(continued from page 3)
The US statute to institute a tax on landed property delegates the assessment of property to the states. It instructs them to value property by the number of windows. Rich people had more windows but they also had a lot more land than poor people. Nobody was happy with the guidelines for assessment. Congress pondered the complaints and referred them to committee. The committee thoughts things over for several years and came back with a strong no-nonsense law, and the states had to value property and collect the tax.
When it suited the purposes of US founders, the states were each an independent nation capable of defending itself in the world wide arena of nations. When they copped this attitude, the federal government answered to them. Then, when it suited their purposes, the states were subsidiaries of a national government, and had to do what the national government told them. You encounter this kind of nonsense at home and in playgrounds when one kid bonks another and says the third kid made him do it.
The period during which states taxed landed property because the feds made them do it seems to have been very short. The period of federally-inducted property taxation was as long as needed to habituate property owners to paying a property tax to the state. It takes only one generation of attrition for people to lost knowledge of why anything they take for granted exists. People assumed states could tax landed property.
Illinois inhabitants didn't seem to notice that the 1818 statehood charter seemed to grant Illinois government a power to tax landed property. When the first generation of Illinois legislators acted on the power, the people rebelled and the Illinois General Assembly had to void the law and wait for people to die before they tried again.
The tax is a hot potato. Property tax laws can and should be defeated at their foundation in the 1781 Articles and the 1787 Constitution. Illinois passed the potato to counties. Counties assess, levy and collect the tax, but they don't take responsibility. The state made them do it. Most of the Cook County property tax goes to the city and suburbs. The county also threatens and bullies property owners because municipalities made them do it.
Municipal officials incur most of the obligations the property tax services. Recent election returns at the Chicago Board of Elections website indicate that city officials hold office with votes by less than 25% of registered voters. Non-resident property owners can't register to vote and most definitely don't consent to the obligations and the tax. City officials and patronage workers don't have the ability to understand how much they alienate the people. The population continues to decline, and the burden of paying taxes to buy the votes of sanitation workers, police officers, and teachers is falling on ever fewer people.
The Assessor works with real estate agents and mortgage lenders to falsify real estate values so that revenue will be enough to meet old obligations and the new demands of increasingly greedy and inflationary public servants.
When municipal officials ensure the paychecks and pensions of municipal employees without equal insurance for property tax payers, municipal employees eventually become the only people with money to buy the many properties that will be seized because their owners can't afford to pay inflated taxes and mortgages.
If civil servants don't give it up, the free people of Chicago will cycle back into slaves of local lords. The current budget crisis in Chicago exists in large part because of the massive in-migration of people who never cycled out of slavery to local lords. Their revolutions were shams.
Historically, all revolutions were shams. The lords had agents who kept their ear to the rails. If they heard a revolutionary train coming down they track, they reported back to headquarters and the lords' convened a council. They usually engineered a fake revolution by which true revolutionaries could burn off steam. When they got tired, life fell back into its usual rut.
Lords exist because a significant number of people never grow up. The development of their personalities locks in somewhere between infancy and the terrible twos. When it is time for them to stand on their own two feet and do things for themselves, they don't want to. They become imperious babies (manipulative psychopaths) and remain so their entire lives. Adults take care of babies because they're cute and helpless. Some manipulative psychopaths play cute and helpless for as long as it works for them. Then the tantrums start. The older a psychopath get, the more destructive and dangerous his tantrums get. A psychopath is a brat at age four, a bully at sixteen, and a tyrant in adulthood. An adult tyrant can control another adult only by seizing everything the other adult needs to survive.
The problem for lords is that their psychopathology leads inevitably to a welfare state. When he turns people into slaves, he's stuck with them. Slaves have no personal interest in hard work and productivity. They learn to malinger. In theory, a lord can whip and kill them for insubordination. In practice, the mass of slaves would rise and kill him, if he did so. In theory, a lord can sell his useless and defiant slaves down river. In practice he can't. He's stuck with an ever growing number of dependents. First it's difficult to break even because of the overhead of his business. Then he teeters on the brink of going under.
(continued on page 5)
Elliott, Elizabeth Shippen Green (artist).
Woman seated near man with spectacles pointing at document.
in Janvier, Thomas A. (author).
The Recrudescence of Madame Vic.
Harper's magazine 112:513 (1906 March).
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
Washington, DC, USA
Digital file 2a12983
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