The Corner

Politics & Policy

WFB as Georgist, Cont.

Henry George (1839–97), the author of Progress and Poverty (1879) (Library of Congress)

Earlier this week, I did a little writing about Henry George, the 19th-century economist and journalist who wrote Progress and Poverty. Specifically, I wrote about him and WFB. “I’m a closet Georgist,” WFB once told me.

Incidentally, both George and WFB ran for mayor of New York (unsuccessfully) (although you could call WFB’s campaign, especially given the book that followed, a big success, forgetting the result on Election Day).

Some Georgists got busy on Twitter. They cited Churchill, in connection with Georgism. Reaching back further — pre-George — they cited Adam Smith. They cited Milton Friedman, who called a land-value tax, which was George’s project, “the least bad tax.” And, of course, they cited WFB.

Evidently, he was not a closet Georgist, because a caller to C-SPAN said, “I’ve heard you describe yourself as a Georgist . . .” The year was 2000 and WFB was appearing with Brian Lamb, the C-SPAN icon (and great American). What WFB says about George is highly interesting, of course.

When through, he says to Lamb, “You look bored.” Classic Bill. (“No, no,” Brian protests.)

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