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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

TAKING  THE MONEY              57

as an absurdity; any surplus above that line might
readily have been handed over to the Government,
half of it perhaps in taxation and the other half in
the form of a forced loan.

So sweeping a change would not have been
necessary at first, perhaps not at all, because the
war's cost would not have grown nearly so rapidly.
All surplus income above a certain line would have
been taken for the time being, but with the promise
to repay half the amount taken, so that it should not
be made a disadvantage to be rich, and no discourage-
ment to accumulation would have been brought
about. By this means the whole of the nation's
buying power among the richer classes would have
been concentrated upon the war, with the result that
the private extravagance, which is still disgracing
us in the fourth year of the war, would not have
been allowed to produce its evil effects. With the
rich thus drastically taxed, the working classes would
have been much less restive under the application
of income tax to their own wages. We should have
a much more freely supplied labour market, and
since the rise in prices would not have been nearly
so severe, labour's claim to higher wages would have
been much less equitable, and labour's power to
enforce the claim would have been much less
irresistible.

What the Government has actually done has been
to do a little bit of taxation, much more than any-
body else, but still a little bit when compared with
the total cost of the war ; a great deal of borrowing,
and a great deal of inflation. By this last-namecf