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Land and freedom (Volume 34) online

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N. Beach, was one of the early Texan Single Tax leaders,
and although his mother, Mrs. Bessie Beach Truehart,
is an equally strong Single Taxer, Bill got his Single Tax
as all must get it for himself.

On last March 29, without the knowledge of either his
father or mother, Bill wrote President Roosevelt one of
the most persuasive Single Tax letters that the President
has probably received. Bill is making many converts
among his school associates and is planning to organize
a Henry George Club to spread the study of "Progress
and Poverty." He is determined to do all in his power
to help complete the work begun by his grandfather and
Mayor Pastoriza, and carried forward to the present day
by such leaders in Houston as Mr. P. W. Schwander.
This is what Bill said in a recent high school talk for
Bill is as able a speaker as he is a writer :

It was during Mr. Pastoriza's term of office that most of the fac-
tories now operating successfully in Houston were started. Capital
sought investment in Houston in preference to other cities because
it was promised freedom from strangling taxation. Labor was em-
ployed in the wave of building activity by such great builders as Jesse
Jones. . . Production was encouraged. . . Business men and
laborers alike prospered. The only ones who might be said to have
suffered were the land speculators.

Mr. Pastoriza drew the inspiration for his civic plan from the prin-
ciples of Henry George, the great political economist, as laid down
in his book, "Progress and Poverty." Mr. Pastoriza died before his
plan for Houston was fully realized, and after his death, the land
speculators pushed Houston back into our present unscientific system
of taxation. The city experienced a slump after that, but it had re-
ceived too great an impetus from the Pastoriza plan to fall far be-
hind. . . If we had such a system again we would have good times
again. The depression would be over as far as Houston is concerned.
If we had this Single Tax on land values all over the nation the depres-
sion would be gone as far as the nation would be concerned.

OTHER TEXAS NOTES. Judge Clarence A. Teagle, old-
guard Houston Single Taxer, is campaign manager for
Hon. James V. Allred, candidate for Governor of Texas.
Mr. Allred is unalterably opposed to the sales tax. . .
Attorney Robert Ring, Houston Single Taxer, is son of
the late H. F. Ring, author of "The Case Plainly Stated"
and "The Problem of the Unemployed." . . . Mark
S. Engleman of Dallas, whose Single Tax letters appear
frequently in the press, is brother of the Kansas City
Single Taxer, Frank J. Engleman. ... In an able i
editorial in the April issue of The Pitchfork, Pitchfork i
Smith of Dallas stated that, "If Roosevelt's New Deal
succeeds one hundred per cent the land speculators wil!l
take it all in increased rents. Every business man whcl
has paid high rents through a period of good times knows J
this is the truth." Mr. Smith's speech on "The Squirrel
Philosophy" was reprinted in the Manchester Guardian 1
England. . . . Mr. J. R. Fuchs and March Fuchsl
are an ideal father and son combination. They are assol
ciated together in law and are as one on the philosophy!
of Henry George. Mark is a recent graduate of thijj
University of Texas. . . . One of the many convert)



of William A. Black, secretary of the Single Tax League
of Texas, is Mr. E. P. Haye, youthful manager of the L.
C. Smith typewriter agency in San Antonio. One of Mr.
Haye's converts is J. Andrew Smith, secretary of the Lions
Club, who arranged for Mr. Monroe's appearance before
an important meeting of that organization. . . Judge
R. B. Minor of San Antonio has made a valuable contribu-
tion to the science of government, in a pamphlet, "A Plea
for Majority Elections in Texas." Judge Minor, though
himself a staunch Single Taxer, is father of Robert Minor,
recent Communist candidate for Mayor of New York
City. . . . Mayor R. E. Sherman of El Paso is ac-
quainted with the writings of Henry George. . . Walter
E. Stockwell, city planner of El Paso, recently read the
"Philosophy of Henry George," by Dr. Geiger.


The skill of the politician is combined with the idealism
of the social reformer in Judge Jackson H. Ralston's pro-
posed amendment to the California State Constitution.

Popular resentment against the California sales tax is
so great that nearly every candidate for public office ad-
vocates either modification or abolition of the present two
and one-half per cent levy. The forces of privileges in
their greed and the politicians in their servility overstepped
the bounds of political propriety when they imposed an
unjust tax that the common man could understand as
well as feel. The goose sees how he is being plucked.

