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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

56  WAR FINANCE AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

needed (or thought to be needed) for ordinary
individuals to those required for war purposes.
This readjustment would have gone on gradually as
the war's cost increased. There would have been
no competition between the Government and private
individuals for a limited amount of goods in a
restricted market, which has had such a disastrous
effect on prices during the course of the war; there
would have been no manufacture of new currency,
which means the creation of new buying power at a
time when there are less goods to buy, which has had
an equally fatal effect on prices ; there would have
had to be a very drastic reform in our system of
taxation, by which the income tax, the only really
equitable engine by which the Government can get
much money out of us, would have been reformed so
as to have borne less hardly upon those with families
to bring up.

Mr Sidney Webb and the Fabians have advocated
a system by which the basis of assessment for income
tax should be the income divided by the number of
members of a family, rather than the mere income
without any consideration for the number of people
that have to be provided for out of it. With some
such scheme as this adopted there is no reason why
the Government should not have taken, for example,
the whole of all incomes above 1000 a year for each
individual, due allowance being made for obligations,
such as rent, which involve long contracts. For any
singlelndividual to want to spend more than 1000
a year on himself or herself at such a crisis would
have been recognised, in the early days of the war,