More Wealth-Tax Madness

(Via Getty Images)

Andrew W. Kahrl, writing in the New York Times, offers this provocative thesis: “Property taxes, the lifeblood of local governments and school districts, are among the most powerful and stealthy engines of racism and wealth inequality our nation has ever produced.” This calls to mind the judgment of Nobel-laureate economist Milton Friedman, who insisted that the minimum wage was the “most anti-black law on the books.” When it comes to economic policy and racial disparity, unintended consequences matter.

So do intended consequences. Kahrl, a scholar of history and African American studies at the University of Virginia, makes a persuasive case that property taxes have been used in ways that both intentionally and unintentionally disfavor black communities, then offers a solution that one might charitably describe as counterintuitive, at the very least: a new, higher property tax. 

Let’s unpack. 

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