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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

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THE CAPITAL  LEVY              221

there is no more to be said. A tax that is popular
with the payer, as compared with other modes of
shearing his fleece, needs no further recommendation.
But, in view of the probability of the experiment,
once tried, being shortly and frequently repeated, I
Very much doubt whether this is so ; as far as I have
been able by personal inquiry to test opinion on the
point I have found it almost unanimously adverse
among those whom the Levy would most seriously
affect. If, as is much more likely, the imposition of
a Levy created better feeling among the working
classes and the returning soldiers and tended to more
harmonious co-operation in after-war tasks |of
reconstruction, it might be worth while to face its
evils and its dangers. But here again it is quite
probable that if the burden of war debt were clearly
and palpably put on the shoulders best able to bear
it, that is, on those who are lifted by the gifts of
fortune—either in inherited money or unusual brain-
power or faculties—by an equitably graded income
tax, the effect might be just as good on the minds of
those who suspect that the rich have battened
throughout the war on exploitation of the poor.

This much at least seems to be agreed by most
reasonable people about the debt charge—that it will
have to be raised, either by a Levy on Capital or by
income tax or some other form of direct taxation,
from those who are blessed with a margin. We are
not likely to repeat our ancestors' mistake, after the
Napoleonic War, of throwing the whole burden on
to the general consumer by indirect taxation of
necessaries and of articles of general consumption.