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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 51

The Burden of Unnecessary Taxes

The Burden of Unnecessary Taxes.

Q. If the hundred million dollars of taxes which the Federal Government collected in 1884, over and above all its requirements for expenditures, including interest on the public debt, had been paid in commodities in place of money, what would the amount represent?

A. One hundred and twenty-five million bushels of wheat at 3s. 4d. per bushel; or two hundred and fifty million bushels of corn at is. 8d. per bushel; or one hundred thousand houses, costing £200 a-piece; or five million tons of pig page 14 iron (nearly the whole product of the country) at £5 per ton; or a thousand million yards of cotton cloth, costing 5d. per yard.

Q. If this sum of £20,000,000 in taxes, collected unnecessarily in 1884, had been remitted back to the people, instead of having been extorted from them, what would it have enabled the people to have bought?

A. It would have given a pair of good boots to every man and a pair of good shoes to every woman in the country with an occupation. It would have given two barrels of flour or two tons of coal to every family; or it would have added a week's wages to the gain of every manual labourer. It would have paid 10 per cent, on two hundred millions of capital.

Q. How have the protectionists proposed to deal with this great burden of taxation and unnecessary surplus revenue?

A. They have proposed on the one hand to take off the taxes on whiskey and tobacco, and maintain it on blankets, sugar, window glass, and all the essentials of common living; and on the other to keep up the taxes on everything, and distribute the surplus revenues for various purposes among the States. The practical effect of the latter proposition would be to take money out of one pocket of the people and transfer it to another, and pay a corps of officials for the purpose of doing it.