The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 37
Indirect and Direct Taxation
Indirect and Direct Taxation.
Indirect Taxation is most valuable when taken on luxuries which have become habitual, such as tea and tobacco. The increase of steamers endangers an increase of demoralisation through smuggling. All taxpaying is apt to be a struggle of fraud against power. Indirect taxation is then the worst, because it unites economic to peculiarly great moral evils.
In Direct Taxation there is a premium held out to deception; but at the worst the deception is a single act—it is not a trade or state of living, A man pays £5, £10, or £20 less 'than he ought: there the evil ends. But smuggling becomes a mode of life, or pervades the whole life, and needs an enormous additional apparatus to control it. An army and navy of revenue service lines our coast to prevent smuggling.
It is to be remembered how many systems of taxation there are, each needing a separate machinery. To collect ten per cent costs no more than to collect one per cent; hence, if revenue could be raised by direct taxation alone, customhouse and other officers could be dispensed with.
The English Government has always tried to make the Irish body fit the coat, instead of making the coat fit the body.
One true word spoken in season may arrest the course of events, and rouse the flame of patriotism, though it has slumbered for generations.—Gentz.
Blessed is the man who believes he has an idea by which he may aid his fellow-creatures.—Goethe.