Skip to main content

Full text of "War-time financial problems"

See other formats

THE  DOUBLE  SACRIFICE              73

war by the much more rapid increase in direct
taxation than in indirect. It is right that the owners
of property should bear the heavier monetary
burden of the war because they, having more to lose
and therefore more to gain by a successful end of the
war, should certainly pay a larger proportion of its
cost. It was also inevitable that they should do so
because, when money is wanted for the war or any
other purpose, it can only be taken in large amounts
from those who have a surplus over what is needed
to provide them with the necessaries and decencies
of life. But the argument which puts forward a
capital levy on the ground that the rich have been
escaping war sacrifice is fallacious in itself, and is a
wicked misrepresentation likely to embitter still
further the bad feeling between classes.

Nevertheless, Mr Bonar Law thinks that, since
the cost of the war must inevitably fall chiefly upon
the owners of property, and since it therefore becomes
a question of expediency with them whether they
should pay at once in the form of a capital levy or
over a long series of years in "increased taxation, he
is inclined to think that the former method is one
which would be most convenient to them and best
for the country. This contention cannot be set aside
lightly, and there can be no doubt that if, by making
a dead lift, the wealthy classes of the country could
throw off their shoulders a large part of the burden
of the war debt, such a scheme is well worth con-
sidering as long as it does not carry with it serious

It seems to me, however, that the drawbacks are