In the people's resentment against the sales tax, Judge
Ralston perceived a lever by which the greater part of the
weight of taxation might be raised from the backs of labor
and industry. With the wisdom of the statesman (for
what is a statesman but a public servant who beats the
politicians at their own game?), Judge Ralston has drafted
a measure that abolishes the sales tax forever, but which
also repeals all taxes on tangible personal property and
buildings gradually over a five year period, substituting
land value taxation.

The proposed amendment is so drawn that it appeals
to all groups. It appeals to farmers and has been endorsed
by farm organizations because it particularly specifies
that "all fencing, drainage, vineyards, orchards, growing
crops, and the like," shall be entirely exempt from taxa-
tion. It appeals to organized labor and has been endorsed
by the State Federation of Labor because Labor can
easily see that the sales tax means a reduction in wages
while the exemption of improvements means more jobs
and higher wages. It appeals to small home owners be-
cause it provides for the immediate exemption of $1,000
of the assessed value of buildings on declared homesteads.
It appeals to small business men because they have found
it difficult to collect the irksome sales tax.

Thus is seen how it may be possible, as Henry George
said, to secure "a union of political forces strong enough
to carry" our measure into practical effort. Victory at

the polls in November is assured to an unprecedented
degree for a measure of such far reaching importance.

The opposing forces, of course, have raised a war chest
to fight the measure. Newspapers will be silent or will
oppose. But in Judge Ralston is the rallying point for
the widest possible range of supporters. All have con-
fidence in him. All who work with him come to share
his enthusiasm and his well founded hope that the birth-
place of "Progress and Poverty" may yet lead the way
toward economic democracy.

There is a growing realization on the part of all who
consider the proposed amendment that in its provisions
lies the programme of economic reform that can be adopted,
that can be administered, and that will have immediate
effect in opening unlimited opportunities for employment
and production in all fields.

The officers and advisers of the Tax Relief Campaign
Committee include two candidates for Governor, labor
officials, famous writers, university professors, and Single
Taxers, old and new, in their various walks of life.

In San Diego we find an active Henry George Society
with John S. Siebert, architect and former resident of
Cumberland, Md., as president, and Mr. E. M. Stang-
land, formerly of Chicago, as secretary. Mr. Siebert and
Mr. Stangland are joined in their determined efforts by
Silas S. Taber, Ray H. Taber, Grant and Elsie Webster,
Sid Evans, W. R. Edwards, Miss Louise McLean, Thomas
P. Craig, Capt. W. W. Gilmer, Mr. H. J. Eckert, Tom
Givens Dawson, Richard Pourade, and Henry Cramer,
to mention a few.

Mr. Dawson was printer for The Ingram Institute News.
Mr. Pourade was the editor of that paper for a time and
is now correspondent on the San Diego Sun. Mr. Cramer
is a convert of Mayor William N. McNair of Pittsburgh
from the time when Mr. McNair was director of the In-
gram Institute. Among other friends of the movement
in San Diego are Mr. L. E. Claypole, political writer on
the Sun, and Mr. Albert G. Rogers, editor of the Labor
Leader, and son of a former governor of Washington.

In Los Angeles, Mr. George W. Patterson, president
of the Freeland Club, is serving as president of the Tax
Relief Campaign Committee for Southern California.
Mr. Patterson is actively supported by Dr. Charles James,
Mr. A. J. Samis, Mr. J. M. Wood, Mr. R. A. Jackson,
Mr. Waldo J. Wernicke, Mr. R. E. Chadwick, Mr. L. J.
Quinby, Mr. George J. Shaffer, Mr. David Woodhead,
Hollis C. Joy, Frank H. Bode, Mr. W. D. Hoffman,
Bernard Martin, Archie V. Hahn, Thomas V. Ward,
Solon B. Welcome, and George E. Lee, among others.

In San Francisco, S. Edward Williams, secretary for
the Tax Relief Committee for Northern California, has
been laboring fifteen and twenty hours a day on behalf
of the amendment. He is in constant demand as a
speaker and together with Mr. E. Bakcus he handled the
main brunt of the signature work in San Francisco.



