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Land Board and zealously watches out for the interest of

the schools. In addition to the income from State Lands,
the School Department of the State also receives one-half
the money derived by the United States Government
from royalties of mineral land, which brings to the school
children an additional $953,452.

On our way to the Henry George Congress at San Fran-
cisco in September, it is well worth while to tarry a little
longer in Cheyenne. If you like canned fruits, bring them
with you, for you will surely be soaked if you attempt to
buy any in Cheyenne. I found stores asking forty cents
for a number 2J^ can of Del Monte peaches that were
selling in San Francisco at the same time, for twenty cents
or less a can, although the most expensive shipping rate is
not over four cents per can.

One attractive feature of the Frontier Days' Celebra-
tion is the band of Rosebud Indians who perform at the
park. During part of the day and evening, in full war
regalia, feathers, paint and the like, accompanied by the
Indian tom-tom beaters, they indulge in war dances about
the streets of the town. These Indians, from the little
babies up to the old men and women, enjoy the events
and their part in them, as much as the white man. While
they are really, truly Indians, and present an aspect that
would fill any boy or girl, from east or west, with a terrify-
ing delight, yet, today they are men and women of peace.
The members of this tribe are all Catholics and their good,
old parish priest accompanied them to Cheyenne. On
Sunday, the chief led the entire tribe, young and old, men
and women, to early mass at the Catholic Cathedral, where
they bowed in humble adoration of the white man's God.

Be very careful in Cheyenne in butcher shops and restau-
rants not to order mutton chops, because an antagonism
may easily develop against you. The bitterness of the wars
between the sheep and cattle men has not yet passed by.
The cattlemen of the early days, and even very late days,
regarded the open range as their exclusive possession.
Many a sheep man has disappeared, or his band of sheep
been slaughtered on the plains, by so-called outlaws. Even
settlers who built homes and erected fences were regarded
as enemies. A wire fence was abomination. Cattle com-
panies posted notices claiming hundreds of square miles,
extending from mountain range to mountain range and
river to river. Woe betide anyone who dared to intrude.
Settlers on Government land were even hung to the nearest
tree, when they could not be driven from the land. It is
claimed today that the cattle and sheep men work in har-
mony. Stock men find that they get better results by im-
proved methods of handling cattle, instead of allowing
them to roam over the open range. Sheep men in Wyom-
ing have formed numerous mutual organizations which,
especially in the southwestern part of the State, have been
buying very large tracts of grant land from the Union
Pacific Railroad. By this means they get the free use of the
even number sections, which are Government lands. The
Railroad company sells them only the surface rights, retain-
ing for itself all coal and other mineral rights.



The development of cattle and sheep raising, not only
in Wyoming, but throughout the West, well illustrates
Henry George's refutation of the Malthusian Doctrine-
Wholesale buyers of cattle and sheep, told me that thirty
years ago a lamb $y<i to 5 months old would be called heavy
if it weighed sixty-five pounds. Today at the same age, a
lamb will weigh from eighty-five to ninety pounds. In
addition, there is a saving of ewes, twenty-five to forty
per cent, greater than forty years ago, and farmers buying
old sheep will get one or two more years of breeding off
them. This is accomplished through better care, better
feed and improved breeding. Likewise, cattle four months
old today weigh the same as at eight months, thirty years
ago. Also, hogs, where formerly they could save but fifty
to sixty per cent, of a litter, now they save ninety-five
per cent.

More than thirty years ago the Legislature of Wyoming,
in order to encourage the production of beet sugar, exempted
from taxation all property' employed in the production
of beets and manufacture of beet sugar in that State for
ten year periods. In addition, there is a section in the
Constitution of the State, which provides that manu-
factured goods, while in the possession of the manufacturer,
shall be assessed at the value of the raw material used in
the manufacturing process. This applies to all manufac-
turers, and generally results in an assessment equal to
about ten per cent, of the market value of the goods.

