In the Post-Gazette's Sunday Forum on Feb. 24, executive editor David M. Shribman's column "Overhaul the Tax System" recommended abolishing loopholes and deductions in the federal income tax.
I agree, but a more effective overhaul would be to abolish taxation of earnings. The revenue would be replaced by a federal tax on the value of unimproved land. The most valuable and extensive land is owned by wealthy individuals and corporations. The value of buildings would not be taxed.
Landowners are taxed only by local governments. The tax on land is insufficient because assessments are generally too high on buildings and too low on land. Insufficient tax on land caused a bubble in real estate prices, which resulted in the economic collapse in 2008.
The tax shift I propose would benefit most homeowners because their earnings and the value of their house would not be taxed. They own a small plot of land in a modestly priced residential neighborhood. My proposal is summarized by two brief lines that rhyme.
Tax land owners, not wealth earners.
HERBERT BARRY III