Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Andrew Lainton — Time for Think Tanks to Work on The Details of Implementing A Land Value Tax

Where thinks tanks are at there best is investigating long terms trends and international best practice, lifting eyes above the day to day crisis management of civil servants.One such area is Land Value Taxation.  In our age of rentier capitalism, poor productivity and a housing crisis our latest policy hero seems to be Henry George, with think tanks across the political spectrum championing it. 
Of course it is far easier to propose a policy reform than to get down to the nitty gritty details of implementing it.  The great mistake for example of of the Centre for Social Justice was to treat the wicked problem of welfare reform to introduce Universal Credit as a simple one. 
Replacing SDLT, council tax and business rates with a new land value tax, even in increments, is a wicked problem.  Beyond perhaps the institutional capacity of the DCLG and treasury to get right.  They need the think tanks help and they need to cooperate to look individually and selectively at many of the issues....
If only most think tanks were not highly ideological. What many put out is not analysis but propaganda fashioned to resemble analysis.

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