Wealth taxation

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Chen
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby Chen » Tue Jul 11, 2017 6:22 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Because they don't produce, in much the same way that nuclear subs don't produce. You could make the argument that living in a home results in better grades and health for kids than an apartment, except then you have to calculate the extra gasoline used to travel around a suburb, the increased obesity from being unable to walk anywhere, etc.


But the vast majority of any consumer purchases don't produce anything by that reasoning. How is that any type of reasonable metric for "growing the economy"

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:17 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:No? Why would you think I'd blame the depositor for that?
Because you made the comment in the context of "saving money is bad because it doesn't grow the economy, so stop saving money". If you didn't mean it that way, fine, but then what was the point of your comment? The bank can't decide anything about money not deposited therein.

"Expanding the economy" is not, a priori, a Good Thing. It's only a good thing in certain contexts, up to a point, and balanced against other externalities such as the destruction of the environment, the destruction of privacy, the destruction of autonomy, the encouragement of overpopulation, and the very real risk inherent in violating the angle of repose.

Building homes contributes very much to the economy: it employs carpenters, loggers, refineries, electricians, plumbers, retail stores, lumber yards and mills, and employs the people that these people will spend their money on and the places they will spend their money at, several levels deep before it's lost in the noise. However, building homes willy nilly to be left to rot is wasteful, as nobody gets to enjoy the end product, and it is the enjoyment of that end product that end product that is truly the output of the economy. And logging the rainforest in order to build these homes is more than wasteful, it's destructive. This reasoning can be applied to every economic activity, be it homes, cars, transistors, steelmaking, espionage (governmental, commercial and consumer), motion picture creation, music performances, and anything else you can think of, and things we haven't thought of yet.

As for the downsides of living in a home, there are upsides too, including the decreased obesity from being able to walk around the neighborhood without getting mugged or run over by a city bus, the lowered stress from being in a quiet environment surrounded by trees rather than brick, and the ability to have one's own private {pool, basketball hoop, yard, deck, whatever} making it so much easier to partake in the activities it facilitates... and to do so in whatever nonconformist way one likes.

Jose
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:03 pm UTC

Chen wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Because they don't produce, in much the same way that nuclear subs don't produce. You could make the argument that living in a home results in better grades and health for kids than an apartment, except then you have to calculate the extra gasoline used to travel around a suburb, the increased obesity from being unable to walk anywhere, etc.


But the vast majority of any consumer purchases don't produce anything by that reasoning. How is that any type of reasonable metric for "growing the economy"


Y=G+I+C+(X-M).

GDP = Government spending + Investment + Consumption + (Export - Import).

Homes are consumption, not investment. Yes, subsidizing homes 'expands' consumption in the housing sector, but at the cost of other forms of consumption or worse, investments, which means less consumption in the long term. When you tear down a factory or farm to build a home, it's because the invisible hand says it's more valuable as a home. But if you are skewing the measure of that value through subsidies, you are going to get an invisible bitchslap.

Yes I know about externalities, so yes it's government's job to help the market reflect the "correct" value, but the homes are, well... When you give someone 100,000 dollars in tax breaks to buy a new home, either 1) a new home is built (often on a farm) or 2) the price of existing homes goes up by exactly 100,000 dollars. So yeah, fuck the home mortgage deductiom.

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:25 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:GDP =
Why should I care about GDP? (Specifically GDP, not the idea of economic growth)
CorruptUser wrote:GDP = Government spending + Investment + Consumption + (Export - Import).
Homes are consumption, not investment.
... and in any case, whether homes are consumption or investment, they add to GDP the same way, so I don't get the point of the equation as support for your point.
CorruptUser wrote: Yes, subsidizing homes 'expands' consumption in the housing sector, but at the cost of other forms of consumption...
Ever heard of a loss leader? Even if I accept your premises that there are costs (to the nation) to home ownership, there are also costs (to the nation) to education, military spending, science grants, and many other things. That there are costs is not damning; each has to be argued on its specific merits.