While Wyoming possesses few mines of precious metals,
it is wonderfully rich in basic metals and coal and oil. Fortu-
nately, the 1920 Federal Coal and Oil Land Leasing Bill
withdrew from entry all the then remaining coal and oil
land. Elsewhere I have told of the State School Depart-
ment receiving from the Federal Government nearly one
million dollars annually, as its share of the Government
royalty under these federal leases. However, the iron ore
and other base as well as precious metals, are still subject
to the filing of mining claims and patenting. Practically
all the known areas containing these ores, throughout the
State, now have some speculative hog sitting upon them,
and demanding from $500 to $500,000 for each claim of
twenty-one acres or less.

The Colorado Fuel and Iron Works gets all its iron ore
from Wyoming, at the Sunrise Mine, situated in Platte
County, about a hundred miles north of Cheyenne. At this
place that Company owns an entire mountain of almost
pure hematite ore. It is said that with some five hundred
miners and laborers, working in three eight hour shifts
each day, from ten claims it produces, with steam shovels,
some sLx hundred thousand tons of ore annually, which is
hauled by railroad nearly four hundred miles to Pueblo,
Colorado, where it is used in producing steel. This Sunrise
Mine is among the twenty largest iron mines in America.
Its ore is said to be valued at $2.50 per ton. I wrote the
Assessor seeking to find out the assessed value of this prop-
em-, and other information, but got no reply. The records
of the land office show that Charles A. Gurnsey filed on

most of this land, and had it patented, later selling it to the
Colorado Fuel and Iron Works.

This is the only big iron mine in Wyoming, and in fact,
west of the Missouri River. Yet, the iron ore resources of
Wyoming are almost limitless. If it were not for the United
States Mining Claims and Patenting Laws, permitting
speculators to grab them, these resources would all be open
to development.

Fortunately for Wyoming, fully 6 per cent, of the area
of the State was embraced within the sections of land
granted to the common schools. I have already referred
to the famous school section in the center of the Salt Creek
Oil Dome. The oil content of that section is appraised at
not less than $100,000,000, so that the 65 per cent, royalty
oil will ultimately bring to the Permanent School Fund
$65,000,000, the income of which will be used for the educa-
tion of the school children. Approximately 70 per cent,
of the area of the State is either Federal Public Land, or
else land transferred to homesteaders and other claimants,
in which the Government has reserved all mineral rights.

Under the Federal Act of 1920, mineral leases are awarded
by the Government to the highest bidders. Since the pass-
age of this Act the Federal Government has received from
mineral lessees, in Wyoming, up to November 1, 1928, a
total of $48,748,811. From all remaining States of the
Union, the total receipts of the Government from similar
sources, for the same period, amounted to but $20,000,000.
The Federal Law provides that 37^ per cent, of the
receipts from these mineral leases be returned directly to
the State from which they originated, and that all but
10 per cent, of the remainder be expended on the construc-
tion of new irrigation projects in the western arid states.
These figures will give the reader a slight idea of the wonder-
ful mineral wealth of Wyoming, which is hard to vision,
as there is comparatively little development.

Wyoming is a State that deserves the careful attention
of Single Taxers, as we may soon see developed, within
this area, State and Local Governments which receive their
entire revenue from the rental value of the natural resources
of the country'. Thus it will be possible to exempt industry
from taxation. The constitution and laws of Wyoming,
now provide for the exemption from taxation, not only all
public property, but household effects for each family
to the value of $100; property of all honorably discharged
veterans of the Civil War to an assessed amount of $2,000;
"Lands with buildings thereon used for schools, orphan
asylums, hospitals and lodge rooms of secret, benevolent
and charitable societies, so long as they are not used for
private profit;" and all mortgages. So, there is a little
sanity in Wyoming, even if they make the mistake of
exempting lands as well as improvements. Merchants are
assessed at the average value of the property which they
possess during the year. Manufacturers are assessed at a
similar average value, except that the value "shall be
estimated upon the material only entering into the com-
bination for manufacturing." Another wise provision in



the Tax Laws of Wyoming is that every other private
interest in land, whether State or Government land, a
homestead or mining claim, must be assessed at its actual
value. Otherwise, the Tax Laws are as foolish, in attempt-
ing to tax industry and enterprise, as the laws of any State.