In every important center throughout the State there
are those who are doing everything to advance the amend-
ment and the principles it represents. In Pacific Grove,
for instance, there is Fred W. Workman; in Stockton, Mr.
L. D. Beckwith and Mr. J. Southwick; and in Sacramento,
Mr. Edward Adams, and Mr. H. G. Hecker.


Among the writers identified with the Ralston Amend-
ment are Lincoln Steffens, Kathleen Norris, C. E. S. Wood,
Hamlin Garland, John H. Barry, Upton Sinclair, and
George Creel. The latter two are rival candidates for the
Democratic nomination for Governor.

Mr. Archie V. Hahn of Los Angeles is one of the State's
leading convert-makers. Three of his friends have just
subscribed to LAND AND FREEDOM. They are Mr. A. W.
Nelson, Mr. Charles Burridge, and Mr. Jack Macartney.

Three of the most prominent men in the strike situa-
tion in San Francisco were Single Taxers : Andrew Furuseth,
president of the International Seamen's Union, and Arch-
bishop Edward J. Hanna and O. K. Gushing, members of
the President's special appeal board.

Mr. A. J. Milligan of San Francisco has conducted three
ten-weeks' courses in Progress and Poverty since 1929.
The classes have had an average attendance of thirty.
Mr. Milligan is now organizing a public speaking class
which will furnish speakers for the amendment campaign.

Mr. Bryant Hall, research engineer for the Regional
Planning Board Commission of Los Angeles County, first
heard about the Single Tax from Lawson Purdy and John
J. Murphy when he was employed by the National Hous-
ing Association of New York City. Since recently read-
ing Henry George's statement of the problem in Progress
and Poverty he has been making a close study of the sub-
ject. He arranged two important appointments for Mr.
Monroe, one before the Government Administration
Group composed of several city managers, professors, and
regional planners, and the Western Statjgtical Association.

One of the members of the Government Administra-
tion Group is Gordon Whitnall, son of Mr. C. B. Whitnall
of Milwaukee. Mr. Whitnall, Sr., is chairman of the
Milwaukee Committee on Tax Problems which recently
issued an important recommendation for land value taxa-

Judge Ben Lindsey has been speaking for the Ralston

There are none who have been more devoted to the
cause of social justice throughout the years than Mrs.
Lona Ingham Robinson of Glendale. Though her health
will not permit her now to take the active part to which
she has been accustomed, Mrs. Robinson is as always giv-
ing every help and encouragement she can to the progress
of the work.

Two taxes were once currently enforced in England,
a tax on bachelors and a tax on marriages.

A State to Control

Monopolies Only


'"PHIS is what I hope will fill the bill of "an intelligent
* rejoinder" to an amazing article by Henry Pratt Fair-
child in the May issue of Common Sense. The amaze-
ment is not at its double-headed theme, to eradicate "con-
flict in all business alignments, and the struggle for private
monetary profits as the main dynamic of economic activ-
ity, " but he missed something, or at least did not express
it. Why he did not see the superiority of "A State to
Control Monopolies Only," over his plan of "A Non-
Corporative State," is the occasion of my surprise.

He has little use for the NRA and the "alphabetic per-
mutations" that indicate plans of relief. Nor have I;
and I fully agree with him when he says, "in all the activ-
ities and expedients of the New Deal, venturesome and
humanitarian as they are, it is impossible to discover any
features of a thorough and effective recovery programme,
and certainly not of a set of plans and specifications for
a genuinely new social order. " That they are venture-
some, there is no doubt. That they are humanitarian,
yes, because like the old woman in the sick room, not
knowing just what to do, the administration tries a little
of everything.

Prof. Fairchild says that our problem is "to find a formula
that will eliminate competitive struggle to the maximum
extent, while interfering as little as possible with the cher-
ished traditions and emotional and temperamental pro-
clivities which are as dear to human beings as material
comfort or even security." And then he assails what he
calls the individualistic capitalistic system. Here is a
good time to say that the critics of individualism are about
the most rampant individuals on the planet.

