Financial History Issue 113 (Spring 2015) - Page 15

FEMALE INVENTOR George’s message had resonated deeply with many Americans in the late 1800s, when poverty and squalor were on full display in the country’s urban centers. Poor immigrants and natives alike were packed tightly together in noxious slums, where they slaved long hours in dirty, dangerous factories, earning little more than a pittance. The single-taxers believed that if all taxes were eradicated except for the one on property, and the poor and the working class were able to keep more of their hard-earned dollars, poverty levels would quickly diminish. A single tax would also boost production, as workers would be happier and healthier, and force business owners to improve working conditions. George “is neither a ‘Communist,’ nor a free-lover, nor even an infidel, so far as can be seen,” an 1881 New York Times article stated. “But he recognizes the social disease that ma