OK, in extreme circumstances then seizing the land, selling it, then giving any residual (after taxes are paid) back might be necessary. The problem in this thread is, the residual didn't get given back, and it doesn't seem they followed due process.
> Having children is a huge investment, driven by unsophisticated people, prone to stupid fluctuations, which can destroy the lives of normal people when it does something funny
There's no "child bubble", in which people all want to have children when the price of children goes up. I don't follow the analogy. Wait ... you mean it's a financial risk? Good point, maybe children should be taxed, but since having children isn't always voluntary, and there's no way you can stop a person who can't afford the tax from having a kid (at least, no ethical way), then it's' probably not such a great idea.
> And aside from the policy ethics I strongly doubt your model that property taxation is a significant 'tempering agent'.
It just makes sense. As you've asked, I can find some economists who think it's a good idea. Here's some review - http://www.enhr2011.com/sites/default/files/Paper-Haffner%20...
One of the things it cites:
Basically, yes a tax on value reduces volatility. Maybe. It's a credible idea, though it would be nice to have some more research. Transaction taxes are not such a great idea. Tax breaks on houses increase volatility.
And it's not a tax with regressive outcomes. Really poor people rent. I'm just saying "unsophisticated" to mean "people who don't trade for a living". Most people who invest in housing aren't professional real estate investors.