« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Literary and Political Journal.
JULY TO DECEMBER.
WILLIAM CURRY, JUN. AND COMPANY.
W. S. ORR AND COMPANY, LONDON.
IT is necessary to raise more than fifty millions sterling every year to defray the expenses of the government and the interest of the national debt. Of this sum, rather more than half is required to pay the interest of the debt contracted by our ancestors, and therefore cannot be avoided, and can scarcely be reduced by any efforts of economy on our parts. But as the national estates yield little more than the expenses of managing them, and of keeping up a few parks for the recreation of the people, it is necessary to levy the immense sum of fifty mil lions every year by taxation.
Long before the national debt or the public expenditure had reached its present amount, the mode of collecting the public revenue had attracted the attention of our political writers, and the following maxims were propounded by Adam Smith, the earliest British author of any note on political economy, and have received very few additions or improvements from his successors. We extract them from Mr. M'Culloch's work, p. 17.
"The tax which each individual is bound to pay ought to be certain and not arbitrary. The time of payment, the manner of payment, the quantity to be paid, ought all to be clear and plain to the contributor and to every other When it is otherwise, every person. person, subject to the tax, is put, more or less, in the power of the tax-gatherer, who can either aggravate the tax upon any obnoxious contributor, or extort, by the terror of such aggravation, some present or perquisite for himself. The uncertainty of taxation encourages the insolence, and favours the corruption of an order of men who are naturally unpopular, even when they are neither insolent nor corrupt. The certainty of what each individual ought to pay is, in taxation, of so great importance, that a very considerable degree of inequality, it appears, I believe, from the experience of all nations is not near so great an evil as a very small degree of uncertainty."
A Treatise on the Principles and Practical Influence of Taxation and t Funding System. By J. R. M'Culloch, Esq. 8vo. London 1815.
VOL. XXVI.-No. 151.