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Full text of "War-time financial problems"

PENALISING FIXED   INCOMES       263

is that there are too many of them. But the general
result as it affects the labourer who wants to purchase
a pot of beer or anyone else who wants to buy any-
thing is very much the same. A bit of metal that
is called a shilling has about the value of a pre-
war sixpence and a bit of paper that is called
a Bradbury fetches half as much as the pound of
five years ago. Compared with what other peoples
are suffering from the same disease arising from
the same surfeit of money in one form or another,
this nuisance that we are enduring is not too terribly
severe. It has entailed great hardship on a class
that is small in number, namely, those who have -to-
live on fixed incomes. The salary-earner and the
rentier have borne the brunt, while the wage-earner
and the profit-maker have been able to expand their
earnings, in paper, at least to a point at which the
depreciation of currency have left them no worse
off. Seeing that the wage-earners are those who
do the dreariest and dirtiest jobs, and that the
profit-makers are those who take the risks of industry
and the enormous responsibility of organising enter-
prise, they are the classes whom it is clearly most
desirable to encourage. The rentier in these days
gets less than no sympathy, but we make a great
mistake if we think that we can with impunity
crush him between the upper and nether millstone
of fixed income and rising prices. With his help
we have equipped industry at home and abroad.
We can, if we choose, by depreciating the currency
still further, lessen still more the reward that we pay
him for that benefit. He may kick, but he cannot