Another View of the

Snowden Budget

WE were taught in the Army that a report by an officer
should begin with his conclusion! In case it is not
self proving his arguments and evidence are to be then
stated for the consideration of his superior should time
allow. This seems to apply to our Georgist endless war
on the Economic front; and here we are! The Henry
George folk have got nothing in the first British all-Labor
Budget, and for one this writer has never been better con-
tented with nothing. That is my conclusion. Now for the
facts. The Edinburgh Henry George International Con-
ference of 1929 had just over two hundred more or less
intelligent and cordial messages from Members of Parlia-
ment and about 15 from members of the Government.
This is a fine result, but it must be borne in mind that for
each in each category there were two so hostile that even
formal sympathy without obligation would not be shown.
That is the bouquet which we present to the Chancellor,
prima facie; he is not the master of Parliament, but its
agent, and has (with the Cabinet) to preserve its confi-
dence to live. His policy then must be such as to attract
at least one and if possible two of the four hundred we are
not able to influence, and even to use them to break the
House of Lords, the "realtors," and the social code of the

What then were his alternatives? For the Georgist is
not the only pebble on the beach! We may dismiss the
dreamers of the "Land Nationalization School" (though
the Cabinet and the Liberal Shadow Cabinet swarm with
them) when the Russian Government can make the State
farms pay their way, and when the British Wholesale
Co-operative Societies can make their farms pay their
way, even within the closed market of their organization
in which no bad debt is conceivable, it will be practical
politics to discuss State purchase of farm lands and minerals,
with all the improvements connected therewith, for agri-
culture and mining directed by Civil Service clerks in
offices or talented local people with a distaste for soiled
hands. There are three "plumb crazy" proposals which
Snowden could have incorporated in his Budget with the
certainty of cordial acceptance by a large majority of the
Commons and only a decent show of resistance by the
Lords. They are: (1) a more or less complete confiscation
of all future increases in land value, leaving all values in
present hand up to the date when the Valuation should be
completed. The Lloyd George Valuation of 1909 10, which

was so orientated has never been completed yet, and hav-
ing been shot through with judicial decisions (of grass
being or not being site value) it can never be finished.

The German Weimar Constitution of 1919 was said to
have provided for such a betterment tax which also has
never been introduced even when the currency inflation
produced an identical site value inflation which would
have protected all holders of mark notes had the prac-
tical German mind been able to apply its own Statute.
Only a sound Georgist valuation in ANHALT has been
repealed to make way for such a Reich Bill.

Snowden could have proposed this and did not. Or
(2) he could have been assured of carrying a proposal to
charge local betterment on frontagers, especially for motor
roads paid for by taxes on transport (on cost of living for
all). This of course would ignore the benefit accruing
at terminal points, and in many cases imposes a levy at
an arbitrary rate on frontagers for giving a saleable value
to property they do not wish to sell. A fair thing as a
national tax, but not as personal. Just as the Supreme
Court of Buenos Aires rejected such a law for the CAR-
RETERA to La PLATA on the ground of vagueness in
definition of the area of benefit, it is certain that British
Courts would have disallowed this plausible proposal,
which would have been sure of enactment. But it is not
in the Budget. Nor is (3) in any way indicated, though
it is the most popular dead end side track for the Georgist
movement. A national land value tax exempting all land
used for agriculture, or alternatively to fall on "build-
ing site" values agreeably to the Churchill-Chamberlain
law which remits all local taxes on land classified as agricul-
tural. The uniting thought in these three laws is to tax-
land more or less according to the use made of it; which
in the hands of lawyers has made the wholesome rebus sic
stantibus maxim into an engine of unparalleled oppression
of those who use land in any way, for the relief of speculators
and devastators. But Snowden has not only withstood
these partisans (who form a reckless majority) but has
harnessed them to the car of the Single Tax, taking the
first and essential step.