Society, at least American society, is not grounded in achieving the maximum "efficiency"... (of, what?). Efficiency is useful when a goal is involved; what is the goal for which the "inefficiency" of housing is a problem, that is also greater than the benefits of having a nation of people grounded in their own home, and not dependent on the whims of a landlord?

Jose
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:58 am UTC

ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:GDP =
Why should I care about GDP? (Specifically GDP, not the idea of economic growth)


Because that's a "good" approximation of the economy?


ucim wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:GDP = Government spending + Investment + Consumption + (Export - Import).
Homes are consumption, not investment.
... and in any case, whether homes are consumption or investment, they add to GDP the same way, so I don't get the point of the equation as support for your point.


Investment improves the economy in the long term, and generally includes the sort of things that banks are supposed to allocate money to; expanding businesses, building factories, upgrading equipment, etc etc. Consumption is just what individuals use right now. If you can't see anything wrong with shifting money away from investments into consumption, please do not win any elections.

CorruptUser wrote: Yes, subsidizing homes 'expands' consumption in the housing sector, but at the cost of other forms of consumption...
Ever heard of a loss leader?[/quote]

That's in sales, where you sell at a loss in order to get more business. Your point?

ucim wrote:Even if I accept your premises that there are costs (to the nation) to home ownership, there are also costs (to the nation) to education, military spending, science grants, and many other things. That there are costs is not damning; each has to be argued on its specific merits.


Yes everything has a cost. But when you are subsidizing something, you are distorting the economy, and if that distortion is done for anything other than more accurately representing the externalities of a good/service, you harm society. Go ahead, ask any economist, you will get the same damn answer.

ucim wrote:Society, at least American society, is not grounded in achieving the maximum "efficiency"... (of, what?).


"Efficiency" has multiple meanings. Generally, it means getting the most "value" out of the various forms of "raw inputs" that we have, whether that's ores, fisheries, oil, or human labor. One particular type of efficiency, Pareto Efficiency, has special meaning to economists; the point curve at which nothing more can be produced without producing less of something else.


ucim wrote:...that is also greater than the benefits of having a nation of people grounded in their own home, and not dependent on the whims of a landlord?


1) For the most part, the housing subsidies do not put people into homes. When you have inelastic supply, artificially increasing demand only increases the price without increasing supply; all the subsidies do is raise the existing price of homes by exactly as much as the new homeowners "save". It's a wealth transfer from the taxpayers to rich people and the banks. And when you do have the ability to build new homes in an area, you are effectively tearing down farms to build suburbs, which have a plethora of problems including causing obesity and global warming, the massive trade deficit, oh and let's just throw in wars in the Mid-East because probably. What, you think sticking people in places you need a car to get to anywhere you want to be wont be a problem? What do you not understand about this?

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:43 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Because that's a "good" approximation of the economy?
That's arguable, but why should I care about the economy? (at least in the sense of what I choose to do with my own personal assets?) Sure, if I'm a policy maker, the economy may be one of the things I ought to consider when making policy, but as an ordinary person, I see nothing wrong with saving my own money, putting it in a bank, or even burying it in a box in my backyard (for which, by the way, I would need to own a back yard).


CorruptUser wrote:Investment improves the economy in the long term...
Not if there's nobody to consume what is being created. You need to make things people want, and those people have to actually buy them. People want homes. This creates the demand for the requisite investment, ensuring that it's not wasted. After all, if we're going to cut down the forest, we should get some benefit from it.

CorruptUser wrote:[A loss leader is] in sales, where you sell at a loss in order to get more business. Your point?
You're selling at a loss. You're losing money on the sale. You're being inefficient. Except that there's a benefit elsewhere in the system; in this case it accrues to marketing. The same is true here; focusing on costs and efficiencies alone (even if I were to agree with you on them) misses important externalities. You touched on a few before dismissing them. I would say they are not so easily dismissed.

