The contention that the adoption of the single tax would bring about a social millennium is optimistic in the extreme. The basis for the optimism, however, is difficult to discover. One claim for its adoption is the relief which will be afforded to urban congestion. It is in the large cities where the agitation for the single tax is most aggressive. It is here, because a large landless class exists, that the land appears scarce. The adoption of the proposed measure, however, would neither increase the amount of land nor decrease numbers. It could only hope to force into use lands which are now idle, which in the congested districts of our large cities are so small in amount as to be negligible. The claim cannot be made that there is a scarcity of land - in fact, there is abundance of land in the outskirts of the cities, or in the undeveloped West. The people in the cities, however, do not want this land - they prefer to stay in the congested districts, endure the hardships, and pay the landlord, rather than accept the responsibilities of freedom where land may be had. It is largely a case of preference of the individual, and the confiscation of land values would not change the preference.
Low rents, high wages, increased production, and other such desirable conditions depend upon factors which have a far greater significance than the taking of land values by the state. It is contended that the exemption of buildings from tax will cause a large increase in construction, and rents will automatically fall. A capital fund must first be secured, however, and this is not idly waiting for buildings to be untaxed. Neither is there a fund waiting to go into increased production or higher wages. When the fundamental principles of rents and production are considered, it is difficult to see how the single tax program could materially affect social conditions.