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This Tax Makes All Other Taxes Redundant (Part II)

In the Netherlands, the government is trying to combat the housing crisis with more subsidies for first time house buyers. But this will only make prices go up even more. There is a better solution, which would make housing cheaper for everyone: a land value tax. But as long as homeowners are in the majority, no politician dares to burn its fingers on this idea.

Affordable Housing in America. Will efforts to build more and cheaper work?

The financial crisis of 2008-10 illustrated the immense danger of a malfunctioning housing market. According to The Economist, between 2000 and 2007, America’s household debt rose from 104% to 144% of household income, and house prices rose by 50% in real terms. San Francisco and other large metropolitan areas in the U.S. are experiencing rents that represent 40% of the average person’s earnings. Housing is too expensive, which is damaging to the economy and poisoning politics.

Zoning Has Been Weaponized

Low-density housing typically refers to residential areas occupied primarily by single-family homes or buildings with a limited number of dwellings. There is no set definition, but one characteristic of such an area is that the inhabitants start complaining about any housing development that is too… Read More »Zoning Has Been Weaponized

This Tax Makes All Other Taxes Redundant

On a lazy Sunday morning I managed to get my son Miran (9) and his friend Tinus (10), who lives next door to us, to play a game of Monopoly. They were not very enthusiastic at first; they find the game boring and predictable. The player who can build houses first quickly gets ahead in the game. Especially if he reinvests the money he earns in new houses. For the others, it’s hard to catch up. The winner accumulates piles of money, the other players are broke and frustrated. There’s hardly any strategy involved. It’s just a matter of being lucky or unlucky.

The current housing market in the Netherlands looks a lot like a Monopoly game. If you bought a house at the right time, your wealth is growing. If you don’t own a house yet, it is almost impossible to get in on this wealth growth.

Saving Los Angeles

To save itself, Los Angeles must return to its original hair color or, as they say, “its roots.” When my great-great-grandfather landed in Los Angeles in 1890, there were commuter trains. Downtown Los Angeles was an actual center city, not simply a name of one of over 400 neighborhoods. Los Angeles’ functional boundary currently has 400 neighborhoods whose names rarely denote anything more than a feeling from a particular time.

Free Newark Now!

Along with New York City, Newark, New Jersey, possesses one of the best locational advantages of any city in the United States. Founded in 1666 by Connecticut Puritans, the town grew by leaps and bounds; the Industrial Revolution sparked a meteoric increase in population and a multi-sector industrial and commercial base. First, canals and then railroads converged into the city. With a population of 8000 in 1820, people poured in, swelling the city’s population to 367,000 by 1910. 

The civic confidence of Newark was such that city leaders in government and business thought it was time to go big. In the era of bold public development, the Meadowlands of New Jersey (known as Newark Meadows) consisted of 46 square miles of what today we would call wetlands but then were called “wastelands.” 4300 acres lay inside the city limits of Newark, and plans were executed and funded by the city to build a port from the “reclaimed” land.

Capturing the Value and Attention of Our Communities

We subsidize advertising campaigns of multinational corporations. Every time we sit in our cars stuck in traffic on clogged arterial roads and forced to look at an ad for a Big Mac or Starbucks Coffee, we’re looking at an ad subsidized by our tax dollars.

The value of their advertisements is worth ten times what they pay, because of how US streets are designed. While the value of the land we build on is not something people think about, it is something corporations think deeply about and understand.

The Public Finance Effects of the Italian Ghost Buildings Program

Does informality hold back tax progressivity, that is, the capacity to tax the rich at a higher rate than the poor? The optimal (and fair) distribution of the tax burden has long been a key issue in both academic and policy circles.

In a new paper, I study whether reducing informality by tackling tax evasion leads policy makers to increase statutory tax progressivity. I take advantage of the Italian “Ghost Buildings” program, which is a policy that identified buildings not registered in the land registry.

Shared Truth

Apparently, cyberattacks do not only involve computer programming. There is a thing called perception hacking, a name for the kind of disinformation campaign that starts online and seeks to sow distrust and division deeply and widely in a society. In the run up to the… Read More »Shared Truth