Their individualism stands out in their writings, their
speeches and their idiosyncrasies. They are, as a rule,
non-conformists. They may be physically weak, but they
subordinate their opinions to nobody. Many of the older
critics were brought up on the doctrine of "rights" so
well worked out on a biological basis by Herbert Spencer;
but his epoch-making book, "Social Statics," is now 34
years old, and to quote from that book is like riding down
Fifth Avenue in a rusty model T. So after lauding some
principles and values which are in the bone and brain of
every well educated Englishman and American personal
liberty, freedom of action and self-determination, things
incompatible with state socialism, he proposes this remedy:
" the excision of the corporation from the body politic because it
is the causation of economic chaos and personal distress." The
corporation is regarded as a malignant growth in the body
politic which secretes the toxin called profit. This is the
view of socialistic pathologists. On the other hand,
individualistic pathologists view the corporation as a



lighly integrated phenomenon performing a useful and
aried service, and only secreting toxins when restricted
abused. Prof. Fairchild speaks of the corporation as
'this monstrous excresence" and again goes into a very
incise and illuminating description of its functions.
May I remind Prof. Fairchild that pathologists do not
think that malignant growths have any function? These
monstrous excrescences are masses of cells running wild
in their anarchy and orgy of reproduction. So it would
appear that Prof. Fairchild is unfortunate in his metaphor.
However, there will be little disagreement in his state-
ment that the corporation "fosters the development of
the profit motive in all its most irresponsible, rapacious,
and destructive forms." With this indictment he pro-
poses the following remedy: the immediate expropriation,
and future ownership and operation of all business corpora-
tions by the Federal Government. The italics are his, not
mine, though if making any contribution, I should add
several exclamation points. He admits that this proposal
is radical and 'subversive;' but that "it is formulated in
the engineering spirit;" that "it is an attempt to discover
what means will produce a desired result, given a certain
set of conditions to start with. " Here I must criticize
his evident confusion of structure and function. He
makes the common mistake of seeking a desired result
vhile ignoring the means of obtaining it. As an example,
need money. There is a proper way of obtaining it by
ming up collateral and borrowng it at the bank. There
a wrong way, such as robbing the bank. The result
loney) is gotten, but it makes a vast difference how.
tid so it is with many evils that crop out from human
tivities. Bad as they are, our frontal attacks against
tiem are usually failures and the parents of more evils.
There is a tacit belief in the old doctrine that the king
can do no wrong in this plan of the campaign against
profits. Prof. Fairchild says, "The people of the United
States, acting through its Federal Government, and by
due process of law, seizes the ownership of all existing busi-
ness corporations, meaning by that term a corporation
created for the purpose of making profit." Evidently
the ethics of taking over something which doesn't belong
to all of us, such as a store or a factory trouble him, for
he plans to issue certificates to the stockholders providing
for payments on the original stock, thus reimbursing them
in twenty years.

Having obtained these "monstrous excrescences," the
government proceeds to operate them on a non-profit
plan. His conclusion is, that "since there are no profits
to be made there is no incentive to produce beyond the
consumers desires of the public." Nobody will deny
that this is a valid conclusion. And here is another bal-
anced statement: "Since there is no effort to put the
selling price above the cost of production the purchasing
power is always equal to the cost of production, and all
the goods for which there is an actual demand can be sold."
Prof. Fairchild would allow the individually-owned

businesses to proceed as before. Partnerships may do
the same, provided they are good and abstain from the
bad features of the corporations. This indicates that the
conflict in his mind between his latent individualism and
the precepts of NRA has been called a draw. He admits
that his plan is a "straddle between individualism and



