Vice president of the Council of Georgist Organizations and director and treasurer at The Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, Ted Gwartney has extensive experience implementing land assessment policies all around the world. A former town assessor in two Connecticut locales and assessment commissioner of British Columbia, Canada, Gwartney has made 19 trips to Russia to consult on land valuation during the past 10 years. When communism fell, he was invited to Leningrad to set up the entire financial system, and Estonia, Latvia, has adopted a land value tax.
In his Smart Talk interview, Gwartney also discusses his experiences in China where Sun Yat-Sen, the nationalist leader, was a follower of Henry George. In fact, Taiwan “benefitted from that.” And China “inadvertently” has a quasi-George system: The government basically owns the land which it leases. Recently invited to China by the government, Gwartney explained how a land tax would bring in $2.1 trillion of land rent, permitting the Chinese government to replace all of it current taxes and giving every citizen a $5,000 equivalent.
Gwartney discusses the advantages a Georgist tax system would provide in the USA. Business would prosper since a land tax doesn’t tax productive ability. Average Americans would gain, too, since 65% of people living in the United States do not own property. With a land value tax, their taxes would actually go down. Gwartney discusses his studies which show that it is possible to eliminate income, sales and building taxes and collect revenue solely from land tax. With $17.7 trillion of land value in the USA, there would be enough revenue to repair infrastructure, pay down the national debt, and leave a surplus that could be paid to the citizens as a dividend. No wonder Ted Gwartney says, “Now is the time to do what is right and raise our revenue not from people and production, but to raise it from natural resources and land location.”