Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/621

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COMMON SENSE AND THE TARIFF QUESTION.

like, and the cost of the collection of revenue; second, the support of the army and the construction of fortifications; third, the support of the navy, without expensive appropriations for construction; fourth, the deficiency in the postal service; fifth, the interest on the public debt; sixth, the support of the Indians; and seventh, the miscellaneous expenses. The sum of these regular or normal expenditures, aside from war obligations, according to the estimates submitted by the Secretary of the Treasury for the next fiscal year, which estimates until now have been more apt to be cut down than increased by Congress, amount to less than $200,000,000. We may set off a tax against each branch of expenditure, and the conclusion which we reach is rather singular.

Omitting fractions, the internal revenue from whisky more than pays the cost of the civil government. The excess added to the tobacco tax more than suffices to pay the army expenses and fortifications. The navy floats on beer, with a part of the beer tax to spare and carry forward. The income from the Indian trust funds meets the cost of the Indian Department. The miscellaneous permanent receipts of various kinds more than cover the miscellaneous permanent expenses; while the sugar tax and the revenue derived from imported liquors and tobacco cover the postal deficiency and the interest on the public debt, with $10,000,000 to spare.

Were it not for pensions and sinking funds, our pleasant vices, with the tax on sugar added, would support the Government on a very adequate scale, not very economically administered, and with a margin for contingencies of more than $10,000,000 to spend on rivers and harbors.

This is only one way of putting the case. It shows how easily we could cover all the normal or peace expenditures of the Government by taxing nothing but spirits, beer, tobacco, and sugar. But we are subject to war expenses and we must continue some war taxes for a term of years. We may therefore make up two accounts:

War Expenses:No. 1
Current annual pensions, $65,000,000; arrears, $35,000,000 $100,000,000
Interest on war debt 31,500,000
Sinking fund 48,500,000
Total war expense $180,000,000
War Taxes:
Internal tax on whisky $78,000,000
Internal tax on beer 27,000,000
Internal tax on tobacco 33,000,000
Duties on sugar and molasses 60,000,000
Elasticity in next fiscal year 2,000,000
Total war taxes $200,000.000
Excess of war revenue carried forward $20,000,000