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The Single Tax and What it Would do in New York

By Allan Robinson

HE December number of THE REAL ESTATE MAGAZINE contains an article entitled "The Myth of the Single Tax," by Mr. Charles T. Root of the Root Newspaper Association. While the writer shies at the term "Single Tax," and at the authority of Henry George, what he proposes is nothing more nor less than the Henry George doctrine of land taxation, which is based on the theory that the community creates the land value and should, therefore, absorb it, which doctrine is, for want of a better name, called the Single Tax. Mr. Root's plan is, it is true, a little less drastic than that which some of the followers of Henry George have proposed; but it is a matter of degree only and it makes little difference to the sacrificial dog whether his tail is cut off in front of his hind legs or in front of his fore legs.

Mr. Root says that the aim of his article is to set forth "Why the Single Tax is not a System of Taxation," and he quotes from the shorter catechism (whatever that may be) to prove his contention. Here are three questions and answers from this so-called catechism:

"Q. What is a tax? A. A tax is a compulsory contribution of individual product or the value of such product, for public expenditure.

"Q. What is taxation? A. It is the process of fixing the amount of and collecting such compulsory contributions.

"Q. What is the Single Tax? A. It is not a tax at all. It usually eliminates. the need of any tax."

If Mr. Root had merely confined himself to an essay on the Single Tax I should not have undertaken to answer him, but he goes farther and proposes to apply his revised Single Tax to New York City and in doing so raises such a serious question that a reply is im


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