As the United States celebrates its independence this week, it’s a good time to consider something of utmost importance to real estate investors …
After all, if you can’t safely, securely own private property … then there’s no hope of accumulating wealth and personal prosperity.
Private property ownership is the foundation of personal wealth.
Of course, most Americans today assume the right to own private property is the natural order of things … like the sun coming up every day. It’s always been there and always will be.
But a quick trip back through history shows that until the United States shocked the world with the radical notion of sovereign individuals …
… most people lived in societies where only royalty and elite owned and controlled property.
In fact, many of the terms we use every day are derived from this very system of elitism.
Contrary to common belief, the “real” in “real estate” doesn’t mean real or tangible … it means royal … as in king.
So “real estate” really means “the king’s property”.
The king’s subjects (the common folks) didn’t own any property … they only worked the king’s property in exchange for keeping 75% of the literal fruits of their labor.
Of course, by contrast to modern society’s tax rates, you could make the argument that keeping 75% is pretty good! But that’s a discussion and debate for another day.
Another common term, which is somewhat self-explanatory, is “landlord”.
Because even though the land was owned by the king, he needed loyal insiders to help him manage it all … keeping the workers (serfs) productive and paying their taxes.
The “lords” of the land were effectively agents of the king, conveniently positioned in the flow of revenue from the produce of the land to the coffers of the king.
Ironically, even though today there’s technically no “king”, and individuals can “own” private property, the system is still essentially the same.
Working class folks go to work and then pay about 25% of their paycheck to the landlord.
So if you’re not King Uncle Sam and collecting a slice of the workers’ pay through direct taxation (which was originally unconstitutional) …
… the next best thing is to own rental real estate … where as both a property owner and landlord, you collect a piece of the worker’s productivity too.
And as Tom Wheelwright so accurately explains, the tax code is a big part of what aligns the individual property owner with Uncle Sam.
The “king” shares a slice of his tax revenue with the landlord in the form of tax deductions … which incentivizes you to provide housing to the working class folks.
The BIG difference between the old feudal system with its kings, lords, and peasants … and the American experiment where individuals are sovereign … is in the old system, there was no path for a peasant to become a lord.
But the American Dream is where the common people, through their own initiative and efforts, have the right and opportunity to go from rags to riches without regard to birthright.
It may not be a perfectly level playing field, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what most people throughout history have had access to.
This revolutionary concept has unleashed more innovation and productivity than any other economic system in history … and people worldwide are largely all better off because of it.
So while the United States is far from perfect … and today’s adaptation of the American system has probably deviated quite a bit from what the founders originally envisioned …
… the American Dream still has people worldwide striving to get into the United States to get in on the action.
And every time YOU exercise your unalienable right to own private property and create prosperity for yourself and your family, while providing housing for working class people who aren’t ready to be “lords” yet …
… you celebrate and reinforce the system that makes your prosperity and theirs possible.
Sure, we may disagree about a lot of the strategies and tactics for keeping opportunity open for all, but if you’re truly interested in individual prosperity …
… celebrating, exercising, and protecting private property rights should be something we can all agree on.
Until next time … good investing!
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