Skip to main content

Full text of "War-time financial problems"

66               A LEVY ON CAPITAL

one-eighth of their scrip. Holders of other forms of
property would be assessed for one-eighth of its value
and be called on to acquire and to surrender to the
State the same amount of War Loan scrip. To do
this, they would be obliged to realise a part of their
property or to mortgage it, " but/' added the Round
Table cheerfully, " there is no insuperable difficulty
about that."

The first thing that strikes one when one examines
these two schemes is the difference in their view
concerning the amount of capital wealth available
for taxation. Mr Gardiner made the comparatively
modest estimate of 16,000 millions to 20,000 millions ;
the Round Table plumps for 24,000 millions, and,
incidentally, it may be remarked that some con-
servative estimates put it as low as 11,000 millions.
Thus we have a possible range for the fancy of the
scheme builder of from 11,000 to 24,000 millions in
the property on which taxation is proposed to be
levied. But it is when we come to the details of
these schemes that the difficulties begin to glare.
Mr Gardiner tells us that millionaires would pay up
to 30 per cent, of their property, and that they would
pay in what form was convenient, in houses, fields,
etc., etc. But hejioes not explain by what principle
the Government is to distribute among the holders
of the debt, the repayment of whom is the object
of the levy, the strange assortment of miscellaneous
assets which it would thus collect from the property
owners of the country.

In commenting on this scheme the Economist of
September isth took the case of a man with a