CorruptUser wrote:...and if that distortion is done for anything other than more accurately representing the externalities of a good/service, you harm society.
Owning (a home) is often better than renting (an apartment) and being at the mercy of a landlord. This is especially true in the long term. This helps society. The theory (as I know it) behind the mortgage deduction is that the resulting distortion is worth it for the benefit to society that home ownership entails, and that for this reason home ownership should be encouraged. As with anything that involves the tax code, it's complicated, and not perfectly implemented. It probably cannot be perfectly implemented. But it (and other programs) make it easier for middle class people who might otherwise not have home ownership within reach, to buy their own homes.

I know what "efficiency" is, my question was just what is supposed to be optimized, and why. Reading into what you wrote I infer that you are trying to maximize production of goods and services.

I do not see that as a Good Thing. Production of goods and services entails a lot of damage - to the environment, to society, to privacy, to lots of things, including basic freedoms. That's not calculated in an economic view of maximum efficiency.

As for not putting people into homes due to inelastic supply, people still have to live somewhere. Whether they rent or own, the same amount of housing still has to exist.

You seem to be coming from the POV that we have a moral obligation to cram ourselves in as tightly as we can stand, in the name of some efficiency rating. You don't think overcrowding isn't a problem already?

And in any case, people could choose to purchase their own apartments instead of a private home. I don't think anything prevents that. It's about owning or renting, not about houses or apartments.

And in any case, we seem to have strayed from the idea of wealth (as opposed to income or sales or {whatever else} taxation.

Jose
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby CorruptUser » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:11 pm UTC

Can we please agree on some of the basics?

1) If the supply doesn't increase, increasing the money available only increases the price

2) Densely packed cities use fewer resources per person than spread out suburbs, while providing more services

3) One of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and that means being more efficient with the resources we do use, in whatever meaning of the term efficient you use; they should all fit.

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby ucim » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:24 pm UTC

... all things being equal. But they are not. Making it easier for prospective homeowners to buy lowers rents, thus lowering the incentive for landlords to buy homes, thus freeing up supply and lowering the price of housing. Densely packed cities lower the quality of life in many ways for people who live there. There are advantages to cities, sure, but it's not a slam dunk by any means. The number of services provided is not a good measure of quality of life; in fact, the number of services needed is an indication that maybe there's something amiss. Cities cause problems too.

And yes, one of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and one of the best ways to do this is to stop breeding. Most of the problems you're addressing arise simply because there are just too many people. Everything else is secondary.

Jose
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:54 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Can we please agree on some of the basics?

1) If the supply doesn't increase, increasing the money available only increases the price

2) Densely packed cities use fewer resources per person than spread out suburbs, while providing more services

3) One of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and that means being more efficient with the resources we do use, in whatever meaning of the term efficient you use; they should all fit.


I do believe the home mortgage interest deduction applies to a small Condo in the city. So the question now is Condo vs Apartment if you're talking about city.

Otherwise, people choosing Urban Sprawl out in the suburbs ain't got nothing to do with the home mortgage interest deduction. City-folk will live in the city, rural folk out in the rural areas, and families move to the suburbs. All zones have rental properties available, all zones have ownership properties available.... from Condos, to Townhomes / Rowhomes, to separate single-family homes.

I think its a good idea to encourage home-ownership inside of a city or otherwise more urban zone. A neighborhood full of renters will not care about schools or other local services, because you can always "move out" to a better area when you get kids. If you're a home-owner of an inner-city Rowhome, you give a huge damn about the quality of education, even if you're a single bachelor. In particular, the quality of education plays into the value of your home, so you have a direct financial incentive to care about your local school.

A renter's financial situation is inverted. A renter wants to move into locations with shitty schools for a lower price / lower property values. Low-education areas don't necessarily mean high crime btw.
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby trpmb6 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:34 pm UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:
A renter's financial situation is inverted. A renter wants to move into locations with shitty schools for a lower price / lower property values. Low-education areas don't necessarily mean high crime btw.



Couldn't have said it better myself. I consider these factors when researching new areas for my rental property portfolio. There is a very thin niche where property values are low enough to make them profitable as a rental, but not so low that the area is riff with crime (also noting that crime also directly influences property values and thus rental rates, It's a very complex interaction of numerous factors).

