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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

58   WAR FINANCE AS IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN

method it produces the result required, that of
diverting to itself a large part of the industrial out-
put of the country, by the very worst possible means.
It still, by its failure to tax, leaves buying power in
the hands of a large number of people 'who see no
reason why they should not live very much as usual;
that is to say, why they should not demand for their
own purposes a proportion of the nation's energy
which they have no real right to require at such a
time of crisis. But in order to check their demands,
and to provide its own needs, the Government, by
setting the bankers to work to provide it with book
credits, gives itself an enormous amount of new
buying power with which, by the process of com-
petition, it secures for itself what is needed for the
war. There is thus throughout the country this
unwholesome process of competition between the
Government on one hand and unpatriotic spenders on
the other, who, between them, put up prices against
the Government and against all those unfortunate,
defenceless people who, being in possession of fixed
salaries, or of fixed incomes, have no remedy against
rising prices and rising taxation. All that could
possibly have been spent on the war in this country
was the total income of the people, less what was
required for maintaining the people in health and
efficiency. That total income Government might,
in theory, have taken. If it had done so it could and
would have paid for the whole of the war out of
taxation.

All this, I shall be told, is much too theoretical
and idealistic;   these things could not have been