May. 21st, 2017

I'm on the train, coming home from New York City. We, the trustees and employees of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, went out to dinner last night at Da Noi, an Italian restaurant a few blocks from the Courtyard Marriott, together with our respective spouses, or at least those who had come to New York. We also had as our guests David Triggs, the president of the Henry George Foundation of Great Britain, and his charming wife Gay. We drank quite a number of toasts (I mostly just touched the wine to my lips), to the memories of Henry George, Robert Schalkenbach, the twenty-one original trustees of the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, past presidents, and others. Our new president-elect, Gib Halverson, praised, thanked, and toasted, the man whom he was replacing, Ted Gwartney, and Mr. Gwartney returned the compliment.

Mr. Triggs gave a fine after-dinner speech, touching on populism, Trump, and Brexit (he voted for Brexit, although not for the reasons that some people did). He recounted his visit to Trump Tower, and his talk with some Italian-Americans from Boston. One reason why some of them had voted for Trump was that they saw him as a businessman, and not a lawyer; the legal system seemed to them to be corrupt and beyond their control. Many people have legitimate grievances, and think that something ought to be done, but don't understand what. In Britain, local property taxes (rates, they're called) are pretty minor, and most taxation is centralized. It's not like the U.S., where buying a newspaper reminded David Triggs of New York state's property tax, and Georgists can lobby state legislatures, local mayors, and city councilmen. In Great Britain, there's a Value Added Tax -- the European Union requires all members to have at least a 15% VAT -- but it's part of the price people pay for whatever they buy, not made visible as an add-on.

Mrs. May wants free trade, and expresses concern for those who are just barely making it, but he would advise her that real free trade doesn't just mean breaking loose from the E.U., but getting rid of the VAT, income tax, etc., and going to LVT. In Britain, pretty much across income levels, hiring someone costs about twice what the employee actually receives after taxes.

This morning, and this early afternoon, we finished our Board meeting, approved the committee assignments made by our new president (I'm now the chairman of the Audit Committee, and on the ad hoc Assessment Committee).



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