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby sardia » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:38 pm UTC

ucim wrote:... all things being equal. But they are not. Making it easier for prospective homeowners to buy lowers rents, thus lowering the incentive for landlords to buy homes, thus freeing up supply and lowering the price of housing. Densely packed cities lower the quality of life in many ways for people who live there. There are advantages to cities, sure, but it's not a slam dunk by any means. The number of services provided is not a good measure of quality of life; in fact, the number of services needed is an indication that maybe there's something amiss. Cities cause problems too.

And yes, one of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and one of the best ways to do this is to stop breeding. Most of the problems you're addressing arise simply because there are just too many people. Everything else is secondary.

Jose

Isn't this a rehash of your unabashed support for a yard plus two car garage sized house lifestyle?
You went pretty far in your support too. Not only do the home owners defend their house, that can and should defend anything that threatens their property values(like a nearby dense housing complex).
You also think that renters have no voting rights for the town they live in. Lastly you have a financial interest in maintaining the status quo of housing shortages (to increase your home value for later selling).


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/c ... risis.html
Lawmakers are cracking down on communities that are derailing construction projects. Delays are at the behest of local neighborhood groups, which means everyone else has to suffer.

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby trpmb6 » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:49 pm UTC

sardia wrote:
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/c ... risis.html
Lawmakers are cracking down on communities that are derailing construction projects. Delays are at the behest of local neighborhood groups, which means everyone else has to suffer.


This is happening more often than people realize. Similar issues in Colorado and Austin Texas.

I know some people who are living in extended stay hotels in the Denver area because rent is so damn high.

I was going to contract at a company in the dallas/fort worth area and considered buying a cabin cruiser boat and living on the boat at a local marina instead of renting an apartment or room. The financials of it made it work out to being about the same, plus I would come away from it with a bad ass boat. Wife kind of shot it down though. Apparently the idea of me bacheloring it up on a big boat wasn't appealing.

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby morriswalters » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:23 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Isn't this a rehash of your unabashed support for a yard plus two car garage sized house lifestyle?
I don't have a garage and my house is less than 1000 square feet. In a neighborhood that is politely called lower middle class. And I agree with him wholeheartedly.

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby sardia » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:14 pm UTC

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:Isn't this a rehash of your unabashed support for a yard plus two car garage sized house lifestyle?
I don't have a garage and my house is less than 1000 square feet. In a neighborhood that is politely called lower middle class. And I agree with him wholeheartedly.

You go around and prevent developers from building more homes in your neighborhood? Is your motivation to prevent your housing from losing value? (As supply rises for homes, prices fall to meet demand) And you live in a town that's clamoring for more housing?

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:29 am UTC

sardia wrote:Isn't this a rehash of your unabashed support for a yard plus two car garage sized house lifestyle?
I suppose to the same extent that you are rehasing your unabashed support for cramming everyone together willy nilly so that more people can procreate until there just isn't any more room on the planet, and the entire population collapses catastrophically.

And why shouldn't people defend their property values? Flipped around, why should people have to give their housing choices (and their ability to play the drums at 3am without waking anybody up) away, just so that somebody's idea of "efficient living" is satisfied. I don't live to be efficient, I live to be happy, productive, fulfilled, and the same for my family, to whom I have the first obligation.

For that matter, my car sits out in the garage when I'm not using it. Wouldn't it be more efficient if it were taken from me so that people who don't have cars could "borrow" it whenever they wanted? I should cry that I can't leave my stuff in the trunk? What's the key difference here?

And yes, somebody tries to come into my town and mow us down with housing complexes, I'll be on the front lines fighting it. Let them go to Beverly Hills if they want to build high-rises.

sardia wrote:You also think that renters have no voting rights for the town they live in.
That is false. Please stop telling me what I think, and where I have told you what I think, please read more carefully. (What you are doing is akin to an ad hominum attack - you are not even engaging with the point you claim I made; just stating that I made it seems to be sufficient for your purposes, which are.... what exactly?)

