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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/611

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PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION.

reduced, enables individuals to spare a larger quantity for the use of the state. The sacrifice made in. paying taxes, consists in the labor, or in the cost of the money or produce required to pay them and not in the amount of such money or produce." A given, amount of food and clothing, iron, steel, copper, leather goods, paper, and transportation can now, for example, be furnished to the Government of the United States for at least one third, and probably not more than one fifth, of the labor required to produce like quantities of these same commodities or services in 1840; while the wages paid for the work which such quantities represent or necessitate have been increased from fifty to seventy-five per cent and upward. In 1840 an operative in the cotton mills of Rhode Island, working thirteen to fourteen hours a day, turned off 9,600 yards of standard sheeting in a year; in 1886 the operative in the same mill made about 30,000 yards, working ten hours a day. In 1840 the wages were $176 a year; in 1886 the wages were $285 a year.

During the ten years from 1870 to 1880 the increase in the number of hands employed in anthracite coal mining was 32·2 per cent, as compared with an increase of product of 82·8 per cent; while in the case of copper during the same period the ratios were 15·8 and 70·8 per cent respectively. The whole tendency, therefore, of the modern conditions of production is not to entail any greater sacrifice on the part of the taxpayers for the support of the Government, but rather to diminish it. "Governments have precisely the same interest as their subjects in facilitating production, inasmuch as its increased facility affords the means of adding to the quantity of produce at their disposal without really adding to the weight of taxation; whereas, on the contrary, a diminished facility of production must either diminish in an equal degree the produce appropriated by government or compel it to lay heavier burdens on its subjects. Public wealth, in short, is merely a portion of private wealth transferred to government, and the greater the amount of the latter the greater, of course, will be the magnitude of the portion that may be conveniently spared for public purposes."—J. R. McCulloch.

When Taxation becomes an Evil.—It is not pretended that taxation, even under a correct system of assessment and collection, may not under some circumstances be an evil. It is an evil when through extraordinary or injudicious expenditures of the state it is excessive and demands too large a proportion of the annual or concurrent income of the people (in the form of rents, interest, profits, salaries, and wages), out of which, or out of the annually augmented wealth of a country, and not out of accumulated capital, all taxes ought to be paid, and as a rule are paid. The economic rule governing taxation of first importance