Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 53.djvu/451

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APPLETONS’

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY.


AUGUST, 1898.



PRINCIPLES OF TAXATION.
By DAVID A. WELLS, LL. D., D. C. L.,

CORRESPONDANT DE L'INSTITUT DE FRANCE, ETC.

XIX.—WHAT SHOULD BE TAXED, AND HOW IT SHOULD BE TAXED.

SOME years since (1873) a citizen of Tennessee, Mr. Enoch Ensley, making no pretense of scholastic learning or private interests, but earnestly desiring the material development of his section of the country (Tennessee), and that it should not be retarded by the adoption of an unsound system of State or municipal taxation, published in the form of a letter addressed to the Governor of the State a little pamphlet entitled What should be Taxed, and How it should be Taxed, which set forth certain fundamental propositions in respect to local taxation, and supported them with such homely and clear illustrations as to entitle the essay to a permanent place in economic and legal literature.

Mr. Ensley commences by proposing the following rule or maxim as the basis for a State (Tennessee), city, or county system of taxation:

"Never tax anything that would be or value to your State, that could and would run away, or that could and would come to you."

Mr. Ensley then lays down the proposition that property naturally divides itself into two classes—movable and immovable; that the former, as its name implies, can be moved from one place to another as its owner chooses, while the latter is fixed and can not budge an inch, no matter what its owner chooses, "I hold it to be true that immovable property has no value till it is occupied or