sardia wrote:Lastly you have a financial interest in maintaining the status quo of housing shortages (to increase your home value for later selling).
I may have a "financial interest" in doing so, but it is not what I am doing. First, I'm not interested in later selling. I live in my home; I'm not investing with it and its value is not a business I'm in. Second, I have no interest in maintaining shortages. I have interest in maintaining the options in life that I have worked hard to get, one of them being the ability to live surrounded by quiet, clean air, and my own greenery, and it's because I like that. If other people can't have what I have because I have it, so be it. If I decide to give away what I have, it will be my decision, and I will choose who to benefit by it. Third, renting vs owning is a different axis from wealth vs poverty. Yes, it costs money to own stuff. That's what money is for. And Fourth, building more homes doesn't solve the housing problem. Yeah, that's a great sound byte if you want to make me sound stupid, but the "housing problem" isn't lack of housing, it's lack of housing in the right places, which ultimately translates to where the economy is going. People want to live where the action is, but there's plenty of (decaying) housing where the action isn't. It's not the housing, it's the action. What will people do once they live there (no matter where the "there" is)? Because if there's a good answer for that, then housing will not be a problem. And if there's not a good answer for that, then housing is the least of the problems.

Jose
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby morriswalters » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:24 am UTC

sardia wrote:You go around and prevent developers from building more homes in your neighborhood? Is your motivation to prevent your housing from losing value? (As supply rises for homes, prices fall to meet demand) And you live in a town that's clamoring for more housing?
I live here because I can afford to. Finding comparable housing would be all but impossible at any price I could afford. They can have the house if they will get me another exactly like it, that's in the neighborhood. I am not out to make any persons life easier by making mine harder.

Any city that is growing will sooner or later end up at the same place as say San Fransisco. But you can plan around it, assuming that your growth isn't to fast. Don't expect to overturn property rights because California didn't plan for success. Piss poor prior planning on California's part doesn't indicate to me that there is a crisis that I need to speak to.

If you build a high rise that I can afford, and assure me the same level of safety as the high end condominium I worked in, we can talk business. I'll move in tomorrow. But we have good examples of how that works in real life, don't we?

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby sardia » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:57 am UTC

morriswalters wrote:
sardia wrote:You go around and prevent developers from building more homes in your neighborhood? Is your motivation to prevent your housing from losing value? (As supply rises for homes, prices fall to meet demand) And you live in a town that's clamoring for more housing?
I live here because I can afford to. Finding comparable housing would be all but impossible at any price I could afford. They can have the house if they will get me another exactly like it, that's in the neighborhood. I am not out to make any persons life easier by making mine harder.

Any city that is growing will sooner or later end up at the same place as say San Fransisco. But you can plan around it, assuming that your growth isn't to fast. Don't expect to overturn property rights because California didn't plan for success. Piss poor prior planning on California's part doesn't indicate to me that there is a crisis that I need to speak to.

If you build a high rise that I can afford, and assure me the same level of safety as the high end condominium I worked in, we can talk business. I'll move in tomorrow. But we have good examples of how that works in real life, don't we?

The power dynamics rarely work out in a way that's equitable for everyone. Either nobody wants it, the developers tell you that nobody wants it in order to kick you out for cheap, or you don't let any developers buy anything because you hold all the cards.

Ucim, what do you think of the government (the people of california)'s decision to take away from the home owners and make it easier for the developers in the face of housing shortages(where people want them)? At some point, enough people are gonna get motivated enough to force the homeowners to give up. It's entirely possible for the government to make it unfair as well, like taking indian land style. Does a emergency (housing shortage) make it OK to take away land from home owners? (taking away their legal rights/cracking down is pretty equivalent to eminent domain).

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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby ucim » Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:01 am UTC

sardia wrote:Ucim, what do you think of the government (the people of california)'s decision to...
Eminent domain is a sledgehammer. It can be used when the problems are so severe that they require a sledgehammer. But the fact that a tool exists does not make it appropriate for every case where it's tempting.

The rest spoilered; we're getting far afield of wealth taxation.
Spoiler:
The fact that rich people have more money is not a problem that requires a sledgehammer - certainly not that one.

