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THE ELUSIVE COST 113
actual cost of the war has been for us during the
past year. We have made, for instance, very large
advances to our Allies and Dominions, and it need
not be said that our advances to our own Dominions
may be regarded as quite as good as if they were
still in our own pockets; bjit in the case of our
Allies, our loans to Russia are a somewhat question-
able asset, and our loans to our other brothers-in-
arms cannot be regarded as likely to be recoverable
for some time to come, owing to the severity with
which the war's pressure has been laid upon them.
With regard to the other assets in which the Govern-
ment has invested our money, such as factories,
machinery, ships, supplies and food, etc., it is at
least possible that considerable loss may be involved
in the realisation of some of them. It is, however,
possible tnat the actual cost of the war to us during
the year that is past may turn out some day to
have been in the neighbourhood of £2000 millions.
If, on the other hand, we deduct from the £700
millions raised by revenue the £200 millions which
represent the normal pre-war cost of Government to
this country we find that the proportion of war's
cost raised out of revenue is slightly over 25 per cent.
Tfiis proportion must be taken with all reserve for
the reasons given above, but in any case it is very
far below the 47 per cent, of the war's cost raised
out of revenue by our ancestors in the course of the"
It seems to me that this policy of raising so large
a proportion of the war's cost by borrowing is one
that commends itself to short-sighted politicians,