My criticism of his plan is that he has proposed social-
ization of things which do not need it, and has ignored
the socialization of those which do. My thesis is, that
all natural monopolies ought to be controlled and owned by
the political units in which they are. That means railroads,
telegraph and telephone systems, pipe lines, deposits of
coal, oil and gas; rivers and harbors, large areas of forests,
roads, airways. Being a Single Taxer, I am more than
willing to join hands with the socialists, who in a weak
way (much to their discredit) advocate the government
exercising its right of eminent domain and taking over
the land. This belief then leads to another opinion. It
is that the true functions of the nation, the state, the county
and the municipality ought to concern themselves with
the natural monopolies within their respective boundaries
and let the individual alone. I do not regard U. S. Steel
or the Standard Oil as monopolies. They are big, but
they are not natural. They could not have achieved their
size had the government owned and controlled natural
monopolies from which they draw sustenance. This is
the crux of the situation. We allow individuals to get
control of natural monopolies such as come under the head
of public utilities. They mulct the public, and, as a
remedy, legislators with no knowledge of the canons of
taxation, proceed to tax them. The stock in these cor-
porations, being hygroscopic, swells up and attracts the
investor. The latter, now a co-parasite of the society
served by this utility, draws dividends from profits. This
offends Prof. Fairchild; he would have the government
take such an institution over. So would I; not because
it made profits, but because it is a monopoly in private
hands. The profits are incidental and final. Paid out
by a private concern they should go to stockholders.
Paid by a natural monopoly they should go to the con-
sumers at lower prices. I can see nothing wrong in profit.
As an example, a man produces milk on a farm. He sells
it at a profit to a middleman who transports it to a city
distributing and sterilizing plant at a profit. The dis-
tributors sell it to a grocery at a profit, and the grocer sells
it to the ultimate consumer at a profit. The "spread"
between the price at the farm and what the ultimate con-
sumer pays is often a subject for official investigation.
What is wrong? The farmer is paying land rent to his
landlord. He is paying taxes on his equipment The
middleman is compelled to buy a refrigerated conveyance.
He is confronted with labor troubles. The owners of the
milk-plant are likewise the victims of our obsession to tax
industry, as are their employes. The same is true of the



grocer. The milk in its progress towards human gullets
has jumped a series of useless and harmful hurdles. To
obviate some of these effects of officialdom Prof. Fairchild
would have the Federal Government take them over, on
the homeopathic principle that "like cures like." Instead
of having first things come first he proposes to have last
things come first. I would tackle the fundamentals first
with every assurance that the incidentals would take care
of themselves. Sweet are the users of laissez-faire when
working under conditions of freedom.

Prof. Fairchild writes, "Any one who is familiar with
the role played by speculative profit-seeking in the crea-
tion of depressions will recognize that the removal of this
force would produce sweeping results." My belief is,
that the cause of depressions is an inability to meet obliga-
tions, in other words, DEBT. It is true that when the
value of stocks fell and the buyers on a margin w ere called
on to put up cash or more stocks, and could not, that the
depression became manifest. There are two necessary
steps to prevent depressions. First, take away the
speculative value of land by taxing it at its part or full
value, preferably the latter, which would be about five to
seven per cent. Or, do as the socialists propose, take it
over and charge rent for its use. That makes Iowa and
Florida land booms impossible.

I think a splendid argument against Prof. Fairchild 's
scheme of governmental meddlesomeness, regimentation,
and purblindedness is his own statement, "the one great
unanswerable objection to complete socialism has always
been that it would be virtually a system of state slavery.
With the government the only employer, anybody who
worked at all would have to work for the government,
and since such a government would not allow idleness,
there would ensue an actual condition of forced labor.
Forthwith there arise the habitual questions as to who
t would assign jobs, who would affix wages, who would be
on the regulating committee?" That little paragraph
is like a buljet; it hits his argument. Any argument based
on fundamentals should succumb to that wound. But
arguments based on incidentals are so shifty and attenuated
that they are apt to be only excited by the thrust of a basic

A state to control monopolies only, gets us back to the
Jeffersonian idea of government, that it is best when gov-
erning least. A non-corporative state is a misnomer.
Prof. Fairchild's state would be practically a huge corpora-
tion with multitudinous details, licenses, officials, annoy-
ances, and assaults on the law of equal freedom.

IF "real estate" can not bear the burden of governmental
expense then the government deserves no support.
Every useful governmental act increases land values and
automatically makes land able to bear the expense. Acts
that are not useful have the opposite effect and the govern-
ment must be indulging in a lot of them if "real estate,"
or rather the land part of real estate, can not pay.



IS our democratic form of government a success? This
question is being asked more and more frequently.
Italy is pointed to as having the most efficient govern-
ment today and speakers before our civic clubs in referring
to Mussolini, himself a Rotarian, are apt to receive prompt
applause when suggesting that we ought to have a benevo-
lent despot of his type in the United States. College men
and liberals who might naturally be counted upon as the
strongest supporters of democratic institutions, are fore-
most in the ranks of those who have become discontented

Online LibraryOutdoor Advertising Association of AmericaLand and freedom (Volume 34) → online text (page 28 of 48)