A valuation bill is proposed, in the most general terms.
It will include all the land of the country, and be of such
a nature that the hopelessly impractical Lloyd George
valuation cannot be incorporated or adopted in it. (By im-
practical I mean that the 1910 Valuation is not capable
of being shown in figures or colors on a public site value
map as in Denmark; for like adjacent properties they have
different site values according to the charges and condi-
tions of tenure; and are official secrets). If the Bill is
opposed, or mutilated or rejected by the Lords, it will be
incorporated in the 1931 Budget and forced through even
at the sacrifice of all other plans. It does not contain any
provision for any raising of money; following strictly the
precedent of the first Danish trial Valuation, still the best
as the first in Europe. If it did, a majority of the Commons
today would almost certainly provide for the exemption



of urban and rural land called "agricultural" from any
national tax; it is for Georgists so to rouse public opinion
on the need of cheap land for food production that this
danger will pass away. Provision for a local tax (Rate)
on land value for the part or all of all local revenues would
stand to reduce us to the level of Canada, New Zealand,
or South Africa, with a fairly good municipal tax code
and bitter Protection in national affairs. In this Snowden
could bid for unanimous support from Protectionists who
have no reason to love landowners, especially in urban
areas. His feet are set about with snares, and any departure
from Georgism would give him much more immediate
credit than the rigid and narrow step now proposed. The
valuation once made and published will place in our hands
figures applicable with deadly effect in every locality it
is for Georgists to use them and to make public opinion
which even without a just P. R. system in electing the
House of Commons will ensure the next step. In Denmark
this was a small national tax in substitution of (not in
addition to) the other taxes; and a small compulsory local
tax with incomplete further optional powers for municipal
authorities. Thus we can look forward to a long struggle
marked with regular small advances if Denmark is a
criterion. The British Empire rule to concentrate on
municipal reform would probably be intolerable to the
Free Trade Chancellor.

In concluding, a few words on personalities may be of
service. The Premier has been a sympathiser with us, but
considers he has gone on to greater wisdom. It is not
expedient to quote his past words as his back is towards
us. His chosen chief helper is Mr. J. H. Thomas, the king
of "good mixers" and the chief exponent of la politique
de la, pourboire, that strange British quality by which
skilled and honorable railwaymen seek a tip in addition to
wages for service. The Chancellor has been our bitter foe
but comes nearer to us continually; his record too should
never be quoted, as his face is to us, and his pace rapid;
if he is still far away. Mr. Lloyd George is quite definitely
in favor of our objects, but does not accept our methods
boasting that he has never read anything by Henry-
George ; and would never sacrifice a follower who stipulated
against Georgism. This weakness and the power of enthu-
siasm over quite trivial side issues are a grave danger to
him. \Ve cannot count on any help from him. but he is
capable of being of the greatest use if someone could only
induce him to read "Progress and Poverty." A rudder-
less racer. A formidable figure is Winston Churchill, the
half New Yorker. As Snowden said, the taxation of land
value is the only principle to which Mr. Churchill has been
ever faithful in his professions in a most varied career,
though indeed his transport fuel tax in relief of charges on
agricultural land is his worst blow to our policy. Even he
may come off the fence on our side and any Cabinet
would be glad of his support for as long as it suited him to
be loyal.

None of these great forces have commented one word

on the Valuation proposals, in strong contrast to the inde-
pendent Labor Party which asks "drastically increased
taxation of large incomes; increases in the scale of death
duties to the full extent of 100% on estates over a certain
amount; the appropriation to public funds of the full site
value increment of urban and publicly developed land;
and the preparation and provision of machinery to facili-
tate at an early date the public ownership of all land."
This very naturally was associated with the usual enthu-
siasm for contraception including immunity for abortion-
ists if skilled and qualified, on the suggestion of a qualified
medical delegate. To this sort of thing Snowden might
have surrendered with the assurance of a good Press and
batteries of loud speakers. Never was I more content to
get, so far, nothing. M. J. STEWART.

