21 MARCH 1931, Page 46


Again, I maintain that it should not be difficult to bring right home to the wage-earners the manner in which the incidence as well as the amount of taxation is responsible for trade depression. Let me first express this in the manner familiar to the minds of capitalists and the taxpayers, and then see how it could be stated in simple terms to the wage-earners themselves. Apart from the actual burden of direct taxation, as expressed in the proportion of such taxation to income, there is what is known as the psychological effect. In the first place, we know from painful experience that with expenditure steadily mounting there is no guarantee as to what may be the further burdens laid upon us. And, in the second place, this apprehension is intensified by the fact that because the burden is placed upon the few there is no sufficient check upon the expenditure itself. These thoroughly justifiable apprehensions act as a constant restraint upon confidence and business enterprise, as indeed they are bound to do. For my own part, however, I have found very little difficulty in brinLi ig home this truth even to those whose interests are entirely those of the wage-earner and who escape altogether from direct taxation. The case, in fact, is one which the economic evangelist need have no fear of presenting to any audience provided the right language is chosen, because it contains just that element of justice and common sense which will always appeal to a British audience.