I can't speak specifically to the issue in California; I don't live there and do not know enough of the background of what is actually going on to make intellegent specific responses. So my remarks will be general, though informed by my own local and firsthand experiences with similar issues which, btw, include developers trying to shut down airports (Oh me yarm, the noise!) in order to obtain prime flat real estate to profit from building on. As a pilot, I have firsthand experience with the impact aviation has on the local (and sometimes not-so-local) community and economy.

Eminent domain is based also on the idea of a fair market value. In practice, it's an adversarial procedure in which fairness depends on your lawyer, but at least in theory, the idea is that the government can take your home only if they replace it with enough money so that you can purchase an equivalent home elsewhere. So, eminent domain is not (in theory) a way for government to seize value from stakeholders. You seem to be leaning on the side of seizing value from stakeholders because, well, they are rich (and therefore "inefficient" for enjoying their wealth).

A housing shortage is not an emergency. High home prices are not an emergency. Lack of fodder for developers is not an emergency. People wanting to live where they can't afford to is not an emergency. All these issues were years in the making. Sometimes they get hidden so that they can seem like an emergency in order to get legislation passed, but that does not make it so.

Sometimes there are big overarching social goals that government intervention might be appropriate for. If people are simply left alone, their attitudes may not change, and if an attitude change is needed (hatred of Muslims? Blacks? Irish?) a larger hand may be warranted. People don't change on their own; changing the environment can sometimes be helpful. However I'm not at all convinced that "it's more efficient for everyone to live in a one-bedroom apartment on the seventy-fifth floor" is such a big overarching goal to warrant the kind of government intervention you propose, nor am I convinced that your idea will solve (or even address) the problem you present, as its roots are elsewhere.

The underlying problem is multifaceted. People need to live "near" where they work, or work near where they live, which means there have to be appropriate jobs available in or near the neighborhood, which means that there have to be appropriate consumers near those jobs, and those jobs have to pay enough for housing in or near the neighborhood. And this is the crux of it - where are the jobs going?

It's not Mexico. It's not China. It's robotics, in its myriad . It's efficiency, the very thing you're aiming for. It's a killer if you're on the wrong end of it.

Also, the argument (as I recall) is between owning and renting. In either case, the same amount of housing is created. The difference is who profits from it - the dweller, or a landlord. Being a renter is a slow way to end up on the short end of the stick, unless you are savvy enough to not need this discussion in the first place. Making it easier for qualified people to own rather than have to rent is a Good Thing on many levels. Whether you own as far as you can see, or as far as the primer on the walls around you doesn't matter. What ownership means matters.
Jose
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby Netreker0 » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:30 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Can we please agree on some of the basics?

...

2) Densely packed cities use fewer resources per person than spread out suburbs, while providing more services


Umm, have you ever lived in a densely packed city? Yes, in many respects, decreasing travel distance and what are essentially the benefits of economies of scale increase the efficiency of living in a densely packed city. In other areas, the driving force is less economies of scale and more the law of diminishing returns.

There are reasons cost of living is generally higher in densely packed urban areas. Yes, one reason is generally higher taxes and utilities, which are in some respects an artificial cost imposed by fiat--however, they also reflect the reality of the increased costs (per person) of providing such a densely packed group of people with an acceptable place to live. Another reason is that high prices and rents for homes and commercial spaces are passed along to the customer, which is partly a result of scarcity, but also a reflection of the fact that having large, comfortable living spaces are a thing that people value.

Something else to keep in mind--while densely packed cities are "efficient" in terms of some resources, particularly gasoline, they are not necessarily efficient in terms of time or even other resources. Yes, it's great that the closest dentist is a quarter-mile away, rather than five miles away. It's less great when you consider that it might take me less than ten minutes to drive five miles to the suburban dentist, and more than ten minutes to either walk a quarter mile, drive or take a taxi through dense traffic, or rely on public transportation. It's less great when you have to pay more to reflect your dentist's overhead of renting a small space in an area where hundreds of businesses are trying to set up shop.

3) One of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and that means being more efficient with the resources we do use, in whatever meaning of the term efficient you use; they should all fit.


