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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 50.djvu/743

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APPLETONS’

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.

 

APRIL, 1897.



HOW CAN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT BEST RAISE ITS REVENUES?
By DAVID A. WELLS,

EX-UNITED STATES SPECIAL COMMISSIONER OF REVENUE, ETC.

THE President of the United States, in one of his recent speeches, was reported as saying: "I can imagine nothing more important than a revenue system that will provide money enough to run the Government. We have not had enough money to run this Government for the past three years, under a false system of political economy. So the question is, How shall we raise that money? Do you want to raise it by direct taxation, by taxing the property and lands or the incomes and wages of the people? [Cries of 'No.'] Well, then, the other way to raise it is by taxing the products that come here from Europe in competition with American products."

Assuming the above authoritative utterance as in the nature of a text from which deductions are both warranted and desirable for the purpose of popular instruction, the following points ought to commend themselves at the outset to the American people for consideration: First. Notwithstanding the great and urgent necessity of currency reform, the need of providing a speedy, certain, adequate, and proper revenue for the Federal Government is of immediate importance. Second. No nation exists, or ever has existed, which has such great resources and facilities for obtaining an ample and certain revenue with so little of friction and annoyance to its people and with such a minimum of expense. The amount of our national debt is not alarming, and ought not to be a source of anxiety. As a matter of fact, the United States, notwithstanding its present fiscal disturbance, is in a better finan-