Pyramiding Land Values

The following address was delivered by James R. Brown ,
Friday, June 27, before the League for Industrial Democ-
racy, at Tamiment, Forest Park, near Stroudsburg, Pa.
Mr. Brown appeared before the League at their Summer
conference by invitation, and the title of the address was
suggested by the committee who invited him. The League
has headquarters in this city, at 112 East 19th Street,
and among the members and officers of the League
are John Dewey, Rev. John Haynes Holmes and Prof.

A BETTER title for this address of mine would be
** How Land Values Pyramid and Why They Pyramid,
and what is the force that keeps shoving them up and up
beyond the clouds, as it were.

I know of no better example, I know of no better illus-
tration, than that of Manhattan Island. The assessed
value of the land on Manhattan Island today is over
$5,000,000,000. This includes the ordinary building lots
and land either in lots or plots owned by corporations,
but does not include a great deal of our most valuable
land, water fronts owned by the city, nor any franchise
values, which are after all, in the last analysis, nothing
but land values. Nor for that matter does the assessed
value come anywhere near the selling price or the asking
value of land, and the asking price of land is, after all, the
embargo on production.

A little while ago a plot was sold on Seventh Avenue for
$7,000,000. This same plot was assessed at $2,500,000 and
it would not surprise me, if we could get at the exact facts,
to discover that the selling price of Manhattan Island
alone would amount to $10,000,000,000.

I want to make two or three statements that to the
ordinary assessor will be most astonishing, and the pseudo-
economist could hardly understand. One statement is
that the assessed value of land pays no taxes whatever
and is the greatest liability carried by production.

The selling price of land is not wealth, nor does it rep-
resent wealth, and when the selling price goes up, it does
not mean that there is any increase of wealth. It simply



means that the earth owners are able to charge the earth
users more for the privilege of using the earth.

What the earth owners gain, the earth users lose. To the
earth owners it is an asset, but to the earth users it is a

It is a bond or a first lien on production without justi-
fication in business, justice or science, and due entirely
to our system of taxation that fails to collect public value
for public use.

The amount we fail to collect is capitalized into selling
price and it becomes a very grievious burden to labor and

To understand what this means in the economic world,
let us go back to the first purchase of Manhattan Island
by Peter Minuit about three hundred years ago from the
Indians at a price of $24.

Manhattan Island is twenty-one square miles in area;
the latest and best information is that the Lord made it
and gave it to the race, free of charge. We must admit
though, that there is quite a large number of us very busy
trying to correct that oversight and apparently with great
success, for an acre on Manhattan Island will bring in the
open market $40,000,000, and this acre did not cost one
cent to produce. There is no production cost in land. It
is well for us to make a very careful note of that fact.

It is interesting to reflect how white men deal with the
red man, the black man, the pink man or the yellow man.
When the poor guileless native meets with the white man,
that is his finish. I often think how fitting it is that the
white man, moved by generous and noble impulses, will
send missionaries to these poor natives to teach them the
way to heaven. It is indeed proper that he should do so,
for there is no other place left for the native to go to when
the white man gets through with him, and I can under-
stand the joy and the satisfaction that our missionary
society organizers must have in the thought of the good
they are doing Mr. Primitive Man, after they have robbed
him of everything and dispossessed him from the Land
of his Fathers.

We will suppose that the day after Peter Minuit bought
the Island from the Indians, another white man came to
him and wanted to buy the Island, but Peter says, "No,
I will not sell." "Well, what are you going to do with it,"
asks this other white man. "Nothing. I have got a hunch
that a lot of people will be coming this way soon and will
settle on the Island and I will be able to get back more
than my $24." "Well," said the man, "I would like to
rent it from you. " "Oh, all right, you can rent it. " "How
much do you want?" "Well, I paid $24 for it and money
is worth 10 per cent., so I ought to get at least $2.40 a year
for the use of my Island." That would be the economic
rent of Manhattan Island about three hundred years ago.
Well, Peter wouldn't get a very fat living out of that,
would he? If that were all the income he had, he certainly
wou'd have to go to work, but really what he gave his
tenant was nothing but his permission to use an Island

that God made and that had acquired at that date a sell-

Online LibraryOutdoor Advertising Association of AmericaLand and freedom (Volume 30) → online text (page 25 of 37)