Funny you should mention the environment, because water usage and wastewater management are two areas in which we often substantially decreasing efficiency once we start packing too many people together. In suburban and rural areas, the main wastewater issue is runoff--something primarily caused by social norms and what is often an abundant and inexpensive supply of fresh water in these areas. When comparing suburbs to urban areas, it's not really fair to include water waste and runoff from lawns: Lawns are not a necessity, but an indulgence that occur more in suburbs because they are cheap and practical, and less in urban areas, because they are expensive and not. However, even if you include the impact of lawns and golf courses, getting water and dealing with wastewater still tends to be cheaper in less crowded areas. When you're dealing with far smaller amounts per area, you tend to be able to use less intensive water treatment methods to get waste to a state where it can be (relatively) safely absorbed by the environment, and you can often serve the population's needs for fresh water primarily by tapping the low hanging fruit in terms of fresh water supply.

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sardia
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby sardia » Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:58 pm UTC

Netreker0 wrote:
CorruptUser wrote:Can we please agree on some of the basics?

...

2) Densely packed cities use fewer resources per person than spread out suburbs, while providing more services


Umm, have you ever lived in a densely packed city? Yes, in many respects, decreasing travel distance and what are essentially the benefits of economies of scale increase the efficiency of living in a densely packed city. In other areas, the driving force is less economies of scale and more the law of diminishing returns.

There are reasons cost of living is generally higher in densely packed urban areas. Yes, one reason is generally higher taxes and utilities, which are in some respects an artificial cost imposed by fiat--however, they also reflect the reality of the increased costs (per person) of providing such a densely packed group of people with an acceptable place to live. Another reason is that high prices and rents for homes and commercial spaces are passed along to the customer, which is partly a result of scarcity, but also a reflection of the fact that having large, comfortable living spaces are a thing that people value.

Something else to keep in mind--while densely packed cities are "efficient" in terms of some resources, particularly gasoline, they are not necessarily efficient in terms of time or even other resources. Yes, it's great that the closest dentist is a quarter-mile away, rather than five miles away. It's less great when you consider that it might take me less than ten minutes to drive five miles to the suburban dentist, and more than ten minutes to either walk a quarter mile, drive or take a taxi through dense traffic, or rely on public transportation. It's less great when you have to pay more to reflect your dentist's overhead of renting a small space in an area where hundreds of businesses are trying to set up shop.

3) One of the goals we should have is protecting the environment, and that means being more efficient with the resources we do use, in whatever meaning of the term efficient you use; they should all fit.


Funny you should mention the environment, because water usage and wastewater management are two areas in which we often substantially decreasing efficiency once we start packing too many people together. In suburban and rural areas, the main wastewater issue is runoff--something primarily caused by social norms and what is often an abundant and inexpensive supply of fresh water in these areas. When comparing suburbs to urban areas, it's not really fair to include water waste and runoff from lawns: Lawns are not a necessity, but an indulgence that occur more in suburbs because they are cheap and practical, and less in urban areas, because they are expensive and not. However, even if you include the impact of lawns and golf courses, getting water and dealing with wastewater still tends to be cheaper in less crowded areas. When you're dealing with far smaller amounts per area, you tend to be able to use less intensive water treatment methods to get waste to a state where it can be (relatively) safely absorbed by the environment, and you can often serve the population's needs for fresh water primarily by tapping the low hanging fruit in terms of fresh water supply.

Do you have some studies that say cities are inefficient? Especially if they say cities are less efficient than a comparable suburbs or rural land.

reval
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby reval » Sat Aug 12, 2017 5:34 pm UTC

Also beware of externalized costs. The loss of natural habitat to surburbs and agriculture isn't easy to quantify in a dollar-based discussion of housing density, but the loss of pollinators could easily affect our food supply in very dollar-relevant ways.

Netreker0
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Re: Wealth taxation

Postby Netreker0 » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:23 pm UTC

Unfortunately, I have no studies to draw from, only my own anecdotal experiences living a month or two at a time in a pretty wide variety of places, but in my defense, I wasn't aware that this debate was at the point where studies were needed. The arguments in favor of the efficiency of cities are largely logical inferences drawn from factual generalizations.


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