“Tax Bads Not Goods” is the slogan adopted by Earthsharing Canada in its campaign to shift Government revenue collection off of employment, businesses and consumption and on to land and other natural resource monopolies. During his Liquid Lunch with Hugh Reilly Earthsharing Canada spokesperson Frank de Jong argues that government collect economic rent (income without a corresponding cost of production) in lieu of taxes on business, incomes or sales. Frank de Jong provides an excellent introductory explanation of the concept of Economic Rent for those who are yet to get their head around it.
Economic rent refers to the societal surplus that flows to desirable assets like land, resources like oil, trees, water, and the right to pollute. Other sources of economic rent are billboards, the stock market, the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum, agricultural quotas, taxi licenses, etc. Although this wealth rightfully belongs to the community — which created it in the first place — it presently flows to private asset owners, forcing governments to damage the economy by taxing businesses, jobs and sales. Taxing incomes makes people more expensive to hire, taxing capital increases the cost of borrowing, taxing profits pushes companies closer to bankruptcy, and taxing consumption raises prices. Economists call these dead weight taxes that stifle economic vitality and cause unemployment and poverty. On the other hand, funding government programs by capturing the community-generated, unearned income that accrues to desirable finite assets increases economic efficiency, reduces poverty and unemployment, halts sprawl, conserves resources and reduces pollution. Untaxing the productive economy creates wealth while taxing nature conserves the planet.