Wealth and Want
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Charles B. Fillebrown: A Catechism of Natural Taxation, from Principles of Natural Taxation (1917)

Some years ago when President of the Massachusetts Single Tax League I started a correspondence and series of conferences with a large number of students of political economy including more than 100 professors in the leading colleges and universities of the country. The purpose was to ascertain whether it might be possible to secure agreement of recognized authorities concerning the fundamental economic principles on which the science of taxation must rest. The project met with such cordial approval at the hands of the economists, and proved so interesting and profitable that it finally resulted in a round-table conference at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association held at Madison, Wisconsin, in December 1907.1 The final canvass of opinions showed an overwhelmingly majority agreed upon three propositions stated in the following Catechism, No. 39.2

1. See Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association, 1907, pp. 117-29; also The A B C of Taxation, pp.187-90.
2. Quoted from an introduction to the edition of the Catechism which was published in the National Magazine for November, 1912.

Q60. Do you believe that economic rent ought to furnish a larger proportion of public revenue than it does now?
A. One hundred nineteen professors of political economy have answered "Yes." Eight have answered "No."

Q61. Do you think there would be any injustice in taking by taxation the future increment in the value of land?
A. Fifteen professors of political economy have answered "Yes." Ninety-four have answered "No."

Q62. Would it be wise to take gradually in taxation, say, 1/4, one half, or 3/4 of the future increase in economic rent?
A. One hundred and one professors of political economy have answered "Yes." Twenty-nine have answered "No." ... read the whole article



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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper