The problem with Michael Hudson and the other quasi-Marxist economists is that they always seem to regard government revenues as inherently socially productive and that landlord rent is always inherently exploitive and devoid of social benefit. Both assumptions are wrong. For example, my home is modest, in fact was built over 80 years ago. It requires a lot of sweat equity to keep it together. I cannot afford to pay endless queues of expensive repairmen, so I do most of the repair work myself. The taxes on this decrepit house, however, have tripled in the past decade and are still rising. Our taxes on this house are now annually twice what my parents paid for their house in which I grew up. That is, my annual house tax is now twice the entire purchase price of my parents’ house. I pay income tax on top of this.
What do my high taxes get me? Official discrimination, hatred of me and mine spewing constantly from our “elected” representatives in DC, elected in quotes because they got elected through systematic ballot box fraud. Hudson does not recognize that house taxes today are the modern equivalent of exploitive rent once taken by landed nobility, and which today is extracted from us by the modern equivalent of barons and dukes who used fraud to swarm into DC like so many carrion birds and who quickly become wealthy on the taxes I pay, and who cannot be removed from their wealthy sinecures short of a military coup because the same ballot box fraud they used to get in power is used to keep them there.
I no longer have rent houses of my own because the rising taxes forced me to sell my properties, but when I did have them I was employed full-time and overtime in repairing and maintaining and lovingly caring for my properties, which I rented out to everyday tenants who could pay only modest rents for my modest rent houses. Far from being exploitive, these rents were socially constructive. I myself was exploited at times when my taxes rose so much that I ended up working overtime struggling to provide clean, well-maintained housing for my tenants for no compensation at all. Millions of small landlords today are doing the same thing, working for little or no compensation while they provide decent housing for their tenants, who don’t realize that most of the rent they pay goes straight to taxing authorities, leaving little or nothing to the landlord. Like Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, Ralph Nader, and other dinosaurs whose weltanschauung was formed in the Jurassic days of Eisenhower and JFK, who still think that women are oppressed and blacks are discriminated against, Michael Hudson is still working with neoclassical formulaic views of economic behavior.
He is not alone: Ricardian rents, libertarian trickle-down effects, and Keynesianism all make the same false assumptions about the generality of “human” behavior. But what if there is no such thing as “human”? What if “the human race” is a myth, like so many other myths? How can an economist like Hudson generalize from the behavior of one society to the behavior of another? Or from one century to the next? What if changes are happening constantly but hidden, like water flowing invisibly under ice waiting for the next spring to burst forth…changes that may reach to the genetic level? More on this later…