paulbeard Profile picture
Jul 25, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
Coming back to this as a compelling argument for a land rent/land value tax on *all* commercial real estate in Seattle. Rentiers have been siphoning off wages for too long. Collectively, their holdings might dwarf everyone's fave villain, Jeff Bezos. @cmkshama? @CMTMosqueda? 1/ The rentier makes money while he sleeps, as Adam Smith said 240 years ago…the value of the land in Seattle in a function of the people who live/invest in it. It's not even good for business: you can't sell overpriced land and your business might not cover your 1% taxes. 2/
Jul 19, 2018 17 tweets 5 min read
Seattle's business and politics communities (is that 2 things? Or just 1?) are at loggerheads over wages and inequality, and we still hear arguments that raising the minimum wage kills business, despite evidence that proves the opposite — that good wages are good for business. But what if instead raising wages, these two (?) camps looked at why higher wages are needed — the cost of living, ie shelter costs? Rents will simply rise with wages, as we already see. Why not look into that? Where is that money going? Into the local economy? Or nah?
Jun 30, 2018 11 tweets 3 min read
"Seattle must preserve single-family neighborhoods that are essential to its livability, character and economic success."

Why? Is there any evidence you can't have a livable, economically vibrant city without single family homes?… Is there a counterproposition here? Or is this just opposition for its own sake, "Ni shagu nazad" on behalf of property owners who simultaneously carp about their 1% property taxes while crowing about their property value?
Jun 12, 2018 6 tweets 2 min read
Seattle City Council to consider repeal of head tax less than a month after approving it… | Of course. The previous mayor sent an apology to Amazon (not a person, a corporation) in case its hurt feelings were why it launched its HQ2 search. "Seattle hates business!1!" say the pundits and online commenters but that's hard to substantiate when a city government caves so quickly. At the very least, they could have used the head tax as leverage: work with us on something better or we go with what we have.
May 16, 2018 10 tweets 3 min read… | If Amazon left — took all it's 45000 workers making a median of $110k/yr with it — would we notice? How is Amazon's presence felt in Seattle? Would they close their stores? Hmm, they don't have any. Would they shut down charitable giving? Is there any to speak of?
May 13, 2018 19 tweets 5 min read
So in the midst of all this talk about a need for affordable housing, I learn that the Seattle Housing Authority (!) is selling (!!) 4.5 acres of land […]. Why sell it? Why not exchange the right to use the property, as an owner would get if they bought the land, in exchange for land rent? Why should the income derived from the land's value go to some overseas or out of state real estate speculator when it could stay here in Seattle?
May 4, 2018 4 tweets 1 min read
This thread hits on why we should the history of technology and food and daily life, not just kings and queens and wars…how did we get here and what decisions were made — by choice or driven by circumstance — along the way… The mid-70s BBC science show Connections does a great job of explaining a lot of that, how civilization started with the plow and the ability to plan for next year once you knew you would be around next year…
Apr 7, 2018 20 tweets 5 min read
Ran an errand on foot — the best way to see a city — and I noted more business closings along a major highway inside the Seattle city limits. More open spaces/brownfields/derelict buildings to show off, I guess. So what's the cause? High taxes/costs of doing business? Given that property taxes along that stretch are about 1% of property values, is that reasonable?
Mar 23, 2018 14 tweets 4 min read
Let me tell you about one of my favorite places in Seattle, the labyrinthine warren known as Hardwicks (…). CC: @zosham @nickhanauer @mayorjenny It is the best tool supply house (not a hardware store) I have ever been in, with tools representing trades and crafts that you never knew existed.
Mar 14, 2018 26 tweets 4 min read
What is land value tax? How does it work? It requires some changes in how we think about land: no individuals or entity besides the state (county/municipality) can own land — that land is owned or held in common. You buy the right to use it, no more. What you really get when you buy land is a title, the exclusive right to use a parcel of land defined by a set of map coordinates. But the land itself belongs to everyone, like a natural resource. If you think you own land, try to move it. Or look up Eminent Domain.
Jan 21, 2018 7 tweets 2 min read
The grocery industry, like newspapers 20 years ago, could find itself at the edge of a cliff here. I suppose there are good reasons why the big chains didn't undercut this on their own but it won't matter in a year or two. Consider a grocery story without all the aisles of canned and boxed products but with just a few of each, not 30 or 40. Customers could simply tag each item as they walk, carrying nothing, and find it all waiting at the check stand for them, ready to pay.
Dec 26, 2017 4 tweets 2 min read
It's interesting to see how few people notice that !=, as in the tweet by POTUS today. Open each in a new tab and compare. I have seen a lot of response to what he said — that his friends say the dossier is trash and that's what he wants to hear so it's true (how #fakenews/his mind works). But the *story* is that someone sent him that story with the fake Twitter handle and he clicked on it.
Nov 25, 2017 5 tweets 1 min read
"But he's not a Nazi." No, he's a white nationalist. "But he's not a white supremacist." Did you ever see anyone argue for separation/segregation *without* the implicit hope of supremacy/dominance? I'm interested in how someone in Ohio becomes radicalized like this. If someone blows up a building or drives into a crowd and claims it for jihad, that's the first question: where did they get these ideas?