but the basic takeaways are the left thinks they found a new liberator, and the right thinks they found some mistakes in his spreadsheets, behind which hides a French Leninist in waiting.

Both sides are mostly wrong of course but Kinsley gives it a good shot by using back of the napkin calculations using US figures.

Kinsley agrees with Piketty that his tax on massive global wealth would be pretty impossible/utopian to achieve, especially because as Piketty acknowledges it's very hard to get at.  Why? Because most of it is capital, most of which still zips around the world across borders and under mattresses.  "Only the little people pay taxes", said a very little person once.

So Mr. Kinsley concludes Piketty has not quite an impossible dream but an "improbable" one. Yet the essay starts out with an encomium to Henry George, his "favorite economist" who years before financial globalization and mobile capital, discovered a resource for the world that cannot be hidden and cannot be avoided. 

Land values do not exist just in the dirt. They are the basis for most of the great fortunes anywhere and anytime. They metastasize into grants of monopoly privilege and legal rent seeking, the better to make them grow. 

The reason many many people cannot afford to live decently? Their paltry wage and sales taxes pay for government and debt, while the global wealthy shower money on cities like New York, London and Moscow by putting it into real estate.

Mr. Piketty does not promote a pipe dream, but he would do well to search for the root of the problem and start there. If Joseph Stiglitz, Milton Friedman, and the Altoona Pennsylvania city Council can do it so can he. 

We look forward to the day when Michael Kinsley understands he is not alone in his search for true economic justice using lessons of classical political economy .  Perhaps there is room for both Vanity Fair and Progress and Poverty?


0 Comments to To Piketty or not to Piketty? Michael Kinsley and the Echoes of Henry George :

Comments RSS

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Website:
Comment:
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment