Homeless are entitled to at least $217 a week just by being born

Anthony is a homeless guy who sits near Countdown in Waikanae and often sleeps in the Akatarawas in his tent.

His situation is dire — he has no home, he says, which means his benefit from WINZ has been cut off.

So is the gap between the landed and the landless really getting to this sorry state?

Fewer homeowners, but some own much more.

There are now fewer homeowners as a percentage of the population. But more people own more than one home.

The authors of A Stocktake of New Zealand’s Housing wrote in Feb 2018, “Home ownership rates have fallen to a 60-year low and could fall further.

“These falls have been alongside rapid house price inflation in many parts of New Zealand and, with this, deteriorating affordability. We are quickly becoming a society divided by the ownership of housing and its related wealth and recent housing and tax policy settings appear to have exacerbated this division.”

Successive governments have turned down official recommendations for land and capital gains taxes.”

Monopolists should pay rentals

So what is Anthony really owed by society? If we believe all land belongs to everybody, then anyone who monopolises a piece of land should pay a rental to society. This should be divided up amongst central and local government and individuals.

The increase in house prices is almost all unearned and belongs to the public.
‘Landowners’ exclude everyone else from benefitting from their piece of land whether it be in Queenstown, Mt Victoria or Masterton. Currently land owners pay only one sort of tax for their land – rates. A typical rates bill would come nowhere near the 5% of the land value. It is more like 1-2%.

When I ‘own’ a piece of land in Mt Eden and the government and local government pay for infrastructure around me. This puts up the value of my land.

Over time my property may go up by $1million. All the rise has been in land value. If I sell my property I get unearned capital gain that rightly belongs to people like Anthony and to governments.

The annual rise in the value of the housing stock between 2012 and 2017 averaged $100 billion. With half going to government, this leaves $50b distributed to 4.4 million New Zealanders. Or $11,300 a year for everyone. This is just from the land rents. This is Anthony’s fundamental right. Just by being alive he should get his share in the land rents. He shouldn’t have to beg at WINZ.

Add the rents from minerals, fish, trees, power stations, electromagnetic spectrum and when all added together it should make a respectable basic income.

The only qualification for getting it is being born!

 

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Summary of The Big Shift: Rethinking Money, Tax, Welfare and Governance for the Next Economic System

The Big Shift: Rethinking Money, Tax, Welfare and Governance for the Next Economic System by Deirdre Kent

This important little book is a very dense read. The current growth-dependent economic system is not only broken must be completely replaced with a new paradigm.

This is now critical. Conventional oil peaked in 2005 and unconventional oil peaked in 2015. It takes energy to extract energy so the global net energy is inexorable decline. Therefore the economy can’t grow with less energy from fossil fuels to drive it. Therefore the economy can’t grow without more and more debt.

Based on the discussions of the New Economics Party of 2011-2015 to develop policy, the author argues that neither monetary reform nor tax reform are possible at central government level as the banks are too powerful these days. A change from an intrusive welfare system to a basic income should come from sharing the rents from land, natural resources and natural monopolies.

To design an economic system to serve the planet in a post fossil fuel age requires new thinking on money design, land tenure and governance. Examples from history are used as evidence of stable and prosperous societies using these principles.

This leads to the conclusion that very local government should assume powers of money creation, land purchase and rule-making about taxes for trades in that new currency.

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